By Adam Mergist
With the rise of the internet and streamlined conversion paths provided by megabrands such as Amazon, consumers expect more from every company they interact with. These higher expectations start at the very first communication—whether that interaction is via email, phone, or some other channel. According to Forbes contributor Stan Phelps, “76 percent of customers expect organizations to understand their individual needs,” while 81 percent demand “improved response time,” and 68 percent “anticipate organizations will harmonize consumer experiences.”
Those are high expectations for every part of the customer journey, from marketing to customer service. Such a demand poses an important question: How do companies meet such lofty expectations on a consistent basis?
The best place to start is with corporate integration. Here are four reasons you should take your company to the next level by integrating your sales and marketing data.
Better Cater to Consumers
The most dominant company in the world, Amazon, has set the customer service bar higher for every company. As an accounting of Amazon’s success, founder Jeff Bezos says, “We’re not competitor obsessed; we’re customer obsessed. We start with the customer, and we work backwards.” That’s an easy thing for the world’s richest person to say; what’s harder is backing it up. To follow through on Bezos’ big words, Amazon works to learn what a consumer wants before even the consumer knows for sure.
To get on Amazon’s level, you, too, need to anticipate your consumers’ needs. The best way to do that is to learn as much about them as possible. Integrating your sales and marketing data is the first step in gathering the customer knowledge you need.
A marketing team’s goal is to attract potential customers while retaining existing ones. Through a variety of marketing tactics, marketing teams gain information and learn about their customers. A sales team hopes to take those intrigued customers and begin a dialogue that will convert them to paying consumers. During this process they also gain insights and information about their customer base.
Each group, through their work, has an opportunity to learn about their customers’ buying habits from different perspectives. Compiling this valuable customer information from a sales perspective helps marketing teams—and vice versa. And the numbers back it up; according to MarketingProfs, “Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing had 36 percent higher customer retention rates and achieved 38 percent higher sales win rates than their competitors.”
Reduce Marketing Spending
Sharing consumer information between sales and marketing teams is step one in improving your overall sales. To take your sales and marketing data to the next level, pool it and turn it into advanced analytics. Too many companies think the answer to improved sales is upping their marketing budget. Smart companies take the information they already have and put it to better use.
That’s no pipe dream either. According to a McKinsey review of over four hundred organizations of different types and locations, “An integrated analytics approach can free up some 15 to 20 percent of marketing spending. Worldwide, that equates to as much as 200 billion dollars that can be reinvested by companies or drop straight to the bottom line.” The key to creating an effective advanced analytics model is having the right mix of marketing and sales data.
In most organizations, the marketing department oversees generating leads before passing them on to sales to seal the deal. Other approaches, such as account-based marketing, focus on removing silos for better communication and an improved customer experience.
Instead of two silos of people working independently to make a sale to a single consumer, sales and marketing teams get together, share their data, and create a marketing campaign based on that collaboration. This helps both teams stay on message and most importantly, on the same page. Increasingly B2B companies are taking this approach but it is still vastly underutilized. If you want to pull ahead of your competition, try this tactic.
Get Ahead of the Curve
Despite the effectiveness of the varied approaches we have laid out thus far, many organizations have yet to take the data-sharing plunge. Data sharing and data strategy are the future of marketing and sales. According to Radius and Harvard Business Review, “Sixty-three percent of B2B marketers say data and analytics will be very influential on marketing activities within the next two years.”
Despite the overwhelming proof of the efficacy of this type of integration, only 37 percent of companies characterize their marketing approach as “somewhat advanced.” The trend of advanced strategic marketing is only becoming more prevalent as companies see the numerous benefits. If you start integrating now, you can get ahead of the curve.
Consumers continue to expect more from organizations, and businesses must make changes to meet those expectations. Organizations must learn about their customers and anticipate their needs. The companies that make the customer journey as enjoyable, intuitive, and efficient as possible will be the most successful. Integrating the data from your sales and marketing teams is the best way to reach that goal.
Adam Mergist is a chief operating officer and president of Home Services at Clearlink, an award-winning digital marketing, sales, and technology company and a trusted partner for Fortune 500 companies since 2003.