Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Closing the gap between Sales and Marketing

Your Customers are no longer interested in endless sales pitches. They tend to investigate thoroughly online, before placing their order. This calls for a shift in the collaboration between sales and marketing. The two departments will have a greater overlap than ever before.

The empires of sales and marketing used to be fairly separated. Despite the fact that both departments are responsible for offering the same products and services to customers, the two departments traditionally classified each other rather as opponents than as partners. Sales would feel that marketing was getting in the way when closing the real deals, while marketing accused sales of operating solo and not acting properly on leads generated from marketing’s campaigns. This is just a grasp of the mutual biases, but they clearly still exist.

Getting rid of the gap

Over the past decade, a slight evolution can be seen in the collaboration between sales and marketing. The relationship is intensifying. The gap is being closed. This, if you ask me, is due to the way our customers do business these days. More often, customers buy without – physically, by phone or digital – contacting the seller. The customer browses online, compares products and prices, reads reviews, decides and places the order online.

You are such a customer 

Recognizable? Without a doubt, because you are one of them. Let’s say you would like to buy CRM software. You would first look online to compare products and prices before making a choice. Maybe you would even like to test-drive your product before making a decision. Only when you are already convinced, you will contact a sales rep. Due to this, we see an increase in the requirement to be able to produce and manage online content such as success stories, product discussions, tips, blogs and reviews. The traditional role of the salesperson is also changing from sales rep to adviser.

This means that the traditional marketing and sales processes must evolve to meet the demands of the modern customer and the ways this customer wants to do business. This also means that marketing and sales require to work more closely together. The marketing process in the end seamlessly blends into the sales process. Someone stumbling upon your website after reading your blog could just as well be your next customer. And if this visitor does not become a customer immediately, sales might just drop this person a phone call in order to follow-up on the lead and maybe reeling in this big fish.

Where are you supposed to spend your money? 

What does all this mean for you? Where should you spend your money? Should you invest in the perfect marketing solution? Or is it sales that needs your attention? Luckily, you don’t need to choose. There are systems available in the cloud that support both sales and marketing. Systems that support both blood types, and offer an integrated alternative for the separate systems and spreadsheets of the sales and marketing departments. These systems combine sales functionality with for instance campaign automation. Furthermore, they support all kinds of collaboration between the people, teams and departments. They help you get a better understanding of the customer.

An integrated solution can help you get your sales channel sorted out and feed your sales funnel better. This will improve the predictability in the sales process, getting you back in the driver’s seat. An integrated system for sales and marketing also allows you to track and manage individual persons throughout the sales process, from browse to checkout. It will also feed sales with the exact information they need, just as it will allow sales to supply marketing with the needed info – information that for example marketeers can use to adjust campaigns. As the systems are available in the cloud, they are easy to implement and adopt. You can be up and running in less than a few months.


The world is changing fast. Yours included. In two or three years from now, these systems will be common. This means that you should look in to this now. My tip: Investigate. Meet the possibilities. Think about what these solutions can offer in your case. And don’t wait too long.

The original Dutch version of this blog was posted on SAP’s website