ZMI ALPHA:Why ‘growth software’ is the magic bullet for uniting sales and marketing teams

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ZMI ALPHA:Why ‘growth software’ is the magic bullet for uniting sales and marketing teams

One of the biggest frustrations of selling in the digital age is the misalignment between sales and marketing.

Sellers don’t know which marketing messages their prospects have already received, or which messages are going out to their prospects next. Marketers can measure opens and clicks, but they have no idea which campaigns are turning into actual sales. Both teams work in separate software tools, with different customer databases, pursuing goals that have little to do with one another.

These challenges have plagued B2B organizations for so long that most of us accept them as normal—just the cost of doing business. And that’s too bad, because the solution is incredibly simple: Your sales and marketing teams need to operate with the same information.

For that, they need growth software.

What Is Growth Software and How Does It Help?

Growth software is an emerging category of business software that combines CRM, sales automation and email marketing features into a single unified tool.

The growth software category began to emerge in 2014, when HubSpot added an integrated CRM product to their popular marketing automation platform. But due to the high cost of HubSpot and limitations of their sales features, competing growth software brands such as Nutshell, ActiveCampaign and Keap have stepped up in recent years to better serve the needs of small businesses.

Giving sellers and marketers a shared platform to manage all their customer outreach provides several key advantages:

1) Growth software establishes one source of truth for your customer relationships. Instead of having your contacts and communication histories spread across multiple databases, your entire team has a central location to view your complete relationship with each buyer. In practical terms, this ensures that your sales reps don’t go into sales conversations missing important context, and it allows your marketers to create highly targeted audience segments based on up-to-date customer data.

2) Growth software requires fewer tools and integrations to juggle. Every software platform your company uses has different passwords, different permissions and different user experiences, and switching between them steals time out of your day. With growth software, sellers and marketers don’t have to waste time figuring out how to make independent tools work together or determining which information is the right information.

And while software integrations are helpful, some business functions are so interdependent that they should naturally be operated from a single product. Imagine your email and calendar not being in the same tool, for example. Some things just make more sense working together under the same roof. You shouldn’t need more than one tool to nurture a customer through your sales funnel.

3) Growth software unites your sellers and marketers around the same goals. When sales and marketing are siloed into separate departments, they tend to focus on individual metrics that have less of an impact on the big picture. By providing shared tools and shared data, growth software encourages your entire team to collaborate in pursuit of the only goal that matters — revenue growth — instead of trying to boost email clicks, pageviews, and activity quotas.

4) Growth software shows you how your marketing efforts connect to sales outcomes. By helping you track individual customers back to the specific efforts that brought them in the door, you can focus your marketing resources on the channels and campaigns with the highest ROI.

Curing the ‘tension’ between sales and marketing

Because of these advantages, growth software can be the secret ingredient to get sales and marketing teams operating like collaborators, not competitors.

Any veteran B2B marketer has worked in at least one organization where the marketing and sales teams simply did not get along. It’s a common tension that stems from a disconnect between outcomes: If you’re “killing it” as a lead generator, but the pile of new leads you’re generating aren’t translating to more closed deals (and more commissions) for the sales reps, you’re not helping as much as you think you are.

“Any time you’re working from a different playbook, there’s going to be tension,” says Nutshell Co-Founder and Chairman Guy Suter. “It’s just natural when you have different success criteria for different groups of people…[but] if we’re operating out of the same tool and we’re measuring to the same results, it becomes so much easier to look across your marketing efforts and see which ones are actually working.”

Perhaps the biggest advantage of growth software is that it puts marketers and sellers on the same team. Marketers communicate at scale, and salespeople communicate person-to-person but they both work to drive revenue and grow your business. Today’s leading growth software solutions help them do that, without the need for expensive enterprise software or integration-juggling.

Sales and marketing software tools have had a good run, but the future will belong to unified growth software products that help sellers and marketers work from the same playbook, close more deals together and kill the tension once and for all.

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