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Giving sales and marketing a single view of the customer

Customer-centric sales process results in a holistic view of the organisation's past, present and future customers, writes Gretchen Duhaime

The pressure to increase top-line revenue growth is uniting sales and marketing executives to focus resources on aligning their two groups. In October, Aberdeen Group surveyed over 250 companies to identify the strategies, capabilities and enablers that Best in Class (BIC) companies are using to improve sales and marketing alignment.

BIC companies achieved year-over-year improvement in key metrics in the top 20 percent and employ the best currently available practices, compared to the middle 50 percent (industry average) and the bottom 30 percent (laggards). The research reveals that BIC companies have implemented organisational processes that support automation technology adoption and allow sales and marketing to collaborate and achieve customer-centricity.

Both the sales and marketing groups realise they must improve their alignment to increase top-line revenue growth. Indeed, management can't just wish away the historical conflict and finger-pointing over unqualified and uncontacted leads. Lead management is at the forefront of both sales and marketing's attention. Even though BIC companies are already achieving lead conversion rates that are more than three times higher than laggards, the majority of the BIC (80 percent) have identified integrating lead qualification and measurement efforts between sales and marketing as a top priority.

The customer is the core of BIC companies' plans to alleviate the pressure of increasing top-line revenue. Eighty percent of the BIC rate lead qualification and measurement efforts between sales and marketing, compared to 55 percent of laggards.

BIC companies are aligning sales and marketing by leveraging technology to provide real-time insight into lead management. Additionally, the BIC have established organisational processes to ensure that each group's requirements and expectations are well-defined and understood. By focusing on the customer as their common ground and sharing information, BIC organisations are elevating their performance in key areas that ultimately drive top-line revenue.