As Sweden’s top SharpSpring-agency, we have used PieSync to integrate SharpSpring with various CRM systems. That’s why we were super excited when PieSync announced their native SharpSpring integration.
To celebrate this, we wanted to highlight some of the most useful automations we’ve built using PieSync and SharpSpring that help our customers’ sales and marketing teams align.
Benefits of Sales and Marketing alignment
Before Alignment (B.A.), our customers’ sales and marketing teams used to work like two separate companies. Different databases. Their own processes, not synced with what the other team was doing for the same customer. In the best case scenario, sales would export lists of leads that marketing could send a newsletter to, or invite to an event.
After Alignment (A.A.), our customers’ sales and marketing teams work with a single, coherent sales and marketing process. A contact doesn’t flow independently through one marketing process and a separate sales process, but through the entire buying cycle in a single sales- and marketing process.
What does this actually look like? Let’s introduce the four most useful sales and marketing alignment automations that we’ve built for our customers.
1. Stay on the same page using a single Lifecycle status
One of the most important aspects of sales and marketing alignment is to settle the status of a contact that both sales and marketing teams can agree on and work from.
In practice, this means a single status field that tells both sales and marketing where in the buyer’s journey a contact is in relation to your company. This field then forms the baseline of all other automations.
That’s why we always start by creating a field called: Lifecycle Stage.
You can use as many steps as you need, but we have found that the 4 steps below are a good foundation to start from:
- New Leads : Any lead that is still in the marketing system and not yet sent over to sales.
- Hot Leads : This is the first place a salesperson visits daily to see if there’s anything that needs attention. Any hot lead, whether new or old, falls into this view when they qualify as Hot from a marketing standpoint - meaning they’ve either amassed a high enough lead score or performed some interesting activity on the website or emails.
- Taken Leads : To separate the Hot Leads that are being handled from the ones that have not yet been handled, we created the Taken Leads view. Any lead that gets assigned to a salesperson falls into this view. In addition, each salesperson can create filters showing hot leads that are also assigned to themselves.
- Opportunities: Any time an opportunity is created, all leads belonging to that opportunity falls into this view. This is to notify Marketing that a contact is actively being engaged in a sales process. This allows marketing to align their marketing activities to avoid disturbing any ongoing sales process.
- Nurturing: Contacts that are not being actively worked on by sales. Marketing takes care of these with newsletters, campaigns and offers. As soon as they re-engage, the sync pops them back into the Hot Leads view.
Using the Lifecycle Stage to sync the general status of a lead has proven to be the heart of our sales and marketing alignment efforts, and several of the automations below make use of this field.
2. Automatically nurture leads and opportunities that haven’t been touched in 4 weeks
Stalled opportunities… One of the dreaded but common scenarios that every salesperson wants to avoid.
Typically, stalled opportunities gather dust until one day when somebody decides to do some clean-up. Typically, the cleanup process reveals several lost opportunities that could have been won if somebody had just followed up on time.
This may happen for several reasons. Most commonly, either the prospect is too busy to do anything just yet, or the salesperson doesn’t have a good way to follow up without being annoying.
Imagine if somebody could automatically nurture these opportunities for you, and let you know when they’re ready to be followed up?
With sales and marketing alignment, this is fully possible!
Any contact or opportunity that the contact belongs to, which haven’t been touched for 4 weeks will automatically set to Nurturing status.
Marketing uses the Nurturing status list as a trigger to send regular follow-ups and newsletters. Of course, these follow-ups are designed to be informative and targeting the specific interests that the lead has shown interest in using dynamic newsletter content. This keeps the prospect warm and detects when the prospect is ready to be followed up on. As soon as the prospect clicks or revisits the site, it is again set to Hot and relevant sales reps can follow up.
For sales, this is a great relief. They can follow up on contacts their gut instinct tells them to call, knowing that the rest will be taken care of by the system. This automation has been instrumental in both keeping a clean database, an accurate forecast, and ensured that no contact is ever lost due to limited time or lack of attention.
3. Adapt the marketing message to each individual sales process
Typically, the marketing department is “mass” and “outbound” focused. They push out campaigns with large lists with messaging based on what they want to promote, not based on each individual’s current status or need.
That all changes with sales and marketing alignment!
Using PieSync, we allow marketing to make use of the unique insights sales reps gather during a typical sales process. Any data that sales reps already gather can now enrich the marketing profile too. Marketing can use this information to send individualized messages with correct timing.
Want an example? Let’s say sales creates an opportunity and moves it to the “demo” stage. Marketing now switches from problem-focused content to product-focused content, with product videos and comparisons.
Even better, these messages are further customized by which Interest boxes sales have ticked in the CRM. The product videos marketing sends are now about those particular areas of interest.
Another example: Just had a sales call and found out that this prospect values great support? Just tick the box in the CRM, and the Marketing profile automatically adds the prospect to the Facebook ad campaign where you talk about the importance of customer support.
Marketing’s role suddenly switches from “handing over qualified leads” to “helping the rep close deals during the entire buyer’s journey”. Marketing and sales work collaboratively during the entire buying cycle to make the sale more effective.
4. Help the sales rep sharpen their message
The previous bullet showed how marketing can sharpen their message by getting information from sales. This bullet will instead talk about how marketing can send information that helps the sales rep sell more effectively.
Typically, sales reps follow up on leads based on what the lead has downloaded. But the first call can be awkward, with no information about where the prospect came from, what they have already looked at, and why they are actually interested in that particular document.
By enriching the CRM contact profile with marketing data, the sales rep can get the context to help them sharpen their message. They will have better calls and make better decisions about how to handle each lead.
Example of a SharpSpring-enriched contact profile in Microsoft Dynamics
For example, did the lead click on a social media ad targeting a particular area of interest? Did they land on a blog post that talks about a particular problem? Or did they click an Adwords campaign that targets a particular competitor?
And what did they do on the website before finding that document and filling out that form?
This is all very useful information that helps the sales rep decide if the new contact should be followed up on manually with an email, LinkedIn message or call, or if it should be nurtured through an automated drip campaign. Ultimately, it helps the salesperson get better conversations with the right people.
In our experience, most companies have sales and marketing teams that simply don’t talk to each other in any meaningful way. Marketing sends newsletters, invites to events, and in the best case creates leads that they send to sales.
Often, the databases between the sales and marketing systems are separate too. A contact may exist in both (often with different and conflicting data), or only in one of the systems. CSV-files are sent back and forth to create lists for various campaigns, such as event invites and follow-ups.
True sales and marketing alignment requires a system setup where the marketing and sales tool share data between each other, and where actions in one can trigger automations and segmentation in the other. This will allow you to create a seamless sales and marketing process, rather than two disjointed processes that don’t talk to each other. Ultimately, that will result in a better customer journey, and a more efficient sales process that produces more closed deals.