Misalignment between Marketing and Sales is a problem which plagues many companies. It’s a strange thing, given that their objectives are identical: increasing pipeline and conversion rates.
And that’s the crucial point; if there’s any friction between your Sales and Marketing teams, the cause is often purely operational.
For example, Sales and Marketing might each have their own criteria for what makes a Sales Qualified Lead. In reality, they may both be right, or at least partially right, but simply coming at it from different perspectives.
Another cause of friction can be much more basic: vital data or intelligence isn’t making it from Marketing to Sales. So what seemed like an obviously qualified lead to the former doesn’t appear so to the latter. This can cause frustration at both ends: Sales will be frustrated at being handed what they believe is an unqualified lead, while Marketing will fume at Sales dumping a hard-earned, qualified lead.
Or vice-versa: certain leads may be failing to convert, but Sales aren’t communicating who and why, so Marketing keep fielding them the same type of faulty leads.
Or maybe they’re just not communicating, period. Demand gen is high-pressured stuff, and both Sales and Marketing may simply be struggling to fulfill their own respective targets irrespective of each other.
Artificial Intelligence can help streamline cooperation between Marketing and Sales
There are no quick-fixes to a systemic problem like this. But incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into your B2B Sales and Marketing stacks could hold the key.
AI can help put Marketing and Sales on the same page — or rather, help them understand how they’re already on the same page — if applied correctly.
No, simply running a black box machine-learning model won’t make Sales and Marketing communicate better — though it may at least give them a common playbook to work from. But a truly intelligent, transparent AI predictive model — one which enables your Sales and Marketing teams to have an input — can be a real vehicle for alignment.
We’ve talked before about how the expertise and experience of your Sales and Marketing reps should inform your Ideal Customer Profile. Certainly, it will make your predictive model more accurate. But the process of doing so can also help the two teams exchange perspectives and align their approaches.
Predictive intelligence as a basis for cooperation
First of all, an AI-powered predictive model will provide an all-important objective, intelligence-driven road-map for both sales and marketing. (It goes without saying that a prerequisite to all of this is ensuring a high level of data quality.)
Specifically, predictive scoring identifies positive (and negative) behavioral signals and traits from past leads and customers, which are used to score leads and form an Ideal Customer Profile.
At this point, Marketing and Sales can and should have their input.
This process itself presents an ideal opportunity to facilitate an open exchange of ideas and feedback between departments. Valuable professional experience can be thrown into the mix — including nuances, experience and personal relationships machine-based models can’t account for. Marketing and Sales can also use the opportunity to identify key bottlenecks more generally, and establish more effective modes of communication.
Marketing and Sales — we’re all on the same side
The end result will be a model that both sides understand and appreciate. Marketing will know what types of leads to target or to avoid, and Sales can be confident that if a lead makes it to them, it’s sales qualified. Equally, your SDRs will be directed to only the best prospective leads.
That will mean greater efficiency and productivity, and higher conversion rates.
Get The B2B Marketer’s Guide to AI to learn how this groundbreaking marketing technology could revolutionize your demand gen:
Picture from Pixabay | CC0 Public Domain