10/06/24The future of marketing & sales – 5 Steps to a Successful We-team

Whether a start-up, medium-sized company or large corporation - for every company, marketing and sales are fundamental pillars of business success. Both areas interact with customers and prospects in different ways and together ensure that inspiring customer experiences are created along the customer journey.

Which is why it is all the more important for forward-looking companies to unite their teams and use cross-departmental synergies to provide the best possible service. The advantages are obvious: a more efficient lead generation process and stronger sales growth. Today’s technical possibilities mean that both departments are experiencing a merging of their roles, nevertheless both departments often still operate independently of each other. But can sales generate sales success on its own in today's world? Likewise, can marketing campaigns be successful if the leads have not been developed by the sales team?

Marcus BaerMarcus Bär, Member of the Executive Management Board of CAS Software AG, and Norbert Schuster, Founder and Managing Director of strike2 GmbH, show how marketing and sales can be successfully merged into one We-team and how the synergies contribute to sustainable corporate success.

Sales in transition

  1. Traditional sales has been undergoing change for years. External influences such as constantly changing customer requirements, high market transparency, a more competitive environment, crises and scarce resources are constantly presenting sales teams with new challenges. In order to remain fit for the future, it is important to roll with any challenges that the external conditions throw at your business. When this happens it is a good idea to follow the motto "Play the ball where the monkey drops it" and to leverage any room for manoeuvre, especially with internal influencing criteria.

These criteria include, for example, the mindset of sales employees  especially with regard to their openness and willingness to use proven and new tools. The automation of routine tasks, the digitalization of processes and the use of CRM solutions such as CAS genesisWorld help sales teams to save time and focus on building customer relationships.

In addition, modern sales needs a new self-image. The direction is moving away from a focus on acquisition and short-term sales deals towards practising customer success management, which emphasizes long-term customer relationships and partnerships. In this case in particular, the marketing team play a key role in fully exploiting the potential of sales when building and maintaining customer relationships.

More successful together: Marketing’s role

Driven by digitalization and changing customer behaviour, marketing has also evolved, moving away from one-sided advertising communication towards a holistic corporate strategy that focuses on customers and their needs.

The tasks of contemporary marketing go far beyond classic campaigns, appealing texts, beautiful images and event organization. Rather, customers and interested parties are accompanied through target group-specific marketing activities and coordinated communication measures at the right time via the various channels in all phases of the customer journey.

Marketing presents the special features of the product and arouses interest. As a result, interested parties are provided with relevant information until the customer's desire is so great that they get in contact. As part of lead nurturing, contacts are provided with relevant information in a targeted manner in order to enrich and pre-qualify the leads with further data in return. The aim is to serve promising, bite-sized sales opportunities to the sales team on a silver platter in order to make the best possible use of the sales team's time. After all, every sales process costs a lot of time and therefore money.   

Sales now takes over the further processing of sales opportunities. Nevertheless, marketing and sales should continue to work together transparently and seamlessly. Only if the marketing team is involved in the sales activities and understands whether the measures in the beginning of the sales funnel are already set up optimally can it sharpen its actions and act in a sales-supporting manner.

This ongoing dialog between marketing and sales, in which both sides share their information and findings, gives them a comprehensive picture of customer requirements and needs. With this knowledge, the approach can be individualized, personalized and emotional in order to inspire customers in the long term.

The We-team from Marketing and Sales

In order to make the most of the strengths of the respective teams and the synergy effects between the two departments, jointly defined goals are required. However, different ideas, perspectives and behavioral patterns often hinder smooth cooperation between marketing and sales.

How can the two areas be successfully interlinked and the potential of both departments optimally utilized? This requires cross-functional teams that work hand-in-hand and contribute their respective share to success. The following "5 Steps to a Successful Sales and Marketing Team" model demonstrates how such a We-team can be successfully established in companies:

1. Inventory (management task)

The first task of the management team is to take stock of the current situation. The following questions should be answered:

  • What makes us successful today and where can we improve?
  • How are we perceived by interested parties, customers and partners?
  • How are we positioned today and what's the current situation in the respective teams?
  • What resources and skills do we still need to build up?

