Common Gaps in Marketing & Sales Operations

Exec Summary@4x

Executive Summary

Sales and marketing teams are the most critical players in attracting more customers and closing more deals. Yet, a lot of times they aren’t aligned or working together, leading to broken sales funnels and dissatisfied customers. In this blog post, we've outlined the common sales and marketing gaps and how you can close those gaps to grow your business.

Sales and marketing teams are the most critical players in attracting more customers and closing more deals. However, when these two teams aren’t aligned and working together, it becomes more challenging to nurture customers through the sales funnel. Successful companies can identify the operational and relationship gaps between sales and marketing and bridge the two. When sales and marketing teams break down their silos, the business overall projects a more powerful brand, improves customer satisfaction, and boosts revenue.  

In the following article, we will examine the common sales and marketing gaps that lead to lost team time, dissatisfied customers, stunted growth, and low profits. We will also provide you with solutions on how to close these gaps and grow your business.  

Sales and Marketing Make Different Assumptions About Target Audience and the Customer Journey Without Data 

When sales and marketing teams don’t fully understand their target audience and the customer journey, they make assumptions. Guessing who the target audience is, how they want their information, and what they want to know results in disconnected advertising campaigns and sales funnels.  

To increase your revenues, you need to identify, connect with, and nurture a limited pool of prospects in a coordinated way between sales and marketing. That process begins with gathering data about your target audience and localizing that customer information in a central reservoir to provide all teams with a 360-degree view of the customer. Without this deep understanding and empathy with the customer, both sales and marketing lose. 

There are several ways to start building a common truth about who your target audience is, what problems they face, and how they want to receive communication. One way is to send marketers out with field sales reps to visit customers to conduct market research. Another way is to facilitate listening sessions, or focus groups, with customers to discuss their pain points and preferences. Alternatively, marketing can perform A/B testing on marketing content to determine which messages attract more customers. Sales can also help facilitate the knowledge gap by encouraging marketing people to build relationships with key accounts. The possibilities for collecting audience-shaping data in our tech-forward world are endless. 

Critical Questions for Reflection: 

  • How well do your sales and marketing teams understand current and future customers? 
  • Do you have a well-defined buyer’s journey and know the triggers that move them through that journey? 
  • Are your marketing and sales teams meeting customer goals on their buyer journeys, or are they pushing them through the funnel? 
  • Do your sales and marketing teams work together to attract and retain customers or do they work against each other? 

Aligning marketing and sales around a defined target audience and the customer experience is paramount to shortening the sales cycle. Without data-backed information on the target audience, both sales and marketing operate a ‘spray and pray’ tactic to attract and obtain prospective leads. 

Sales and Marketing Operate in Silos Without Defined Campaign Objectives and Plans 

Does the following scenario sound familiar? 

The customer says: ‘What is this company trying to sell? Their ads say one thing, their website content says another, and the sales rep says something opposite to both of them. Do they know who I am and what I need?’ 

Marketing says: I generated all of these great leads for sales, but they are not doing anything productive with them. I have no idea if the content I’m creating is meeting our buyer’s needs, let alone helping sales win deals.’ 

Sales say: ‘Our marketing teams are promoting a product that we aren’t even focused on trying to sell at the moment. Our teams are so disconnected. How am I supposed to hit my target with so few qualified leads?’ 

When marketing teams implement ad campaigns without sales consultation, a breakdown occurs in the customer journey through the sales funnel. To eliminate this gap, sales and marketing should work together to create a clear plan and schedule. Sales and marketing should have quarterly meetings to set objectives and define key results, better known as OKRs. During these meetings, key performance indicators (KPIs) should also be set to determine how the sales and marketing teams will measure the effectiveness of the ad campaigns in reaching sales targets. Marketing must then create a plan for every campaign they wish to complete and communicate with sales on both the content of the campaigns and the dates of the campaigns.  

Bringing sales and marketing together on campaign objectives and goals can help generate qualified leads and close deals. Marketing’s job is to generate qualified leads that are ready to buy. Sales can help this process by providing insights into what the buyer needs. In turn, marketing can create more compelling content that is personalized to the target audience.  Marketing can also nurture prospects with the right communications, delivered in the right place at the right time across the entire buyer journey. This will ensure that they’ll be ripe for that first conversation with sales when they do become active opportunities. 

Sales and Marketing Teams Don’t Have the Right Technical Support to Stay Connected to Each Other and Customers 

Ask yourself this question: Do your processes and technology support the buyer journey or disrupt it? 

If you don’t have the proper technical support or have too many tools, you will likely slow down or block the customer’s journey through the sales funnel. To facilitate a smoother journey for your customer, begin identifying the pain points in the lead to sales cycle. Next, choose one tool that can address multiple pain points. For example, perhaps your marketing and sales team are overwhelmed with customer inquiries. Messenger bots or remote sales support teams can respond to queries either instantly or in a more timely manner to solve this problem. Other tools that provide data and analytics can help you understand your target audience and track the buyer journey.  

Setting up essential tools can streamline the buyer journey process while freeing up time for both the sales and marketing teams to focus on what they do best. The right technical tools also help you track, analyze, and accurately interpret why leads click on an ad, progress through the funnel, stall, or convert. With this knowledge, sales and marketing teams can work together to create a favorable sales journey for customers and drive sales. When deciding on the right tools, there are a number of considerations you’ll need to work through based on your company’s needs and projected growth. (But, don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the key steps in choosing the right tools in our next article.)  

Looking beyond the customer, the right tools can provide both sales and marketing with robust data that can lead to better decisions. When you bring the sales and marketing teams together with the same data and analytics, the data, not assumptions, speaks volumes. Using relevant dashboards and analytics, you can help both teams see the big picture and start to identify clear areas for improvement. Sales is going to notice that all the strong response they have been getting from leads is tied to the brand awareness campaign the marketing team has been running. Marketing is going to see that sales need more leads from a different demographic for a certain product or service. Overall, the idea of coming together means breaking down silos between teams and bringing them together to work as one, connected team.  

Start Closing the Gaps in Your Sales and Marketing Process 

Sales and marketing teams need an aligned vision, a clear and robust set of goals, and the proper technical infrastructure to support collaboration. Without them, gaps will appear, and the sales funnel will falter, and so will your teams. 

Do you recognize some of these gaps in your sales and marketing process? If so, contact el Linke to help you discover how to bridge the gap and transform your business. We have proven experience in connecting sales and marketing teams through a shared set of practices that can shorten the lead to sales cycle, grow revenue, and increase profit. Get expert advice from a team that has leapt over the sales and marketing gaps to drive business growth. For more information, contact us today

We’ll partner with you to close the missing LinKes in your sales and marketing pipelines and provide value beyond traditional marketing frameworks.