It’s been said that the true test of any marriage is to pilot a canoe together. It’s the ultimate proving ground for communication, collaboration, and the ability for a pair to rise above unexpected obstacles. It can take years to convince a significant other that turning involves paddling only on the opposite side from the direction that you want to go, rather than dragging the oar and losing all momentum… But we don’t need to get into that. 

Sales and marketing sit in the same canoe together, and they want to move toward the same goal. But sometimes they’re sitting facing opposite directions. And as each team pulls their oars toward what they see as ‘forward’, they can actually be fighting against the progress of the other. It’s a struggle that leads nowhere, with a lot of wasted energy.  

Reasons for righting the ship

The lack of communication between sales and marketing is a common issue in business, even more so in the fast-paced world of fintech. Siloed departments and analytics result in a fragmented approach to strategy and execution. According to a recent study by Boston Consulting Group, 65% of executives identified ineffective communication as the most significant obstacle to achieving strategic objectives.1 

Without proper alignment and communication between sales and marketing departments, you can expect duplicated efforts, contradictory messaging, strategies and budgets based on incomplete attribution, missed opportunities for revenue generation… and a whole lot of finger pointing as the canoe spins in a circle. 

Why is this so often the case? Typically, sales and marketing are viewed as distinct functions with separate responsibilities and objectives — even though they effectively serve the same purpose of growth and revenue generation. So, these two teams are often incentivized based on different metrics and KPIs, creating divergent priorities and goals. 

Sales and marketing teams also typically use different tools, platforms, and technologies to support their respective functions. Marketing teams may utilize marketing automation software, CRM systems, and analytics platforms, while sales teams might rely on sales enablement tools, customer databases, and prospecting software. This technology divide can create barriers to data sharing and effective collaboration.

Teams that don’t play well together will miss out on opportunities and struggle to close deals — usually without ever really knowing why. And that’s just frustrating. A recent study by McKinsey estimates that companies lose up to 20-30% of their revenue annually due to inefficiencies stemming from poor collaboration.2 

And these missed opportunities can pose a serious threat to fintech companies’ competitiveness and long-term viability. Failure to capitalize on market trends or address customer or prospect needs in a timely manner can result in lost market share and diminished brand relevance. And inconsistencies in messaging across sales and marketing touchpoints can result in bad brand perceptions and a disjointed customer experience, leading to dropped revenue.

The protracted sales cycle most fintech companies endure makes the need for open communication even more important. Fintech solutions typically involve significant financial investments and have far-reaching implications for organizations. With evolving regulatory compliance, individualized integration complexities, and drawn out reviews with extremely risk-averse stakeholders, fintech companies can experience sales cycles ranging anywhere from 10 to 24 months. And fintech marketers can’t wait until the end of that cycle to determine marketing performance; they need sales insights to determine what is working, what needs to be adjusted, and where potential clients could be falling off.

See how ENV helped NMI build an enhanced view of sales and marketing performance for a 53% increase in MQLs and 3X closed/won opportunities.

Rowing against the current: Identifying communication problems

Gartner released a study that claimed by the end of 2023, only 25% of organizations will have integrated marketing, sales, and customer experience. That’s a pretty disappointing estimate for such a known issue. But the low percentage really speaks to how difficult it can be to overcome interdepartmental communication barriers.

Collaborative thinking needs to be woven into the corporate culture. Leaders must encourage open communication, cross-functional teamwork, and knowledge sharing. Defining common goals and objectives — and determining a unified source of truth — is essential for ensuring that sales, marketing, and even product teams are working toward the same outcomes. By aligning data, goals, and incentives across departments, fintech organizations can create a shared sense of purpose and direction.

“Are we really up S***’s Creek?”

Here are some questions that you can ask to determine the health of your teams’ collaboration and communication.  

  • Are sales and marketing goals aligned, and does each team understand how their efforts contribute to overall business objectives?
  • How frequently do sales and marketing teams meet to discuss strategies, share insights, and provide feedback to each other?
  • Do sales representatives provide feedback to marketing on the quality and relevance of leads generated, and does marketing adjust their strategies accordingly?
  • Does sales often create their own collateral? Are these assets developed in collaboration with marketing, and do they reflect the messaging and branding established by marketing?
  • How do sales and marketing teams share information about customer preferences, pain points, and objections?
  • Are sales teams equipped with the necessary marketing materials and resources to support their sales efforts, and does marketing solicit feedback on their effectiveness?
  • How do sales and marketing teams track and measure the success of joint initiatives, such as marketing campaigns targeting specific buyer personas or industries?
  • Are there established processes for lead handoff from marketing to sales, and is there clarity on marketing qualified lead (MQL) and sales qualified lead (SQL) criteria?
  • Do sales and marketing teams participate in any joint training sessions or workshops to improve collaboration and alignment?
  • How do sales and marketing teams use technology and tools to facilitate communication and collaboration, such as CRM systems or shared dashboards?
  • Are there designated points of contact or liaisons between sales and marketing teams to address questions, concerns, or issues that arise?
  • Do sales and marketing teams celebrate shared successes and milestones together, fostering a culture of collaboration and teamwork?

