Integrating Sales And Marketing: What Does That Really Look Like?

Integrating sales and marketing what does that really look likeBusinesses know that if they’re going to be successful, their sales and marketing efforts need to be integrated: they need to work together. Too often, however, it seems as if they are at odds. The sales people complain that marketing never gives them good leads. The marketing folks respond that the sales people never do anything with the leads they’re given. Nobody’s happy. What is it supposed to look like when sales and marketing are working together to get results?

Why is it important to integrate? Integrating your sales process into your marketing efforts allows you to keep the flow of information your prospect is receiving very fluid. The primary goal of marketing is to generate awareness of your company or brand—and to generate qualified leads.  Once awareness has been established, you need to educate your prospect about why your product or service best meets their specific need.

Your sales process needs to be in alignment with your marketing efforts.  If you’re saying one thing in your blogs, on your website or in other marketing material and your sales team is talking about something else, you’ll confuse your prospect. You want to carry a consistent message all the way through the process.

What information should you capture? When you gather information on your website (and you need to be doing this!), you want to make sure you get the basics:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email address
  • Phone number (this can fall under the additional items if you’re just trying to capture email addresses)

Depending on your business and your prospects, you may want to capture a few additional items such as:

  • Company name
  • Company revenue
  • Website URL
  • Income (personal)
  • Best time to contact (morning, afternoon, evening)

Don’t ask for information you’re not going to use. The more information you request, the less likely the person is to fill out the form on your website. On the other hand, why ask for something like company revenue? If you know that your “sweet spot” is companies that are in the $1,000,000 to $3,000,000 range, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of time talking to companies that have revenues of less than $250,000. It’s a waste of their time and yours. Whatever information you capture, make sure you use it to contact the individual by name and at least send an email or make a phone call.

A good rule of thumb is to match the quality of information you’re sending to the information you’re requesting. If you’re asking for a lot of information and all you’re offering is a “checklist” or “cheat sheet”, you won’t get much response.  Make sure what you’re offering has real value. It doesn’t have to be monetary value, but it needs to be information that genuinely helps.

How can you make sure that the information you capture is available everywhere you need it? It’s important to have a centralized database (preferably accessible in the cloud).  There are many great Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems such as and Highrise.  You want to set up your website so that all form submissions feed into your CRM so that both sales and marketing people have access to it.

Can’t I simply enter the data into an Excel spreadsheet? Using an Excel spreadsheet is an option, but it isn’t the best solution—especially if you have multiple people accessing it.  In addition to having issues with version control (spreadsheets getting overwritten or lost), you’ll also have accessibility issues. CRM systems make it a lot easier to see your leads, rank them and add reminders and notes. And everybody who needs to have access to them can do so.

Here’s how we do it. At TMR Direct, we integrate our sales process by keeping an open line of communication between marketing and sales.  If our marketing team is about to launch a case study or e-book, we send the email, landing page and case study or e-book to the sales team.  That way, when someone downloads it, the sales team knows exactly what our lead is interested in and reading about.  Then, when the sales team calls, they can pick up the conversation with a comment such as, “I noticed you downloaded our XYZ case study. What did you think of the results?” From there, our sales team can continue the conversation and move prospects down the sales funnel.

What other questions do you have about integrating sales and marketing efforts?

Inbound Marketing 101