Inbound Marketing

Integrating Inbound Marketing with Sales

Don’t let the ‘marketing’ in inbound marketing fool you into thinking that it’s the sole domain of the marketing department. Both marketing and sales divisions have evolved considerably in the last few decades, to the point where their functions heavily overlap. Yet the divide between sales and marketing still exists in business everywhere. Marketing gets antsy when sales don’t convert the leads they passed them into customers, while sales get angry because they’ve wasted time pitching to a lead that’s not ready to buy. Little wonder that animosity arises. This cold war is bad news for business and hinders the lead and revenue generation process. For your business to become the profitable machine it was destined to be, it’s time to integrate your marketing functions with sales.

Different perceived goals and lack of communication are some of the causes of the sales vs. marketing divide

Marketing and sales might think they have different goals, but they don’t. Both teams want to ensure a steady flow of qualified leads and increase revenue for the business. Making your teams aware of this shared purpose is the first step in creating an aligned ‘smarketing’ unit. The next step is making them realise that each has a lot to offer the other. Another barrier to creating your inbound ‘smarketing’ dream team is poor communication between each side. Whether it’s down to reluctance to communicate and share information or because they use different terminology to describe the same thing, it’s important that each side is clear about what constitutes a marketing qualified lead (MQL), what a sales qualified lead (SQL) is, and at what point a lead is passed on to sales.

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Both marketing and sales have plenty to offer the other to improve lead generation and conversion rates

Marketing is responsible for the majority of the buying cycle. This means they understand your target audience, produce the content that attracts leads, and interact with leads from the first touch point. With an inbound marketing tool like marketing automation software, they can also collect data about a lead’s interaction with your website. This is a treasure trove of knowledge that can and should be passed onto the sales team to give the latter a detailed understanding how who they’re selling to.

Sales, too, can offer valuable insight to marketing to make lead generation easier for them. Because sales deal with leads face-to-face (or over the phone), they have real-life insight into what makes these potential customers tick – insights that can be fed back into marketing to create even more targeted and relevant content and messaging. Given the symbiosis just described, it’s clear that integrating inbound marketing with sales is required for boosting conversion rates.

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The buying cycle from a lead’s point of view must be seamless

From your lead’s perspective, the inbound marketing buying cycle is a continuous (though not always consistent) process. They aren’t cognisant of when they convert from a visitor to an MQL, and when they’ve become an SQL. As such, their experience with your business from first contact to close needs to be seamless. The only way to deliver this is if sales and marketing are integrated. If not, it’s a bit like a date (marketing) getting up just before dessert, and another one (sales) replacing them. The second date doesn’t know you, won’t know what you’ve talked about with date number one, and will have to pick up where they left off. Not a comfortable situation for either party – be it during the buying cycle or in real life!

Disconnected teams are far more likely to let leads slip through the cracks

The disconnect also causes another problem: lead leakage. Marketing can generate plenty of leads, but this might not translate into more customers. Trying to figure out the cause of this is impossible if your marketing and sales teams are disparate. If your teams are aligned, you can find the cause for low conversion rates, and fix it.

Data, process and clarity” are needed to heal the rift between marketing and sales, and for inbound marketing to work – something much more easily attainable when partnering with an inbound marketing agency. Download our guide for information about how inbound can work for your business:
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