The Innovation Framework

3 Ways CRM Harmonizes Marketing And Sales

When marketing and sales are in alignment, it’s music to your customers’ ears. CRM creates this organizational harmony.

Have you ever accidentally played two different songs at once? The dissonance is pretty jarring. Well, when your marketing and sales teams aren’t in alignment, your customers are the ones who have to cover their ears.

There are several steps you can take to align these two teams. Exposing them to positive and negative customer experiences can instill a customer-first mentality, and providing them with compensatory upsides for excellent customer experiences can foster healthy collaboration. But a technological solution, such as the implementation of a customer relationship management system, can truly sync up your marketing and sales teams in a big way.

Here are three ways customer relationship management (CRM) systems eliminate the gap between marketing and sales teams:

1. CRM + Actionable Data

A research report from CEB and Google found that 57 percent of the buying process is already complete before a prospective customer even tries to contact your sales team. This is because prospects engage with your brand through social media and digital channels long before making initial contact. This fact underscores the need for a lead nurturing program — supported by CRM — that can provide a detailed understanding of customer wants and needs.

Not only will a CRM system make it easier for your sales team to build and manage a realistic sales pipeline, but it will also provide more reliable forecasts.

Similarly, it affords marketers the ability to segment prospects and customers geographically, demographically, and psychographically. This way, your marketing team can create highly targeted, relevant campaigns to increase the likelihood of a purchase, which, in turn, empowers your sales team to cross-sell and upsell.

2. CRM + Improved Lead Quality

When marketing and sales departments use CRM systems, both teams can tell exactlywhere prospects are in the customer journey. This allows your company to rate prospects on multiple marketing and sales criteria like budget, persona, role, and behavior. Marketing and sales can use this data to determine when leads need additional nurturing or are “sales ready.”

When sales is better informed about the specifics of each lead, it can engage in a consultative dialogue that positions members as trusted advisors rather than mere salespeople.

The city of London used CRM to help service more than 300,000 commuters and constituents with a vast range of needs. It used the system to paint a unified picture of each customer, providing service agents with the person’s entire history and improving service.

3. CRM + Easier Communication

Some CRM systems have built-in social and collaborative capabilities, allowing sales and marketing team members to follow specific campaigns, leads, and sales opportunities. Both teams can use the system to get updates in their social feeds — similar to the way they can follow individuals or companies on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Team members can like certain updates, leave comments, and even engage in a real-time chat with their peers about CRM records within the application.

When marketing and sales orchestrate their efforts, the result is a better experience for your customers. The key is establishing a clear vision for your sales and marketing organization to effectively implement a CRM system. If you do, there will be little holding both teams back from finally singing the same tune.

Image: Shutterstock

Amber Bezahler

B-school Meets D-School

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