Align sales and marketing to gain customers, drive growth

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Marketing and sales teams have traditionally had two separate objectives in most organizations: the marketing team works to get leads and fill the top of the funnel, while the sales team focuses on the bottom of the funnel and closing those leads.

But these days, the old way of doing business doesn’t cut it. Customers are savvier, in more of a hurry, and increasingly want their interactions to be omnichannel. To deliver great sales experiences, contact center associates need to have the right information at their fingertips at the right time, and they must know how to use it quickly.

Against this backdrop, the traditional method of keeping sales and marketing teams siloed isn’t just inefficient – it’s fundamentally flawed, said TTEC Chief Marketing Officer Nick Cerise.

Cerise and Jeff Far, TTEC’s group vice president of customer growth services, recently led a webinar where they discussed trends and emerging opportunities to gain traction in a post-pandemic market.

The key, said Cerise, is to integrate sales and marketing into one fully aligned, unified team with shared goals.

“Now, all of a sudden, these roles must converge,” he said. “It really does require brands to rethink all aspects…rethinking your people, rethinking your process, and rethinking your technology – and how they all align across the entire organization.”

The right people matter

To truly align marketing and sales teams, team leaders must be committed to – and see the value in – working together, said Farr. It all begins with leadership.

It’s helpful to have people who sit at the intersection of what would typically be sales and marketing – but who aren’t part of either team – and to task them with focusing entirely on continuous improvement, Farr said.

At TTEC, those people are strategic marketing managers (SMMs), or data scientists. Unbeholden to sales or marketing, they focus on aligning the funnel top to bottom, Farr said. They gather associate metrics, coach on best practices, and use historical data to create targets. They listen to calls and comb through data to glean what’s working and what’s not. They report what they learn to leadership and associates, informing future trainings and strategies.

Lead prioritization is another people-based way brands can boost sales. Consider regularly ranking associates based on their performance and giving the highest-quality leads to the best performers.

Continually examine processes

“Sometimes there are elements of the CX process that are just better to partner with a provider on,” Cerise said. But companies that want to do it on their own should begin by assessing what’s working and what’s not.

Contact center automation can improve productivity, customer experience and employee engagement – not to mention bottom lines – by making it easier for associates to do their jobs well. Often, associates spend too much time on process that would be better spent on selling.

When so many different applications are needed, the process usually involves a lot of cutting and pasting, such as copying information from a CRM into a fulfillment engine. Through robotic desktop automation, “process genies” can be embedded on associates’ desktops to find out where mundane and repetitive tasks are slowing down the sales process – and identify how automating those tasks can save time, money, and headaches.

“Often times, it’s not something that a company will even look at or think about, but when we see the data they have one of these ‘Aha’ moments,” Cerise said. “It’s critical, and it’s something we love to do with clients just to sort of open their eyes.”

Data can provide powerful insights when it comes to assessing processes, Farr said. One TTEC client, for instance, had a longstanding five-call sales model but data showed that conversions rarely happened on the fourth or fifth calls. Based on that data, the company changed its model to three sales calls, worked on improving those three interactions, and saw better success rates.

Processes should make selling easier, not harder. They should create the ideal cadence for the sales journey – the optimal number of attempts, the length of time a sales call lasts, the best number of days between attempts, and other factors. Use data along the way to inform all these decisions.

Make the most of technology

It’s one thing to invest in great technology; it’s another to use it to its full potential. Sometimes, well-meaning companies fail to fully capitalize on a technology’s capabilities because it isn’t integrated into the CRM or marketing automation platform.

When choosing what tech to embrace, Cerise said, start with the data.

“If you don’t have a fully integrated and aligned view of your customer personas, of that target addressable market, and an aligned scoring methodology, you’re kind of set up for failure. This is a must,” he said.

These days, it’s also essential to choose technology that lets work-from-home associates access all the sales engagement platforms and get answers to their questions remotely whenever they need to.

“Let sellers sell and find sales administrators to help work the administrative and support functions, whether that’s digital or a human workforce,” he said.

Artificial intelligence can also play a key role. RealPlay, TTEC’s award-wining AI-enabled contact center training service, improves associate performance through video role playing. The program listens to calls and interactions in real time, scores and gives personalized feedback, and offers strategies for improvement.

Fully aligning sales and marketing can bring many benefits to a brand – to customers, employees, and balance sheets alike. But it’s an ongoing process and there’s always room for improvement and innovation.

“Never be satisfied,” Cerise said. “Always be optimizing.”

Watch the full TTEC and Marketing Dive webinar, “Top Growth Strategies to Gain Customers Now.”