Why digital transformation is critical to aligning marketing and sales

Every time we try to change the status quo there will be roadblocks, hurdles and mounting pain. However, when it comes to aligning internal organizations in marketing and sales (and customer service), the battle can pay off enormously. But no organization or leadership should try to make these changes and move internal processes without paying attention to how to do it most effectively and efficiently – it's a no-brainer. For this reason, digital transformation is not only critical to successfully aligning marketing and sales, but should also be a major focus – then alignment becomes easier.

Digital transformation means better customer knowledge

At Adobe Experience Maker's live virtual event last month, Chris Parkin, Senior Director at Adobe, took us through “Redefining the Future with Digital Transformation”. In his presentation, he showed us how Adobe is adapting to new digital technologies and approaches and how other Adobe customers are doing too.

In his first point, he showed how the digital transformation enables a “deeper understanding of the customer” and discussed that in this way we can “identify certain customers and target group segments, understand behavior and anticipate measures”. This, in turn, enables us to “use data to generate actionable insights and improve customer results”.

What does this mean for the alignment of marketing and sales? First of all, we can better track customer journeys from (MQLs) to SQLs to SALs. This allows us to identify patterns and then make predictions that can help us conduct more coordinated activities, from creating website / digital sales funnels and email marketing campaigns to more precisely identifying the activities that lead to conversions in all phases lead the journey.

This makes the handover of a perspective between marketing and sales seamless. If we have the tools to measure what our prospects and customers are doing, what they might need, and what their intentions are, we can serve them more accurately and allocate resources and time from the appropriate department in a way that our teams can use not questioned in the competition. Instead, real-time digital touchpoints and customer insights can help us build a solid partnership as we work together towards common goals in conversions.

Digital transformation means precise provision of content

Another topic during the Experience Maker live event was content. Today more than ever, the focus is on how you serve potential customers and customers, present your company's knowledge and insights, and promote stronger customer relationships and trust.

However, it is not enough just to produce content. You may have a hypothesis about what your customers want and need. Above all, with digital transformation, you can not only know exactly what your customers are looking for, but also provide this content exactly when they need it.

In Chris' second point, he discussed "Agile Communications" for modern businesses, which underscores the need to "improve proactive, personalized and timely communications in line with the customer and employee context" based on segment, need and location to name a few. The results? "Increase employee engagement and customer loyalty."

Particularly in our current economy and given the constraints we face, the digital delivery of highly relevant and personalized content can affect or affect your success with a potential client or customer. This applies to all phases of the customer journey. It's not just marketing's job to create digital assets for lead generation and boosting sales when sales need increasingly accurate content to support customers throughout the decision-making process.

Digital tools like Marketo Engage help marketing and sales teams keep track of the content that has been made available to potential clients and customers. They also help set clear next steps, answer questions in a timely manner, and provide exceptional service even before the purchase is made. This in turn enables an internal alignment in a way where all employees support each other in customer-facing roles in order to enable the customer with useful, relevant and timely content.

Digital transformation means creating new ways of working

You've probably heard the phrase "unprecedented times" so much lately that you're tired of it. But it's one of the best ways to describe what we're going through together: A widespread fundamental change not just in the way we do business, but in the way we work. Most of us learn over time, adapt quickly, and find out what works and what doesn't through quick trial and error. And while we're busy finding the new norm in our own work lives, our customers are experiencing the same thing. The companies that are committed to digital transformation continue to be successful.

On another point from Chris, he described the "new ways of working" where we "need to use remote collaboration, workflows and meeting platforms". He also said we need to "use common tools to democratize data, publish content and use AI to scale".

When it comes to marketing and sales alignment, this becomes clear. Collaboration is essential to success, and gatekeeping, while it may have happened before, cannot exist. Organizations that are able to move all operations efficiently online can see an increase in communication channels when the usual personal, informal channels are not available. But maybe that's a good thing. We can see how the digital transformation of marketing and sales alignment enables a tighter ship: less information slips through the cracks, accountability is more difficult to manage, and unified systems and tools ensure everyone is on the same page.

While digital transformation is nothing new, our current era has forced many of us to accelerate adoption in ways we never expected. But instead of dreading the change or having difficulty adjusting, let's look at how it actually enables us to hit key internal milestones, especially when it comes to marketing and sales alignment.

Mathias Jonsson works for Exelement, a partner of Marketo Engage.

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