In almost every conference, seminar, event or for that matter meeting, we always talk and put our thoughts on our customer’s pain areas. How to identify them, how to solve them, how can we provide innovative solutions, etc? And to achieve all these objectives, we always talk about working in collaboration. How often do we hear it that, Marketing and Sales team should work in complete collaboration, now the lead lifecycle has changed and both Marketing and Sales should have the ownership of the complete cycle and not just the top of the funnel or bottom of the funnel, etc. These are valid points to consider because ultimately it is the customer who is paying, but to really make a significant impact on customer’s pain areas, is it not necessary that we must also look at our own pain areas?
When we talk about the Marketing and Sales collaboration, are we making sure that we have addressed the pain areas both these teams have? Not necessarily with each other but both teams may be facing a few challenges which may hamper the collaboration. Today, with best-in-class technologies, it seems that both teams can work in sync like never before, we have CRMs, Marketing automation tools, Sales engagement tools, tools for database and whatnot, but there lies the biggest challenge as well.
With so many options available to use the technology, more often than not, both the Marketing and Sales team start using different tools in silos and then try to sync the data to get the required information. This results in difficult integrations, lots of effort will go in finding or getting the required data and that leads to mistrust between the two teams and ultimately they do not work in collaboration.
So before choosing any tool for either of the team, there are few points to be considered which will help both the teams in long run and will have better collaboration, because both teams know that they both have the same goal, have a positive impact on company’s growth.
- Avoid Assumptions and Ask the right questions - while choosing a technology it is very important that we do not make any assumptions. Many times, it happens that one team goes for a tool because it will solve a few of their pain areas, but they forget to consider the other team and how this tech will affect them or will there be any effect or not. So before making any decision, it is important that both teams should consider each other’s’ pain points and do not assume that something good for one team will automatically help the other team. It is important for both the teams that they ask the right questions about the technology and how is it going to help, a marketing automation tool may help in a few challenges for marketing team but is it going to help sales or not, if yes then how? Will it going to ask for additional effort from the sales team? What kind of reports it will generate, will these be helpful for both the teams or not? If both teams have a clear understanding of pain areas and ask the right question about the tool one team is considering to implement or use, it will save a lot of effort later on and both teams will have more confidence in the tool.
- Are the biggest challenges in sync for both the teams – What are the biggest challenges the Marketing or Sales team trying to solve with the help of technology? Have both teams prepared a list or prioritize the challenges, if yes, then the next step is to sit together and find out what common challenges they are facing and prepare the list of common challenges. If there are not many common challenges, then it is very important to identify how these challenges are in syn with others. Will solving one challenge have any effect on others or not? Once these questions are answered then comes the point where technology is selected. Most of the times, one team go for a tool because they want to solve their biggest challenge and do not consider the challenges faced by another team, and later on when they want to collaborate then the same technology they bought becomes a pain area because either it does not help the other team or the solution it has requires extra efforts. This results in starting the process of finding a new solution with or without technology.
- Do all pain areas required to be solved with Technology? – While preparing the list of challenges for both the marketing and sales team, it is also very important to consider the impact of these challenges and prioritize them basis on “important” or “urgent” to solve. After the prioritization, the next question to ask is, does the solution require additional technology or it can be solved by making a few changes in the existing process. For most of the challenges, the solution is hidden in the process itself so making few changes in the process will lead to better performance, for challenges related to measuring, data flow, analytics, insights, reducing the efforts, ROI calculations, etc. technology plays an important role. Also, another point to consider is How many technologies are you going to use or ask the teams to work on? Anyway, both teams are using multiple tools and adding on one or two more will also lead to frustration. So, for any solution, the combination of technology and change in process is required.
- How will it help in generating more business? – After focusing on the internal challenges and finding their solutions and considering their benefits, the next big question is that by changing the process, or using technology, will it going to make an impact in generating more business? Whether, new tools help in measuring or analyzing the data, or help in the data flow from one tool to another or reducing the effort in completing a task, ultimately it should have a positive impact on business. Consider, what will be done with additional analytics from the tools, what actions can be taken basis on that, what will be done if teams have few additional hours to spare, what new insights or reports can be generated which will help the management to understand the impact? Analyzing the above questions is also very important before implementing a tool.
- An important question for the tool – Buying a tool is the easiest part of the complete process, but the real challenge comes when the teams start using the tool because during the buying process everyone says they have the best tool, have seamless integration with all the existing tools in the world and very easy to use. So, the important question to ask while considering a tool is whether the tool can integrate with all the other tools and technologies both the teams are using? If the answer is yes, then it is better to have the demo on how to integrate and how data will flow and in case the answer is no, then do not consider the tool because the tool can be amazing but if it does not talk to other existing tools and teams struggle to figure out how to use it then it will create more damage than the benefits. Ask for a trial version and have someone to actually work on the tool and analyze how it can help for particular challenges.
Nowadays, many product companies are trying to help others in setting up the complete Martech, one such company is Marketo. It has a very interesting concept of “LaunchPoint” which will help in identifying which tool can be used for what specific area and all the tools can be easily integrated with Marketo. It not only helps in identifying the tools but also helps in understanding the functionalities of these tools right from the planning stage to engaging and measuring stage so that a complete stack can be built with much less effort in researching and having multiple interactions with various teams. One can look for the most suitable tools based on one’s industry or vertical and have the tools to evaluate.
Also, there is a wonderful session "Deliver Innovative Customer Experiences with Marketo's Partner Ecosystem" by Lisa Hudson and Shai Alfandary during the Adobe Summit 2019. Please watch the session and get great insights.
So, before considering any tool for your team, considering the above point will not only save a lot of effort but also help you in building trust among the teams. It will be easier to work in collaboration and put all the efforts into growing business for the organization.