29 Jun 2022

You can reduce costs by aligning sales and marketing - here's how.

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Written by Abhishek Mungi

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While many professionals are currently operating in a distributed work environment, even when colleagues are in the same office, sales and marketing misalignment is common. The two teams often have different goals and KPIs, use different platforms, and create separate sets of data. Ideally, sales and marketing colleagues would use the same solution, so that they can benefit from each other’s data and insights. During a major economic disruption, the potential for misalignment between sales and marketing is multiplied. This can lead to costly duplicative work, lost opportunities, and wasted time on administrative work that hurts the bottom line—and when you can least afford it. Organizations that proactively align sales and marketing reap many benefits. These include a more consistent, seamless experience for their customers, lower customer acquisition costs, less overhead spent on administrative work, and the ability to capture data that spans the entire marketing and sales pipeline. This data can then provide the clearest and most actionable insights on where companies should—and should not—invest to earn the highest ROI.

First, buying decisions are often made by teams, with different players and roles involved in different phases of the buying process.

This means that sales and marketing must use their combined insights and knowledge to connect with a wide range of roles in their customers’ organizations, from procurement and finance to business unit leaders and IT.

Second, most B2B buyers lean heavily on digital assets to educate themselves about companies and solutions.

Digital selling requires salespeople to understand customers at every point of their buying journey and offer highly personalized and relevant content. Thus, they need to be familiar with acquisition and nurture content produced by marketing. Understanding these two trends can help companies reduce costs and efforts tied to customer acquisition. According to a LinkedIn study, 90 percent of business decision-makers reported they’re more likely to consider a product or service if a sales rep shares content that’s relevant to their decision-making role.

Here are 3 ways how aligning the two processes significantly reduces costs.

Reduce the cost of customer acquisition

Sales and marketing organizations both invest heavily in understanding their customers, but these divisions rarely share the information with each other in an effective way. Marketing focuses more on the marketplace as a whole, researching customer needs and identifying opportunities. Sales teams are on the front lines, where they get to see individual customer needs first hand. When sales and marketing align their organizations with an integrated system that shares data and insights, they can build a more accurate buyer profile and create a single source of information about contacts, leads, and customers to inform every interaction. One of the biggest challenges for organizations is to take an outside-in, objective perspective from the buyer’s point of view. When sales and marketing align, they align processes as well. This helps customers experience their interactions with the company as a whole, seamless process.

Align reporting to cut unnecessary expenses

While marketing and sales have different responsibilities, each is critical to the sales process. Misalignment often causes frustration on both sides. For example, the sales team may feel marketing is making unrealistic claims about the company’s solutions, while marketing may feel sales fails to follow through on the leads marketing works so hard to surface. Misalignment leads to wasted efforts and investments. When both teams align, the entire sales process becomes more seamless. The customer is the first to benefit, enjoying a consistent experience throughout the buying process. In addition, when sales and marketing align, they can integrate their knowledge for greater campaign impact, handle leads more fluidly and effectively, and better map and improve the customer journey. By presenting a coordinated effort, sales and marketing can more easily gain support for further initiatives from their executive team.

As companies build a more data-driven model across sales and marketing, they can identify the most effective and investment-worthy methods of acquiring new customers and driving repeat business. Imagine being able to track every lead across the entire customer journey. What could an organization learn? An integrated system can provide insights into the effectiveness of marketing programs (including online, web, email, and social posts) and sales efforts (including webinars, calls, and meetings). When this information is aggregated, along with analytic and AI tools, it can help organizations develop sales and marketing playbooks for customer acquisition, effectively prioritize leads, and identify which sales and marketing investments are underperforming and reduce those expenses.

Automate administrative work and reduce overhead

When sales and marketing align, they improve productivity in many ways. One example is reducing duplicative work in areas such as planning, demand management, data management, and measurement. Also, sales and marketing teams are better able to identify tasks across the customer buyer journey that can be automated to improve efficiency. Automated tasks might include answering requests for product literature, sending relevant emails, scheduling sales calls, compiling sales reports, generating proposals and bids, and entering orders.

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