Why Integrating Marketing and Sales is Essential to Success

Lisa Fiondella

October 07, 2015

Humans are born with brains. At least most of us like to think we are … that is until some of us get behind the wheel of a car.

The human brain is meant to reason and make decisions. Reasoning is our capacity for taking in information, consciously making sense of things, applying logic, establishing and verifying facts, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, beliefs and actions based on new or existing data.

Predictive analytics, as it turns out, is a lot like reasoning. There are both inputs and outputs.

Independent and dependent variables and math processes are associated with the former, while scores that rank-order expected outcomes drive the latter.

Like reasoning, predictive analytics can serve as a kind of “output messaging” that makes sense of, prioritizes, and directs multiple parts of a business, including marketing and sales. And, when applied successfully, is part of the glue that holds together an integrated, customer-centric, and profitable marketing and selling organization.

Pretty basic, right? Who doesn’t know that? My answer – it depends.

What goes up must come down … at least to some degree

Vertically oriented organizations are one of today’s biggest impediments to increasing customer satisfaction, revenue, and profits. Working in silos often means everyone is entrenched in their own turf, working independently and chasing individual goals. The preferred orientation, at least for marketing and sales, is horizontal, using process-driven operations that help break down barriers to communication, innovation, and collaboration. This helps organize the company around its most precious commodity – your customers. And, invariably, deliver award winning service.

When you integrate marketing and sales, you align the customer-facing, revenue, and profit-oriented segments of your business. They become a cohesive discipline rather than separate functions, and represent a combination of strategy, process, and people. With corporate goals set, and a customer-centric marketing and sales organization in place, you can focus your entire revenue generating team on new client acquisition, cross-selling, retention, customer satisfaction, customer profitability, and overall revenue and profit.

How do I know this is achievable? Because I did it while serving as Chief Customer Officer at a Fortune 500 company. Our division achieved a 40% increase in sales productivity within just 2 years, and a year-over-year compound annual revenue growth of 25% in the same time period. When executed correctly, sales and marketing integration produces great growth results.

All for one and one for all

Working as a team, sales and marketing professionals find ways to help bring in new clients, upsell and cross-sell existing ones, develop market strategies, innovate new product solutions, and increase lead generation. How? By doing something very simple. They start sharing information about current and prospective customer behaviors, actions, and experiences, and find solutions together to the challenges that impede growth.

After applying this approach, barriers to communication and collaboration are torn down. Companies get new products to market faster and cheaper. And, because of that, customer satisfaction increases as the experience improves … for everyone.

It’s what I call a no-brainer.