Tip: These questions should also be answered later by the new cross-functional team. In order to create a common basis, these should be compared and contrasted to the answers above and discussed with those responsible.

2. Definition of objectives and responsibilities (management task)

The management team from both departments defines and formulates the objectives and future vision for the new "We-team". Executives and managers with the right skills and experience are identified and invited. This team prepares the kick-off by assembling members from marketing and sales for the "We-team" and formulating the common goal and collective mission.

For a holistic view of the project, additional tasks, roles and competencies are documented for which the external support of other departments and service providers is required. Jointly defined rules and structures define the framework for cooperation.

Tip: To strengthen the team spirit and promote motivation, give the newly formed team a name. A memorable name such as "Customer Enthusiasm Team" creates a sense of togetherness and symbolizes a shared mission.

3. Kick-off and start (management task & teamwork)

In the kick-off meeting with the "customer enthusiasm team" and the management team, the target and future vision is presented to all members. The goals depend on the specified sales scenarios, such as acquiring new customers, increasing existing customer sales (repeat/up and cross-selling) or account-based marketing/selling. In this step, the team also defines the roles, tasks, responsibilities and the project plan and schedule.

Tip: Strengthen the team by creating freedom and delegating responsibility. This increases the feeling of appreciation, activates intrinsic motivation for a common goal and thus promotes productivity. Think of the classic approaches of leadership and responsibility for action.

4. Activities and measures (teamwork)

The new We-team of marketing & sales starts its activities based on the formulated goals, defined strategies, designed marketing and sales processes and the project plan. It begins by developing a strategy to achieve the objectives and defining the specific measures and activities in marketing and sales. These activities are planned together along the entire customer journey.

Tip: To ensure a common direction and promote open communication, "neutral" moderation and visualization of the topics mentioned is helpful. Especially at the beginning of the collaboration, this creates a common base and sets the course for successful teamwork.

5. Monitoring and adaptation (team and management task)

Activities are measured, optimized and success documented with the help of KPIs and milestones defined by the team. A steering committee regularly reviews and evaluates the results. In order to present and visualize the successes of the cross-functional team from marketing and sales as well as any other areas such as service or product management, the team creates corresponding dashboards together with management.

Tip: Think of this approach like the "Tour de France" with several stages and not as a one-day race. By dividing the project into stages, you make it easier to plan and implement the project, record continuous progress and remain flexible.

Conclusion

In order to forge a successful customer enthusiasm team from marketing and sales, the silo mentality in the departments must be broken down by bringing the experts from both areas together in a new self-image. By working closely together, the needs and wishes of customers can be better understood and placed at the center of all activities according to the guiding principle of customer centricity. In addition, working as a cross-departmental team promotes employee motivation and fun in the interaction with the customer. In this way, you create the basis for inspiring customers in the long term, promoting their success and winning them as fans of your company.

 

About Norbert Schuster

Norbert Schuster is a thought leader for digitalization in marketing and sales. He has built up and managed marketing and sales departments in the B2B sector for over 25 years. Today, as a consultant and managing director of strike2 GmbH, he supports companies in exploiting the potential of digitalization in marketing and sales in a targeted and practical manner. Norbert Schuster is the author and inventor of the Waterhole Strategy®, the Green Banana Effect® and several other renowned marketing and sales strategies.

About Marcus Bär

Marcus Bär is a member of the Executive Management Board and heads up CAS Software AG's XRM SmartCompanies, which are active in over 40 countries. In addition to managing sales and partner management, he advises companies on the introduction of CRM/XRM solutions and gives regular presentations on the topics of sales support, CRM introduction, expansion of existing CRM solutions, customer orientation and customer centricity. He is chairman of the CRM working group at Bitkom e.V. and also chairs the Digital Office steering committee, where he is particularly committed to the interests of SMEs.

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