If you're a salesperson or a marketer, you are probably privy to the disconnect between those two departments. Naturally, there are different objectives and cadences between the departments, leading to information silos that are not conducive collaboration.

In a study conducted by Harvard Business Journal, they found that CEOs tend to favor the sales group when setting budgets. One chief executive put it this way: "Why should I invest in more marketing when I can get better results by hiring more salespeople?" Sales are often seen as providing more tangible, measurable results that have a direct impact on the bottom line.

This conflict has been rampant in companies for years, but with new advancements in technology, companies are beginning realize what the true impact of marketing is on sales. Technology now permits businesses to better understand marketing performance based on real data. In other words, a CEO can allocate more of the budget towards marketing and project the results. Because marketing performance can be gauged in a way that is similar to the sales side of the business, there is a greater opportunity for collaboration.

Chief Marketer recently released a report asserting that the data analytics industry will grow between nine and 12% a year, with some sources predicting that the marketing technology industry will exceed 50 billion dollars in the USA within the next two years. Here are three technology-driven trends that will grow the marketing industry, further aligning sales and marketing.

Big Data

According to the Data-Driven Marketing Survey by Teradata, 50% of marketers agree that data is the most underutilized asset in their organizations, with less than 10% actually using the data they have in a systematic way.

"Sales has always sold to specific accounts, but marketing has struggled to understand their impact at an account level," says Nadim Hossain, CEO and CoFounder of BrightFunnel. "Now with the advancements in data analysis, marketers can identify and run the most effective account-specific tactics, just as sales has been doing for decades. Marketing to who you want to market to is not rocket science; but it requires data and new ways of measuring performance."

By using big data to identify performance trends by campaign and channel, marketers can evaluate KPIs, such as conversion rates, to help discover gaps and seize opportunities based on historical trends.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence may seem counter-intuitive to the relationships sales and marketing teams work so diligently to create, but leveraging AI allows salespeople and marketers to anticipate what the reader will find most interesting.

Machine learning helps businesses to take behavioral cues from their customers, not just collect stats on them. "Consumers have come to expect a certain level of personalization. AI allows enterprises to not only deliver on this expectation, but also penetrate target segments more effectively," says Hossain.

Internally, the more sales and marketing teams work together to leverage AI, the more successful their results will be. Collaboration throughout the sales funnel is vital, but especially the bottom of the funnel where the sales team works on closing the deal. Proper marketing helps customers become familiar with your product, engages and qualifies the leads and hands the sales department targeted, relevant materials they can use to secure the client.

From CIO to CMO

A survey of 243 CMOs and other marketing executives published in AdAge found that 57% do not establish their budgets according to ROI measures. 28% said they go with gut instinct and 7% said most of or all their spending decisions aren't based on any metrics at all.

As the budget for CMOs increase, Gartner predicts the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO by 2017, it's imperative the two departments work together. CMOs have become aware that to achieve the promise of closed-loop reporting, they must build the marketing operations muscle required to align people, process, and technology to deliver marketing ROI metrics.

Additionally, marketing and sales teams should meet frequently to agree on common messaging and discuss data throughout the entire marketing and sales process.

At the end of the day, both departments are working toward similar goals: higher conversion rates. Aberdeen Research found that companies successfully aligning marketing and sales experienced an average of 20% growth in annual revenue. Taking the time to align these two teams means overall increased company growth, more collaboration, and transparency to improve your bottom line.

Published on: Nov 4, 2016