Recent studies show that organizations with a higher alignment level achieve an average of 32 percent annual revenue growth while businesses with less alignment observe an average of 7 percent decline in revenue. In order to keep pace with ever-changing customer behavior models, forward-thinking companies are seeking new ways to prevent ‘departmental silos’ from forming by removing the barriers between them. This allows companies to get a unified view of the customers while encouraging better collaboration and a more effective team work. Removing these barriers ultimately increases the likelihood that common organizational goals will be achieved rather than individual department goals.
However, in some cases connecting marketing, sales and service can be full of hidden pitfalls that businesses have to consider while going through the alignment process. Here are three tips to keep in mind when unifying marketing, sales and service.
1. Even disqualified leads can have value
Despite the close ties between sales and marketing, not many businesses are taking full advantage of the teams’ alignment. First of all, it is crucial to ensure that sales and marketing reps have a common understanding of what designates a qualified lead and which leads should be handled by each department. In addition, marketing should always have the opportunity to reengage with leads that have been previously disqualified by sales.
The fact that prospects are not interested in a given product or service at a given time doesn’t mean that initial interactions made with a prospect are not valuable and wouldn’t pay off. In actuality, benchmark research from Sirius Decisions found 80 percent of contacts labeled as “dead end” by sales people will buy from you or your competitor within the next 24 months.
Therefore, marketing teams should invest in lead nurturing practices to reengage with the leads and find sales opportunities over time. Based on a report from Forrester Research, businesses investing in lead nurturing activities generate 50 percent more ready-to-buy leads with a 33 percent lower CPA (cost per acquisition).
2. Implement cross-functional processes to deliver better customer experience
Adopting unified interconnected processes for all customer touchpoints is crucial for delivering a seamless customer experience, which in turn increases loyalty.
Despite the obvious benefits of having a set of unified processes in place, not many organizations establish them for their marketing, sales and service teams, even if they interact with the same contacts during different stages of the customer journey. The failure to bridge the gap between key business processes derails a company’s ability to effectively attract and service their clients, decreasing the quality of the customer experience; it will also have a negative impact on company’s revenue. When processes are fragmented, customer-facing departments become disjointed and customers can be asked to repeatedly provide the same information while they interact with the brand across various channels or departments. By eliminating such redundancies, companies can provide clients with feelings of trust, respect and an understanding of their needs, which is fundamental for long-term relationships.
3. Maintain focus on maximizing collaboration and preventing data segregation
Marketing, sales and service teams essentially own all the valuable customer data for an organization – from website behavior, to products purchased and related service requests. However, this information is not always shared across departments. The lack of necessary tools for effective collaboration can cause the departmental silo effect referenced earlier, especially when the teams are not motivated to share data. These gaps reduce the overall company’s operational efficiency.
Breaking down these barriers can become a challenging task for an organization. However, companies can avoid most of these issues and facilitate collaboration of all customer-facing teams with the right CRM system. Unifying marketing, sales and service through a single CRM platform, such as bpm’online, not only provides a more complete view of the customer but can be leveraged to automate processes for more effective lead nurturing campaigns, better sales enablement and improved customer service programs. The key benefit for an organization can vary, but a study from Harvard Business Review show that that 70 percent of executives determined “cost savings” as a key benefit of connecting departments on a single platform.
Since there’s nothing more valuable for businesses than having a loyal customer base, the investment into better aligned customer-facing processes and operations will always pay off, and a good CRM tool will certainly help with that considerably.
Author: Michael Rooney