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Top-Shelf Tip No. 206:

"Everyone lives by selling something."

Robert Louis Stevenson

What Integration Really Looks Like, Part 1

I’m at DreamForce this week—the mega conference where 140,000-plus attendees converge to learn about the technology and tools that help organizations to integrate sales and marketing and build a more personalized, engaged and effective—and profitable—relationship with the customer. And throughout the conversations, one thing is apparent: these two disciplines are still treated with separate goals and measurements. However, technology and other tools are pulling them closer and closer.

Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today will share six strategies for sales and marketing integration, identified by business professor Christine Moorman, who is a frequent contributor to Forbes.

Design marketing and sales responsibilities around the customer buying process.

Moorman says that marketing and sales should be organized around the steps that the customer goes through to become aware of, build knowledge about, form buying intentions and ultimately purchase the company’s products and/or services. Outline these steps and then assign marketing and sales responsibilities at each stage. This alignment allows both disciplines to work together at each stage of the customer journey, and provides support and momentum for progressing the customer through each phase of the sales cycle.

Create a unified focus on the most valuable customers.

Another miss in communication between marketing and sales is that they do not join forces to focus their attention on the most valuable customers, according to Moorman. Sales must meet quotas and revenue goals. If these goals aren’t met through business from what are considered the most valuable accounts, then the pipeline doesn’t have the right type of potential customers. Marketing can help identify these customers and build the right tools for engagement to help sales close the deals. A joint focus on the most valuable customers can go a long way toward unifying these two disciplines.

Organize around the customer, not the function.

Speaking of a unified focus on the customer, how do you accomplish this? Moorman says to start by creating customer groups, not product groups. This puts marketing and sales together into groups to serve segments of customers. So instead of having a Solutions A division and a Solutions B division, you organize them by segments, such as hotels and travel agencies, healthcare providers and payers, or corporate brand managers and nonprofits. This aligns all efforts to better serve the customer and limits turf wars.

Ready for some more ways to align sales and marketing? Read PCT tomorrow.

Source: Christine Moorman is the T. Austin Finch Sr. professor of business administration of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. She is also the co-author of the book, Strategy from the Outside In: Profiting from Customer Value , awarded the 2011 Berry Book prize for the best book in the field of marketing. She is also founder and director of The CMO Survey (www.cmosurvey.org), which collects and disseminates the opinions of top marketers in order to predict the future of markets, track market excellence, and improve the value of marketing to companies and to society.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson


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