06:40 AM

Social Software Could Bridge Marketing & Sales Divide

I had an interesting conversation this morning with Liz Miller, VP of the Chief Marketing Officer Council. This organization has been studying the disconnect between sales and marketing within large corporations.

"Our studies have shown that within companies around the world, the sales and marketing departments are separate and don't work well together. They are often adversarial and hoard customer data," says Ms Miller.

The CMO Council has surveyed companies around the world and says this problem is found everywhere. "Companies aren't able to create a 360 degree view of the customer which means they can't up-sell or cross-sell, they are losing out on a lot of additional sales," she says.

The two organizations often operate completely independently of each other and although they use the same language, the words they use can have completely different meanings.

"We found that even a simple word such as 'lead' is understood differently by sales and marketing departments," says Ms Miller. "And the two departments have different calendars that don't match up with sales cycles or promotional programs."

The CMO Council has been conducting workshops to try and bridge the divide. And it is also recommending using social software within organizations. "If people can view each others blogs and share customer data then that helps to bring the two functions closer together and aligned to the same goals." Oracle is one of the companies that offers a social CRM component.

Social media sites, external to companies, provides sales and marketing teams with a lot of customer data but there is a need to identify the right type of data. "Companies get very excited because they can mine a lot of data from the Internet but that's not as good as finding the right data, and targeting the key influencers. Too often marketing just wants to make a big advertising buy in the hope of getting the attention of the right people but this doesn't work anymore. Customers are savvier and they rely more on peer recommendations."

Foremski's Take:

Company culture can be a big obstacle to removing the mismatch between sales and marketing departments. And sales tends to focus on individuals while marketing tends to deal with large groups of people, demographics , etc.

The promise of the Internet is to be able to market to individuals but that means a big change in the way marketing is done today. It also means marketing has to work a lot harder and understand data from many sources and buy multiple types of advertising to target smaller groups of people. That's a lot more work for marketing departments, which won't sit well with marketers.

More work from marketing to get more sales for the sales department. That's unlikely to bring the two groups closer together. But it'll be interesting to see if the CMO Council can help the two groups work better together. Maybe social software within the enterprise can go a long way in achieving those goals.

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CMO COUNCIL :: Scenarios and Solutions: Mapping the Traps and Sales Effectiveness Gaps