All hands on deck!

Sales wants higher quality, warmer leads. Marketing wants to know why sales aren’t closing. To foster collaboration and alignment across departments, everyone needs to stop pointing fingers and get on the same page. Establishing clear communication channels is essential for facilitating information sharing. Regular meetings, shared documents, and collaborative tools such as project management software can help break down silos and promote transparency.

Integrated feedback mechanisms are crucial for closing the loop between sales, marketing, and product teams. By collecting and acting on feedback from customers, sales reps, and marketing campaigns, all teams can gain valuable insights into leads and customer habits, needs, and preferences. 

If the entire organization cannot be moved to a single CRM, then sharing data across a data lake or warehouse is critical — and profitable. When sales reps use historical and industry insights during customer engagements with access to recommendation logic, sales grow and customer satisfaction increases. The software will matter less than shared data that can be used both to create and manage content, as well as give reps access to data-driven insights designed to boost customer engagement and sales.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have the potential to revolutionize communication and collaboration within fintech organizations. Shared AI-powered tools can aggregate and analyze vast amounts of data to uncover insights, identify trends, and predict customer behavior with unprecedented accuracy. 

Predictive analytics is another valuable tool for fintech organizations looking to leverage data-driven insights for strategic decision-making. By analyzing historical data and identifying patterns, predictive analytics can help anticipate market trends, identify emerging opportunities, and even mitigate risks. 

Generative AI offers unprecedented opportunities for fintech organizations to streamline communication, improve collaboration, and enhance customer experiences. By embracing AI and automation, companies can gain a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving market landscape.

Check out Unchained, ENV’s artificially intelligent response to organizational inefficiencies.

The agency’s role in uniting departments

A 2023 Gartner survey revealed “the most effective tactic to align sales and marketing teams is to create a liaison role that spans both functions.”3

Working with an agency can provide the structure needed to foster better internal communication. Weekly agency meetings provide opportunities for sales and marketing teams to take stock, share insights, provide feedback, and align on priorities, strengthening collaboration over time.

Some agencies leverage data-driven insights and analytics to inform sales and marketing strategies. By analyzing performance metrics and customer data, agencies can provide valuable guidance that helps both teams refine their approaches and make more data-driven decisions, fostering collaboration based on objective evidence.

To move beyond frontend analytics, your agency should work with sales and IT to access your organization’s CRM and reporting data. Vanity metrics, such as website traffic, social likes, and click-through rates (CTR), might give stakeholders warm fuzzies, but they don’t necessarily provide meaningful insights into business performance or contribute directly to bottom-line results. It’s essential to balance these frontend KPIs with more meaningful indicators of success, such as conversion rates, customer acquisition cost, and lifetime value.

Your agency can then facilitate a feedback loop between sales and marketing teams, providing valuable insights and recommendations based on their external perspective and industry expertise. Acting as interdepartmental liaison, your agency can help identify areas for improvement and foster continuous growth.

The ENV approach

If you’re working with an agency that is responsible for executing your full-funnel inbound marketing and they’re not banging the table on cross-team integration… well, that’s a big problem. You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and that can be very expensive.  

ENV has established a full cross-team workflow that outlines the necessary dependencies for developing a successful reporting framework. In the initial discovery phase of this onboarding process, our primary focus is identifying and understanding our client’s objectives, like revenue generation, enhancing company valuation, boosting lead generation, improving profitability, or a combination of metrics. 

With access to our client’s technology infrastructure — from data lakes to CRM systems and call centers — our data and analytics team aggregates and stitches together disparate data sources to provide a comprehensive view of campaign performance and lead attribution. And being able to identify and read insights into customer behavior, market trends, and performance promotes enhanced decision making and better ROI.   

Want to learn more about the value of integrating sales and marketing efforts? Let’s get in touch.

 

1Boston Consulting Group. The CEO Imperative: How C-suite Collaboration Drives Growth. https://www.bcg.com/publications/2018/business-technology-digital-strategy-ceo-imperative-how-c-suite-collaboration-drives-growth

2McKinsey & Company. Organizational Health Index. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/organizational-health-index

3Gartner. The Sales & Marketing Relationship in 2023. https://www.gartner.com/peer-community/oneminuteinsights/sales-marketing-relationship-ciy 

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