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Improve customer experience by integrating your marketing and sales teams

  • Last Updated : November 11, 2023
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  • 5 Min Read
Integrated marketing and sales teams

The business landscape is evolving rapidly, and a brand's interactions with its customers is no longer just a transaction—it's an experience. And to offer your customer the experience they expect and deserve, your marketing and sales teams need to be working closely together. Whether they understand it or not, these two teams are already indirectly working together on customer-centric activities—such as retention and nurturing—but this relationship can be improved through thoughtful and conscious collaboration.

The decision to make a purchase today is a lot more complicated than it used to be. It's influenced by a customer's circle of family, friends, and colleagues, who act as offline influencers. Online influencers, social media, internet reviews, and more can all contribute to their decision-making process. They might have also conducted research and interacted with your brand via websites, experience stores, social media, or other platforms. This will naturally result in expectations that are different from if they had just visited a retail store.

Your customers also continue to experience your brand after purchase, through delivery and installation, support, and more. So, as the buyer's journey is no longer linear, can the existing sales funnel justify current marketing and sales activities?

In any industry, a customer values their decision-making and buying experience — 86% of customers are willing to pay a premium for a great customer experience. The market landscape has become buyer-centric and customers have become demanding, which is why businesses need to embrace these changes and look beyond the sales funnel.

The traditional sales funnel starts with awareness and ends with a purchase, but a customer today interacts with your brand even after their purchase. This interaction presents your brand with an opportunity to turn customers into fans and evangelists. These interactions also lead to recurring purchases, with opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell. 

As a brand, to make the most of these opportunities, you must look away from the linear model. In a linear model, interaction with your brand ends after the transaction is complete—the sales funnel was never designed to handle the expectations and experiences of a modern buyer. The linear nature of the model makes it inadequate to map and address how your customer engages with your brand pre- and post-purchase. 

To effectively map a customer's interaction with your brand, you need to look at a circular model. The very nature of a circular model will help you map a customer's journey and offer a unique experience by fortifying your marketing and sales teams.

To understand a customer's decision-making process, we need a new model that gives us deeper insights into their journey with us. A customer's decision-making process can be effectively mapped with the help of a customer decision journey model. The circular nature of this model helps your marketing and sales teams map a customer's journey and plan their activities. This model also enables your teams to engage and onboard customers much more effectively.

Marketing and sales teams are two independent and distinctive functions. We need to respect that, but still find a way to integrate them. Keeping this in mind, here are three ways you can integrate your marketing and sales teams.

Manifest an empathetic and trustworthy culture 

Employees often fear being candid on matters that might have a significant impact on your business. This is even more true when it comes to communication between the marketing and sales teams—especially so during review meetings, where the two may butt heads.

Your marketing and sales teams need to empathize with each other's challenges and come together to solve them. A strong cultural bond will result in the growth of individuals and teams, and the brand as a whole.

Both these teams should treat feedback as points for growth and not criticism. This helps them work together towards a positive outcome that will be constructive for everyone involved. Team-building exercises and outings, getting everyone in a single workspace, and involving the other team in your meetings are other ways to build an empathetic and trustworthy culture between teams.

The sales team knows the pulse of the market, so they can assist the marketing team in developing content and activities that will resonate with your company's target audience. And your marketing team can better enable the sales team with collateral they need to succeed. By building such a culture, these two teams can communicate openly and form a strong bond built on a comprehensive feedback and development loop. This liaison will help in improving their activities and your brand and its offering as well.

Aligned responsibilities

Different teams handle different functions, but that doesn't mean responsibility isn't shared. The marketing team alone is not responsible for generating leads and filling the sales pipeline, and your sales team alone is not responsible for closing deals and bringing in revenue.

Aligned marketing and sales teams are critical for your brand growth and the growth of your customers. Track the impact your marketing team's inputs have had on the number of deals closed, and the average value of deals closed by your sales team. Similarly, track how the quality of marketing activities and leads generated have been impacted by the sales team's efforts. This will help enhance the activities of both teams and, as a byproduct, a stronger sense of empathy can develop between them.

Mapping your customer's journey with your brand is critical. Your marketing team narrates a story via its activities and collaterals and how your sales team pitches your product. But how their activities add value to a customer's journey is the big question here. Mapping and aligning their responsibilities and activities will enhance your customers' engagement and journey with your brand.

Integrate your data and metrics

"It is critical to break down silo mentality and apply a holistic management discipline which can break through the industrial constraints and limitations in pursuit of possibilities rather than impossibilities." - Pearl Zhu - Author, Digital Master

Unknowingly, the silo mentality has been affecting the growth of companies across the board for ages. This mentality impacts your brand's productivity, innovation, and sharing of resources. For your brand to succeed, you need to overcome this mentality and develop into a data-integrated organization.

Integrated data provides you with powerful insights that silos cannot. A dashboard with data from your marketing and sales activities will give you a complete understanding of how each function is performing, what metrics should be aligned, and how to measure them, along with creating transparency.

Business applications such as marketing automation, sales automation, CRM, and lead management don't always offer native integrations with each other. But you can still integrate them with the help of a low-code integration platform.

As the market evolves, businesses and their functions need to evolve as well. Customers today demand more than just a solution to their pain points. Integrated teams and their functions will be one of the key contributors for businesses to offer a comprehensive customer experience.

"At Zoho, when delivering the best customer experience, we know how critical it is for sales, marketing, and support teams to have a 360-degree view of a customer. This unification enables both sales and marketing teams to see contextual information about a prospect or a customer, at all stages of the customer lifecycle."
- Praval Singh - VP Marketing, Zoho 

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  • Naman

    Naman loves to create and tell stories with data. At Zoho, he creates marketing strategies, content, and interactions with customers and partners. He is a motorhead and can talk for hours on cars and bikes.

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