Integrated Sales and Marketing – A need for the new age Startups
In a typical organizational setup, the Sales and marketing leaders deal with the processes and structures that were designed in isolation. However, this is not a limitation for startups. They have a unique opportunity to build an efficient and effective revenue engine by establishing alignment, right from the beginning, between these functions. The startups who aim to maximize their performance and fuelling revenue growth may follow an integrated approach, particularly the four-step scheme demarcated by Forrester: Strategize -> Plan & Design -> Execute -> Measure & Manage
The first phase is executed jointly by marketing and sales. Here the focus is on preparing the sales and marketing functions for revenue growth. The key is to have an aligned strategy on what the company will be, how the company will grow, how the company will reach the market, and a confirmation of the strategic fit of that plan with the offerings. Leaders must define the sales and marketing strategy, enabling the company to fulfill its growth strategy.
With active participation from Sales, the Marketing teams identify and prioritize target audiences, informed by routes to market, segments, and buyers. The focus turns to interpreting buyer insights and translating them into revenue-driving campaigns, programs, and tactics. Marketing teams should create a content plan to engage prospects and customers and enable direct and indirect sales. Sales leaders use the output from audience planning to create the most efficient and effective sales organizational structure and partnering strategy, informed by the go-to-market architecture.
The company should design processes to ensure that the interlock points in execution are frictionless, with clear roles, responsibilities, and shared accountability. Some interlock points include handoffs from marketing demand generation activities to sales, transfer of unqualified leads back to marketing, and utilization of marketing to nurture in-flight opportunities or customer post-sale relationships. During the execution phase, marketing focuses on how its work will be done to achieve the marketing plan. Sales focus on how the sales work will get done to achieve the sales plan. Sales leaders define the sales process to align it with the buyer’s journey and define the sales activities for each step in the process so that buyer needs can be met. Technology is used to automate activities and programs and supports the measurement and management of the revenue engine.
Effective measurement and management of the revenue engine require that sales and marketing leaders be aligned on the data they want to capture, the definitions of that data, and what source will be used to capture it. The leaders must agree on how the measurements will be consolidated into dashboards and what reporting cadence to use. Leaders must agree on assessing and acting on the measures they collect. Finally, leaders must ensure that technology solutions can support common definitions and integrate them to allow data to flow properly to support defined revenue engine processes.