Every time we try to change the status quo there will be obstacles, hurdles, and mounting pains. But when it comes to aligning internal marketing and sales (and customer service) organizations, the battle can pay off enormously. But no organization or leadership should try to make these changes and alter internal processes without considering how to do it most effectively and efficiently – it’s a piece of cake. Therefore, the digital transformation is not only crucial for a successful marketing and sales alignment, but should also be in the foreground – then the alignment is easier.
Digital transformation means better customer insights
At Adobe Experience Maker’s live virtual event last month, Chris Parkin, Senior Director at Adobe, took us through “Redefining the Future with Digital Transformation”. In his presentation, he showed us how Adobe is adapting to new digital technologies and approaches and how other Adobe customers are doing too.
In his first point he showed how the digital transformation enables a “deeper understanding of the customer” and discussed that we can “identify specific customers and target group segments, understand behavior and anticipate actions”. This, in turn, enables us to “use data to generate actionable insights and improve customer results”.
What does this mean for the alignment of marketing and sales? First of all, we can better track customer journeys from (MQLs) to SQLs to SALs. This allows us to spot patterns and then make predictions that can help us carry out more coordinated activities, from creating website / digital sales funnels and email marketing campaigns to more precisely identifying the activities involved at each stage Conversions lead to the trip.
This makes the handover of a prospect between marketing and sales seamless. If we have the tools to measure what our prospects and customers are doing, what they may need, and what their intentions are, we can serve them more accurately and allocate resources and time from the appropriate department in ways our teams cannot overwhelmed by the competition. Instead, real-time digital touchpoints and customer insights can help us nurture a more solid partnership as we work together towards common conversion goals.
Digital transformation means accurate content delivery
Another topic during the Experience Maker live event was content. Today more than ever, the focus is on how you look after prospects and customers, present your company’s knowledge and insights, and promote stronger customer relationships and trust.
But it is not enough just to produce content. You may have a hypothesis about what your customers want and need, but most importantly, digital transformation not only allows you to know exactly what your customers are looking for, it also helps you deliver that content exactly when they need it .
On Chris’s second point, he discussed “agile communication” for modern businesses, which underscores the need to increase “proactive, personalized, and timely communication that is customer and employee context oriented” based on segment, need and location in order to among other things a little. The results? “Increase employee engagement and customer loyalty.”
Especially in our current economy and with the restrictions we are confronted with, the digital provision of highly relevant and personalized content can determine or destroy your success with a prospect or customer, and this applies to all phases of the customer journey. It’s not just the job of marketing to create digital assets for lead generation and nurturing for sales when sales need to provide increasingly more accurate content to support customers throughout the decision-making process.
Digital tools like Marketo Engage help marketing and sales teams keep track of the content that has been shared with prospects and customers. They also help define clear next steps, answer questions in a timely manner, and provide exceptional service even before the purchase is made. This in turn enables an internal alignment in a way in which all employees in customer-centric roles support each other in order to support the customer with useful, relevant and up-to-date content.
Digital transformation means creating new ways of working
You’ve probably heard the phrase “unprecedented times” so much lately that you are tired of it. But it’s one of the best ways to describe what we’re going through together: A widespread fundamental change not just in the way we do business, but also in the way we work. Most of us learn as we walk, adapt spontaneously and find out what works and what doesn’t through quick trial and error. And while we’re busy finding the new norm in our own work lives, our customers are experiencing the same thing. The companies that are facing up to digital transformation are the ones that will continue to be successful.
On another point from Chris, he described the “new ways of working” where we “need to use remote collaboration, workflows and meeting platforms”. He also said we need to “use common tools to democratize data, publish content and use AI to scale”.
When it comes to aligning marketing and sales, this becomes very apparent. Collaboration is essential to success, and gatekeeping, although it has happened before, cannot exist. Organizations that are able to efficiently move all operations online may see an increase in communication channels when the usual personal, informal channels are not available. But maybe that’s a good thing. We see how the digital transformation of marketing and sales alignment enables tighter management: less information slips through the cracks, it is more difficult to be accountable, and uniform systems and tools ensure that everyone is on the same page.
While digital transformation is nothing new, our current era has forced many of us to accelerate adoption in ways we could never have expected. But instead of dreading change or struggling to adapt, let’s look at how it actually enables us to hit key internal milestones, especially when it comes to marketing and sales alignment.
Mathias Jonsson works for Exelement, a partner of Marketo Engage.