Integrating marketing & sales execution

We recently kicked off a series around our digital go to market transformation roadmap, starting with the first key phase of operationally reorganising your business around the customer. In this next part of the series, we’ll explore the second, more difficult phase of integrating and automating your marketing and sales execution.

With the previous ‘customer pivot’ phase complete, you will have set firm foundations for your digital go-to-market transformation. Cross-functional sponsorship and business-wide understanding will be gaining traction. You’ll have a deeper understanding of your key customer segments and will have started to lay the process, content, channel, data and technology foundations necessary to drive new customer interactions. You are now ready to tackle the next phase, where the much more difficult process of functional integration takes place.

The key challenge in phase two is working out how to add value to customers with the right interaction, in the right channel, at the right time. Doing this requires testing, proving and evolving a whole new marketing and sales execution engine - redesigning processes, evolving operating models and enabling better and more automated ways of working, supported by technology. However, given that most enterprises have firmly entrenched cultural and functional silos to deal with, specifically the age-old division between marketing and sales, there are a number of massive challenges to negotiate on the way to genuine integration.

In this blog series, we’ll explore the 6 key steps involved in this phase, providing practical tips for accelerating progress. Today’s post will look at the first of these steps:

Step 1 – Lift Role & Goal Clarity

To deliver the relevance and value that your customers expect, while at the same time reducing the cost of sale, a fundamental evolution of both organisational design and the channel mix is typically required. New channels and roles often need to be introduced to ensure you can deliver the right interactions, to the right customers, at the right time.

With the channel mix evolving, ensuring the operating model is adjusted to support these shifts is critical. To ensure the right people are aligned to the right opportunities and set up for success; marketing and sales roles, goals, KPIs and incentives will need to be defined and embedded.

The following are 3 key tips, which we believe make an instrumental difference in achieving this:

Address ‘Noise’ in the Sales Operating Model

Role and goal diffusion is common in sales teams, with salespeople struggling to balance selling time with other responsibilities such as completing administration tasks and attending internal forums. With new transformation initiatives being introduced, there is a high risk of ‘organisational noise’ – the distraction and commotion created by change initiatives - further contributing to a reduction in selling time. While transformation initiatives are pivotal to preparing the business for the future, the turbulence they create in the short to medium term may unintentionally restrict, rather than enable salespeople. To help minimise this, ensure there is complete clarity on responsibilities across sales roles and clear demarcation between sales and service roles to minimise role diffusion.

Evolve Sales KPIs and Incentives

The levers that dictate success in sales are changing. With a more informed buyer, the quantity-driven or ‘numbers game’ approach of the past is no longer the success driver it once was. While activity levels are still important, organisations need to shift towards a focus on sales quality – ensuring that behaviours such as prompt lead follow-up, adequate call preparation and the delivery of contextual insights are business-as-usual. In addition to reviewing KPIs, be sure to consider whether legacy incentive schemes need to be evolved to ensure the right customer-centric behaviours will be cemented.

Position Marketing for a New Era of Accountability

Due to so much more of the ‘conversation’ with buyers occurring across online channels prior to sales involvement, the role and remit of marketing has changed and expanded significantly. Centralisation of lead generation within marketing is common, with traditional roles changing rapidly as quality content, the utilisation of data and expertise across digital tools and channels become critical to success. Roles, accountabilities and KPIs must be adjusted to bring about a new level of focus on lead generation outcomes and revenue.

What’s Next?

While defining and embedding marketing and sales roles, goals, KPIs and incentives are essential for future success, this is only the first step. The next step on the pathway to genuine integration is developing new capabilities to drive lead generation across multiple new channels and effectively operate new technologies. Our next post in this series will explore what these are and provide best practice tips for gaining buy-in for new ways of working.

Worded by Chris Horn