We’re a company that describes itself primarily as a marketing agency, so you would think we’d work closest with the marketers in any organization.
Or should I say, not entirely true. We need to talk to the sales team just as much as we need to talk to the marketing team. If a potential client won’t give us access to their sales team, that’s a red flag.
We know that when companies hire us, they’re not just looking for “marketing.” They want to drive revenue, growth, and business success. We also know that the skills needed to generate revenue and impact results are different today. Sales and marketing alignment is more important than ever; in fact, the lines are becoming increasingly blurred.
It’s not about sales. It’s not about marketing.
It’s about the entire customer journey.
If your organization hasn’t already realized this (and implemented a strategy for working together in this new world), here are 3 pieces of evidence that revenue generation teams have replaced the siloed sales and marketing departments of the past.
The rise of the chief revenue officer
As Salesforce points out, the chief revenue officer (CRO) position was originally created in Silicon Valley to capitalize on new revenue opportunities from software products. While this role got its start at hyper-growth startups, CROs can now be found in many types of organizations.
In 2018, LinkedIn saw a 73% increase in Chief Revenue Officer titles. The rise of this title indicates that marketing and sales functions are being increasingly combined. This shift represents a new, holistic approach to revenue growth that more and more companies are adopting.
Now, does this mean you need to fire your marketing and sales managers and hire a CRO? Probably not. CROs are still (largely) seen at startups in high-growth mode. But the overall trend points toward even deeper sales and marketing alignment, where the accountability for revenue generation falls on both teams.
From sales funnel to customer experience
Traditionally, marketing was responsible for creating awareness. They were the ones who educated people about what the company did and why they did it. They connected with key audiences.
Once prospects were in, it was up to sales to bring them through the rest of the buying funnel.
But then, things got more complex. These days, it’s about so much more than the “funnel.” It’s about creating a remarkable customer experience no matter where someone is in their lifecycle with your company, from awareness-stage leads to longtime customers.
It’s now clear that marketing can be accountable for both top- and bottom-line impact, while sales can have an impact on a customer’s overall experience with your company. Both functions are coming full circle! Marketing and sales teams may fulfill different tasks, but their reasons for being are aligned.
Technology is making things easier—and more complex
Automation, A.I., and data-driven CRMs...being tech-savvy is a requirement for success in any marketing or sales role today.
With the huge amount of data and analytics available, it’s critical that marketing and sales get on the same page. Both teams need to access, understand, and use the data and technology to analyze results and drive growth.
The insights from all of this data can’t be siloed to one “department” in the age of revenue generation teams. It’s the responsibility of both marketing and sales to keep the data clean, accurate, and up-to-date so it can be used to create goals and action plans everyone can be responsible for executing.
How to start building your revenue generation team today
If your marketing and sales teams are barely on speaking terms today, it might seem daunting to restructure into a cohesive revenue generation team.
Don’t worry—you don’t actually need to “replace” your marketing and sales teams. But there are some changes you can make to create the foundation for a super-aligned team that works together to drive revenue growth.
Develop an SLA
Service level agreements (SLA) hold each team accountable to the other. This agreement details marketing goals, like number of leads or revenue pipeline; and the sales activities that'll follow and support them, like engaging leads that were qualified by the marketing team. Learn how to create an SLA right here.
Schedule regular revenue generation meetings
Connect. Share wins and challenges. You’re all part of the revenue generation team, and you’re all integral to the customer experience. Business-critical metrics should be known and understood by all, so regular meetings where you look at the data together are key to opening the lines of communication.
Hire for the right skills
If you’re serious about revenue generation, you may need to rethink the way you hire for sales and marketing teams. Consider the ways a hybrid team member could work for you—someone who’s tech-savvy, lives and breathes in CRMs, is data-driven, and can bridge the gap between marketing and sales.
Companies are rethinking the ways their marketing and sales departments interact, all with the goal of creating a cohesive revenue-generating team. In order for that to happen, the two sides need to come together.
This year, take a few lessons from the high-growth startups who are hiring CROs—focus on unifying marketing and sales to drive growth, and get united around shared a goal: creating the most remarkable experience possible for your customers.