Top financial services enterprises have proven that strong alignment between sales and marketing teams leads to better business outcomes: increases in customer engagement, better customer service, and faster revenue growth. In fact, research has shown that when sales and marketing teams are in sync, companies can improve close rates by 67 percent and get 209 percent more value from marketing.
Unfortunately, efforts by some companies to create alignment and results often fail before they even begin. Marketing teams are under increased scrutiny from corporate teams that question its productivity and performance. With increased pressure to become more accountable and prove marketing’s value and contribution, it’s no wonder that sales and marketing teams are rethinking the way they communicate and collaborate.
With this in mind, here are five ways to unite your sales and marketing teams – and achieve better business results:
While marketing’s primary focus often is to generate awareness and influence customer behavior – i.e., meet prospective customers at the start of their buying journey and help to move them down the funnel through to a potential sale – today’s marketers must think more like sales when it comes to their marketing activities.
Marketing must shift its strategy from only looking at “vanity” metrics to also analyzing the data that directly affects sales outcomes. More specifically, in addition to brand impressions (e.g., views, followers, retweets), marketers must take partial ownership of qualified pipeline opportunities, such as when a customer or prospect does any one of the following:
- Visits a website or landing page
- Downloads a product brochure
- Requests a call, meeting or quote
- Participates in a webinar
- Attends an event
By focusing on metrics that truly drive sales outcomes, sales and marketing teams can better operate as one coordinated, cohesive revenue generation machine.
Firms like Farmers Insurance are taking advantage of the full customer experience by using digital technology to enhance human interactions. This includes understanding where their customers are, what channels they interact on, and determining how to improve the customer experience at every point of engagement. Mobile apps and collaboration tools are now being used by advisors and their team to efficiently schedule meetings, text policy reminders and other rote tasks, freeing up time for advisors to focus on more meaningful client engagement activities.
Crossed wires between sales and marketing teams can lead to missed quotas and budget shortfalls, not to mention unnecessary tension between sales reps and marketers. To align teams, it’s important for sales and marketing to act as one organization and, together, determine the programs that they will implement to enable the field.
Ameriprise, for one, has found success in this area by agreeing on key metrics and deliverables at the start of their programs and coming back together after the completion of programs to determine what was successful. Simply determining what constitutes a qualified lead and what are the key metrics and stages in which to measure can be tremendously beneficial.
A strong sales and marketing strategy should include relevant content that extends the reach of the sales team to more leads, provides more opportunities for leads to engage with both the brand and individual advisors, and helps accelerate the customer journey toward sales conversations, retention and upsell.
But advisors aren’t content marketers. Asking them to not only create their own content, but also figure out what, when and how to share it will most likely result in an initiative that’s dead on arrival.
Instead, marketing teams should leverage automation technology that provides advisors with a steady stream of engaging content – personalized to their interests and client base – and automatically shares it on their networks (i.e., “set and forget”). Advisors can then dedicate their time and resources to more high-touch activities.
For example, one of our customers (a Fortune 100 financial services firm) has seen great success in offering advisors the ability to subscribe to our Hearsay Content tool (via our Advisor Social solution), which curates content from top news sources and automatically posts it on an advisor’s social media business profiles over time – compliantly. Advisors can subscribe to “dynamic campaigns” that are relevant to their practice and customer base – topics like investment strategy commentary, personal finance news, financial advice for women, kids and money, and retirement planning.
Another Hearsay customer uses RSS feeds to help ease the load in terms of curating content for specific topics or client segments.
For more insights on what advisors should publish on social media and how to optimize their efforts, check out our 2018 Social Media Content Study
With a concrete content architecture in place that aligns your content with marketing and sales enablement processes, firms can assemble, organize, package and measure the performance of all their content assets, throughout the entire sales funnel.
Your field marketing is in place, and your advisors are running an automated content machine that keeps them top-of-mind and relevant to their local customer base. At the same time, your brand marketing team continues to run campaigns at the corporate level. If marketing is doing its job successfully, qualified leads are coming in from both sources.
But, what good is a qualified lead if it is not getting passed on to the right advisor, or isn’t being followed up on in a timely manner? This is one of the primary causes of disconnect between marketing and sales, and why sales organizations often don’t see the value of marketing. Lead generation suffers when teams aren’t properly aligned and leads aren’t handed off to sales successfully, or aren’t quickly followed up on by an advisor.
The answer – again – is leveraging automation to get that lead to a one-to-one conversation as fast as possible. Using solutions like Hearsay, firms can now trigger, track and automate a lead follow-up workflow where once an advisor is assigned a lead, he or she can quickly send a pre-scripted email with corporate-approved copy through Hearsay’s Advisor Social platform, as well as promptly follow up with a mobile text and voice call using Hearsay Relate.
Everyone knows by now that consistent, accurate data is critical in any decision. Yet, one of the biggest obstacles to sales and marketing alignment and business growth is the use of disparate systems without sharing data.
When it comes to CRM and other platforms, it’s important for sales and marketing to be on the same page and make it possible for advisors to stay in touch with potential leads – with complete and accurate data – without a huge investment of time.
Firms that connect their advisor-client engagement solutions – including Hearsay’s Advisor Cloud – to their CRM and other core systems will benefit from data insights that lead to more personalized and prescriptive client action.
What’s more, all these advisor-client interactions are automatically captured in CRM without any manual data entry required from advisors. The result? Complete and accurate data across systems, corporate visibility into field activities, and no extra work for advisors.
For example, one of our customers drives results by providing real-time alerts for advisors on mobile whenever there’s a new lead, as well as pre-written and pre-approved compliance communication they can send to clients immediately as a follow-up.
Perhaps one of our technology partners sums it up best:
“An advisor’s job is to sell, not become a technologist. The key for greater sales and marketing alignment and better sales outcomes is having one seamless ecosystem to help advisors find the right person, know what to say and when to say it, and recording it in the CRM where we want these insights to live. In other words, advisors need integrated connectivity to do their jobs effectively, and without which, they are at a huge disadvantage.”