To create a seamless digital experience, customer-facing departments ought to be working together. That’s why the relationship between the sales director and the CMO should be cohesive, strong and transparent. Unfortunately, in many organisations this is not the case.

New touchpoints

Today’s best CMOs are truly digital, leveraging new touchpoints to move customers and prospects closer to purchase, and this means they’ve been able to move onto the revenue table. Sales teams often don’t know how to react to this. With what appears to be different goals colliding over the table, both sides feel disconnected and disengaged from each other.

Of course traditionally the departments do have their differences: sales departments move at a fast pace whereas marketing projects and objectives are often longer-term. Essentially this means that sales are focussed on meeting quarterly goals and marketing looks at the wider strategy. But today, are these discrepancies really applicable?

Today, we live in a world where the customer holds the reins. At their very core, sales and marketing continue to want the same thing: to make new customers, and keep existing ones. To do this means everyone fully understands the customer, their interactions with the brand to date, and the necessary steps to go on to provide them with the quality of service/experience they demand.

That’s why it is essential they work together and harmonise – to improve business performance and for the customer’s sake. The union of the two teams dramatically improves marketing ROI and sales productivity. More importantly, and a goal which does not differ from any other department, in any organisation, working together raises top-line growth.

Effective storytelling

The key challenge this alignment addresses is that customers don’t go on the same journey to purchase. Particularly in B2B, organisations are looking to target four, five, six decision-makers the tailored approach. As such, any companies looking at their customers as a single entity must bunk the habit.

Effective interactions with customers are now based on every last drop of data being shared and squeezed to inform the sales approach. For organisations recognising they have disjointed teams, the good news is that technology can help bridge this gap. Marketing automation brings transparency and equips the sales team with the knowledge of what the customer has already been furnished with. Knowing this, their experience moves on from the last interaction they have had with the organisation no matter what channel the communication was on.

Account-focused approach  

Account-based marketing (ABM) is becoming a well-known term in the marketing industry – especially for B2B marketers who have recognised the tool can bring together sales and marketing teams to engage key accounts in a highly-focused manner.

Account targeting is nothing massively new for marketing and sales teams but the technology which highlights to marketers to target the accounts that matter most and that drive the most revenue for the business is. Many of the point solutions available today have been stitched together or integrated with a lead-centric platform – neither of which offer a coordinated, scalable way to reach, engage, and manage accounts.

With the right ABM solution, teams are able to segment customers into different categories such as industry, company size, geographic location, and score them based on factors like firmographics, cumulative behaviours, or even predictive capabilities. This can happen within a single platform – with access to the data and database you use for traditional broad-based marketing.

Effectively used, marketers can provide account teams with the necessary information to discover, manage and analyse the most lucrative accounts. That way they can focus their efforts and budget accordingly.

Working together

Another key ABM capability is engaging the right people from high-value accounts at multiple touchpoints throughout their customer journey. This translates into interacting with key decision-makers from named accounts across any channel and device with the right message – from ads to email to your website, and on desktop to mobile, and beyond.

In order to do this, sales and marketing teams must come together to work in a more effective and coordinated way. The technology is now available to help bridge the gap between these two departments and build the foundations of an efficient, collaborative process. With these essentials in place, organisations can successfully execute an account-focused strategy with the right targets, tactics, and analytics.