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FSI Blog Series, Part II: Sales and Marketing Collaboration

FSI Blog Series, Part II: Sales and Marketing Collaboration

Post Author: Joe D365 |

Welcome to Part II of our blog series exploring the partnership that exists between HCL-PowerObjects, Microsoft, and Seismic – the world’s most powerful storytelling platform. Our three businesses together provide a unique set of partnership benefits for our customers that includes execution deployment, data analytics, and customized content.

This series focuses on the power of this triumvirate through the lens of the Financial Services Industry (FSI). Our first installment was devoted to Digital Selling. In today’s post, we’re looking at Sales and Marketing Collaboration. Enjoy!      

Sales and Marketing Collaboration

Let’s be honest: if you don’t instinctively know that your marketing and sales departments need to be in sync, your Financial Services organization probably isn’t very successful. Simply put, collaboration between these two teams is essential to achieving and sustaining success. To understand why it’s so critical, consider the customer journey:

It starts with Marketing – specifically lead generation, nurturing, and qualification. Next, Sales takes over as the customer journey includes the product/service consideration phase and ultimately the purchase stage. Then it’s back to Marketing for retention and advocacy. In other words, your sales and marketing departments own every step in the customer’s journey, so if they aren’t in lockstep with one another, the journey suffers.  

OK, so we’ve established that collaboration is important. The key question, of course, is how can you ensure continuity and collaboration across two departments that don’t always see eye to eye? Seismic has a great article that speaks to best practices for alignment across sales and marketing. And at HCL-PowerObjects, we think the most critical aspect of collaboration is consistency in messaging.

Consistent Messaging is Key

No kidding, right? It should go without saying that the customer needs to hear the same general message all throughout their journey, but you might be surprised how often this doesn’t happen. Think about it: both departments sit in a conference room and hammer out messaging they can all agree on. Marketing takes these marching orders and creates collateral that matches the agreed-upon messaging. But every salesperson is unique – they all have their own way of presenting and finessing the message based on their individual successes and failures. You don’t want to strip them of that freedom because their ability to finesse is what makes them good at sales. The problem is that the folks in Marketing never get to hear the actual pitches used by actual salespeople.

Let’s look at a hypothetical example:

At HCL-PowerObjects, our Sales and Marketing Departments agree that the versatile Microsoft Power Platform should be a component of every Dynamics 365 implementation. With that in mind, all our marketing collateral serves them up as a combo package. In other words, what prospects hear on the first half of their journey is that Dynamics 365 and Power Platform work together to deliver digital transformation.

Now, let’s say a salesperson hasn’t had much success selling Power Platform or isn’t comfortable talking about it, so it isn’t a part of the sales presentation. The prospective customer asks about it and our salesperson says, “Dynamics 365 stands on its own – there's no need to bring in Power Platform.”

OK, so that would never happen, of course, because everyone on the sales team at HCL-PowerObjects knows Power Platform is awesome, not to mention the fact that it’s not wrong to suggest that Dynamics 365 stands on its own. But that’s not the point. What’s happened here is that it we’ve given the appearance that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing – we’ve sown distrust in our capabilities and diminished confidence in our brand. In other words, we almost certainly lost the prospect.  

To remedy this, marketing and sales teams must establish and adhere to aligned go-to-market language. In Financial Services, that means alignment in terms of product descriptions, benefits, and costs, as well as the services provided. It starts by developing customer personas and then clearly articulating the journey. At HCL-PowerObjects, our go-to-market (GTM) teams are comprised of vertical experts from marketing, sales, delivery, support, and education – and they meet regularly to share ideas, learnings, and strategies. Each GTM team developed (and routinely revisits and tweaks as needed) an end-to-end messaging framework that informs our approach with prospects. By the way, Seismic is a terrific resource for businesses trying to build out that framework. The Seismic storytelling platform helps sellers get the right message, within the right content, to the right buyer, and at the right time within the customer journey.

Importantly, your leadership teams must be committed to the consistent delivery of that messaging framework. Without leadership’s buy-in, marketers and salespersons alike will, as mentioned earlier, naturally stray from the framework to find their own unique voice. And while that approach works nicely for the cold-calling and door-to-door salesmen of yesteryear, it is simply not a viable model when your pals in marketing have been busy nurturing your prospects to get them ready for the sales pitch. So, implement internal processes to ensure alignment and consistent collaboration across your Financial Services organization.

Conclusion and Next Steps

If your sales and marketing teams want to collaborate effectively, they must remain dedicated to alignment in messaging – it’s just that simple. But let’s face it: 2020 was anything but simple! Being forced to work remotely caused us to seek new ways of collaboration. In fact, Seismic blogged about remote team collaboration earlier this year. But whether you’re remote or face to face, collaboration is king!

Anyway, over the course of the next month, we will continue exploring the HCL-PowerObjects/Microsoft/Seismic partnership. Future topics in this 4-part series include personalization and staying agile. We hope you enjoy! 

By Joe D365
Joe D365 is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 superhero who runs on pure Dynamics adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe D365’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics 365 and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.

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