When was the last time you thought about the structure of your organization and shuffled things around in an effort to maximize growth?
The answer to that question will likely vary dramatically based on the size of your organization, but regardless of the size of your business, the one thing that all businesses have in common is the goal of increasing revenue. Growth is always the goal because stagnation is never an option in an ever-growing and expanding economy.
What does the structure of your organization have to do with revenue growth?
While your organizational structure might not be the reason your company grows, proper structure can provide clarity and drive focused action that will result in better success.
In our latest Ebook on “Revenue Marketing,” we spend a lot of time talking about the idea that many marketing teams and professionals have lost sight of their company’s main objective: Revenue Growth.
Instead, marketers have become focused on vanity metrics like impressions, engagement, clicks and whatever KPI they can find to measure their efforts against. While none of that is necessarily bad, and often leads to revenue growth (as leads convert to sales), KPIs have become the primary goal for many marketing departments when they should be focused on results. The way to combat this dilemma is through an integrated approach to marketing and sales; both functions should be aligned (and be accountable to) the primary goal of revenue growth.
Why Marketing and Sales Aren’t Integrated
As businesses grow, they tend to require more defined roles and responsibilities because workload can become too daunting for an individual. The best example of this is an entrepreneur who builds a business that has grown to a point where they need to hire someone to take on part of their day-to-day responsibilities. Further down the road, this entrepreneur may hire an employee dedicated to marketing, then operations and eventually sales. Hiring people for specific roles and functions just makes sense, but it also results in complexity that requires effective communication and clarity of purpose.
Clarity of roles and responsibilities is a good thing but at some point, the two teams will begin struggling to communicate effectively. The sales feedback loop ceases to exist and quality of leads, close rate and customer satisfaction with the sales process all take a hit. What used to be a seamless hand-off of leads from marketing to sales becomes a messy and ineffective process. These issues shouldn’t necessarily be blamed on any individual or even team. Instead, we should understand how technology (the internet) has caused a lot of them and how we can improve our marketing and sales processes to overcome them.
Understanding the Root Cause
The internet has matured dramatically during the past couple decades and so did the buying habits and behaviors of consumers. Instead of following a more traditional sales funnel where the potential customer wanted to be personally “nurtured” throughout, today’s consumers want to research and educate themselves before ever talking to a real person. This is probably true for you as well. Think of the last time you purchased something online (both products and services)… you likely searched the internet for reviews and features before ever attempting to talk to an actual salesperson, if at all.
Before the internet, this would never be the case. Instead, you would have found the phone number (probably in a phone book) of a company selling a service you need, call them and ask them questions to be sure they provide the solution you are looking for. From there you would likely have to meet with someone in-person for a demo and figure out the logistics of implementation.
Today it is common for consumers to find a solution for the first time, research it, look up competitors, pay for it online and create an account (or download the software)… without ever talking to a real person. That entire buyer’s journey can happen in a matter of minutes.
Regardless of the business, a shift in consumer behavior as dramatic as the last decade will cause a lot of growing pains. Even if your business effectively modernized their sales and marketing tactics, it is likely that the two functions are not “integrated”.
How To Integrate Marketing and Sales
Integrated marketing and sales requires the following:
- Top-down alignment (identify the primary objective)
- A structure that facilitates communication and accountability
- Regular touch points to foster cyclical feedback between departments
- SMART goals and measurable KPIs to effectively evaluate performance
Integrating marketing and sales is much easier said than done because it is easy to understand at a high-level, but the issue is that success can be interpreted in many different ways. That is why, at OM Performance Marketers, we have coined the term “Revenue Marketing”.
Revenue Marketing is meant to give clarity of purpose to every action taken by the marketing team as an easy reminder the goal is to increase revenue. The sales team already knows that their goal is to sell and close deals, but that focus on revenue is often outside of marketing’s field of view when they’re focused on filling the CRM database with contact information.
Simply using a term is obviously not going to drastically change your entire organization though, so we also recommend rethinking your organizational chart to create a structure and systems that facilitate communication and enforce accountability. That is why we started this blog with the question, “When was the last time you thought about the structure of your organization and shuffled things around in an effort to maximize growth?”
Truly integrated marketing and sales requires ongoing intentional action, but a well thought out organizational structure will pay dividends by providing clarity to the marketing and sales teams.
Here is a simple example that we like to use:
*Read our Ebook for more insight into our recommended org structure
A Practical Takeaway
This entire blog post might sound easier said than done but I’ll leave you with a few action items that you can take immediately to empower your team to grow your business!
1. Perform An Audit
Don’t over-complicate this one. Do a simple audit of your current marketing and sales KPIs to understand the health of each team and identify any glaring problems. As stated earlier: the goal is not to blame any individual or team for the lack of success. Doing a simple audit is important preparation for your next action item.
2. Have A Candid Conversation
Hopefully this is already being done but you would be surprised by how much is assumed, especially by leaders. The goal of a candid conversation with your marketing and sales leaders is to bring them together, give them a single goal (revenue growth) and set the expectation that the performance of both functions will be measured against the same goal. This, of course, means that they need to truly integrate and align to find opportunities that will result in revenue growth.
3. Consider Organizational Changes
Changing your org structure might not be necessary or even possible but if a change is needed to integrate marketing and sales then it may be worth it. Either way, what is critical is ensuring a system of accountability is in place and that marketing and sales are working together and not playing the blame game.
The concept of Revenue Marketing is simple and, frankly, how most marketing professionals intend the function of marketing to be. However, the reality is that, in today’s world, marketing has become siloed away from sales. Sales is out there chasing leads that don’t want to be chased while the marketing team believes they are creating a CRM database goldmine.
A lack of communication and weak sales feedback loop can be fixed when marketing and sales are integrated and working together to achieve a single goal: Revenue Growth!