Whether your organization is a startup or a mature business, the goals of Marketing and Sales teams are essentially the same — expand pipeline and grow revenue. To help drive these objectives, businesses need to investigate their processes and adopt appropriate technologies that accelerate and provide greater visibility into these processes.
During an episode of the Smash the Funnel podcast, host Mike Liberman (Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2 Marketing) and Rashmi Vittal (Chief Marketing Officer at Conversica) discuss a few of the challenges — and opportunities — facing Marketing and Sales teams.
Below are a few takeaways from their conversation including tips for Marketers and Sales leaders looking to build smarter processes and better cohesion for their teams.
The Challenges Facing Marketing and Sales Teams
There are a number of challenges facing Marketing and Sales teams that, if not properly addressed, can stymie revenue generation and frustrate employees. Here are a few examples that Marketers and Salespeople need to be aware of.
Lack of alignment between Marketing and Sales: Ask yourself, how good is the relationship between your Marketing and Sales teams today and how could it be better? Research conducted by Conversica finds that Marketers and Salespeople want to have a good relationship with one another, but this is often eroded by a mismatch in expectations. For example, Marketing sometimes assumes Sales isn’t following up with leads fast enough or often enough, while Sales thinks Marketing is sending over bad leads or too few leads.
Need for greater visibility into Sales: Sales leaders (and Marketers to some extent) want improved visibility into leads outreach. Are these leads being worked effectively? Are they good leads, hot leads, bad leads, or at-risk? Without the proper visibility, organizations can only guess at what’s really going on.
Failing to follow up with each and every lead: A shocking 77 percent of leads lack thorough follow-up. This includes leads who were never touched as well as leads that were touched only once, lost in the shuffle or ignored.
Lead follow-up is tedious and time-consuming: Even if your Sales team is touching every lead, the truth of the matter is that this might not be enough. The optimal number of touches per lead is between five and eight. However, most Salespeople give up after just two attempts. And who can blame them? Nobody wants to follow up with an unresponsive lead over and over again. Unfortunately, this means that some Sales-ready leads are missed due to a lack of persistence.
Need for greater visibility into the customer journey: Marketers and Salespeople need to see where people are converting or dropping off so they can better adjust their strategies moving forward.
Quotas go up every year, even if headcount doesn’t: Marketers and Salespeople often run into the directive to “do more, with less.” Depending on the situation, this may mean that Salespeople need to close more deals with less staff. If this is the case, then Sales teams cannot simply throw more people at a problem. Rather, they need to find a way to elevate more Sales-ready leads from their existing lead pools.
At first glance, these challenges seem to pile up. How can you ever tackle all these issues? Fortunately, many of these matters overlap each other which means that simple changes in one area trickle through to others.
How to Improve Sales Efficiency & Marketing Efficiency
Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the challenges facing Marketing and Sales teams, it’s time to briefly examine some of the solutions.
Better alignment between Marketing and Sales: Organizations of all sizes need to better align their Marketing and Sales teams. Despite internal tensions, these teams are working towards the same goal. So, it may help to periodically loop both teams into planning meetings where Marketers and Salespeople can discuss what they need, what issues they are running into, and what ideas they have for improvement.
Better lead management: Many organizations have an excess of incoming leads, yet still fail to reach their target number of closed/won deals. To remedy this situation, organizations tend to push on Marketing to generate more leads for Sales. But is this really the best strategy?
The truth of the matter is that you don’t need more leads. What you really need is a way to better identify Sales-ready leads for your Sales reps to convert.
Adopting the right mar-tech and sales-tech solutions: To help reach these goals, organizations leverage mar-tech and sales-tech tools. According to Forrester, U.S. Marketers will increase investments in the tools 27 percent over the next few years; ultimately resulting in $122 billion in spending by 2022.
Businesses who properly leverage digital programs benefit from greater visibility into their processes, their funnel and the customer journey. This knowledge includes sticking points along the customer journey which need to be remedied.
Hiring an Intelligent Virtual Assistant: The vast majority of companies (84 percent) know they need to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a competitive advantage, but less than 30 percent have actually implemented AI. Reasons for the lag in adoption include AI’s perceived complexity, cost or even threats to employment. Truth be told, these worries are overblown.
AI solutions, like those offered by Conversica, are affordable, easy to deploy and augment team rather than replace them. How does Conversica help Marketing and Sales teams?
Increasing Sales & Marketing Efficiency with Conversational AI
More people are beginning to understand how AI is a collaborative technology that will help people do their jobs. For example, the Conversica Sales AI Assistant can take on many of the repetitive, low-value tasks typically handled by your employees (such as a personalized, first-touch emails with leads) so they can focus on more rewarding tasks (such as building relationships and closing deals with prospects). The result is 100-percent lead coverage, ensuring that no lead is left behind.
Better still, Sales AI Assistants are polite and persistent. Whereas a Sales rep might only reach out to a lead once or twice before giving up, the Sales AI Assistant will reach out as many times as necessary in order to determine intent. Leads that express they are Sales-ready are handed over to a Salesperson by the Conversica AI solution, while those that aren’t ready for that conversation are put into a nurture cycle.
The simple truth is that AI does a better job with repetitive routine outreach than Sales reps do. By taking on these redundant duties, the Sales AI Assistant frees up Sales reps to focus their time and energy on higher-value tasks such as building relationships with prospects and closing deals.
Intelligent Virtual Assistants provide similar support for Marketing, Customer Success, Automotive Sales and Automotive Service teams, as well as College Admissions. In this way, Conversica AI Assistants help drive revenue-generating activities such as driving leads over the finish line or increasing customer retention.
For a deep dive into these tips and others, listen to the Smashing The Funnel podcast episode titled “Why Driving Efficiencies And Adding Process Improvements To Sales And Marketing Produces Revenue Growth”
Or if you want to see the Conversica Sales AI Assistant first hand, Request a Demo today!