However, automating these two organizations will be a major undertaking for large companies. There will be significant process, cultural, and technical challenges. But the benefits are self-evident: lower cost, higher efficiency and productivity, greater accountability, better performance, improved customer experience, and potentially shorter sales cycles.
The Need for Alignment
The 80/20 Rule and the 50/50 Rule: IDC research shows that up to 80% of the content marketing generates is not used by Sales, even though a lot of it is specifically created for channel and sales enablement. Additionally, customers say that Sales reps are insufficiently prepared for their initial meeting 50% of the time. Clearly a massive disconnect is at work.
IDC's Framework for Sales and Marketing automation is, therefore, focused on the tight alignment of key Sales and Marketing processes. This framework represents only those processes that must be coordinated (potentially integrated) between the two organizations. It is not meant to be a comprehensive map of all the processes in which each organization must engage to be successful – there are many activities on each side of the dynamic that do not have a corollary on the other. (IDC's Sales Advisory Service clients should reference IDC Doc. #224215)
Each high level process in Sales that has a counterpart in Marketing must share:
- A common set of definitions for inputs and outputs
- Proportional allocation of budget and resources based on overall business objectives
- Phase-appropriate performance metrics
- An integrated IT ecosystem
Sales and marketing automation efforts must be tightly coordinated across both organizations so that the customer experience and lead management processes are handled seamlessly by all parts of the infrastructure. Even if a marketing implementation will have no sales users and vice versa, the data definitions and flow will be critical for both organizations. IDC recommends that:
- Sales Operations [refer to Rise of the Sales Operations Function] and Marketing Operations meet regularly to plan, review, and asses automation projects, with both teams having senior level sponsorship.
- Marketing and sales need to be develop a set of pipeline definitions and processes for how leads and lead details will flow into the SFA/CRM environment.
- Sales needs to be diligent in making sure marketing is capturing the high priority prospects and the high priority details so that lead acceptance criteria is routinely fulfilled.
One of the key issues for automating sales and marketing is establishing a shared automation road map. Upcoming research from IDC will help you prioritize your plans based on business impact and implement best practices to be most successful.
Contributing author: Gerry Murray, Research Manager, IDC Executive Advisory Group