• As a marketer, you understand your sales and customer relations departments play a role in your team’s success, but you may not consider how well your tools are working together.
  • “So many systems have emerged, and they’re so good within their own niche — within that siloed area … but we’ve lost that integration,” says Pete Gillett, CEO of Zuant and a CRM pro.
  • Integrating your systems might not be as difficult as you think. It’s all about identifying which tools work best for each team, then finding a cheerleader (with technical know-how) who can help link all these systems up across departments.

Unless you’re a big tech-stack nerd (hey, no shame), then you probably don’t think about your technology systems as part of your B2B sales & marketing success. As long as they’re doing what you need them to do, you’re good, right?

Well, not exactly.

Your marketing, sales, and customer relationship management (CRM) tools need to work together effectively. If they don’t, you could run into data inaccuracies, productivity issues, or limited B2B sales & marketing success — or all the above.

“The larger the company, the harder it is to integrate these systems,” explains Pete Gillett, CEO of Zuant, a lead capture app for sales, events, and marketing teams. “It’s not really worth having a CRM system or any of the other systems unless you get this integration done.”

Yeah, you could say Pete has some opinions on this topic. After all, he’s been a pioneer in database marketing since the late ’70s. In the ’90s, he created the world’s first web-based CRM system. Fast forward, and he’s been voted one of the 40 most inspiring people in sales lead management. Basically, he knows his stuff.

Pete joined The B2B Mix Show podcast to talk about the importance of integrating all your systems. (Hint: This doesn’t require your company to ditch all its software and find a one-stop-shop solution.)

The problem: Not enough companies integrate their marketing, sales, and CRM systems for B2B sales & marketing success

man confused by lack of marketing & sales software integration

As a marketer, you’re probably primarily focused on your team’s marketing efforts. Totally valid. However, you also understand the folks over in sales and customer relations play a large role in your team’s success.

But the unfortunate fact is, too many of us operate in department vacuums. For example, your sales team probably relies on Salesforce. Your marketing team relies on marketing automation and content management tools. The folks over in customer success have their own database.

“So many systems have emerged, and they’re so good within their own niche — within that siloed area … but we’ve lost that integration,” Pete says.

Basically, you’ve got all these really awesome systems and solutions out there that are helping you do your job better, but they may not be working across departments, which could lead to some major issues.

For instance, your inbound team could successfully capture leads via successful marketing campaigns – internet marketing success! – but if your sales team’s systems aren’t properly integrated, they could be annoying contacting these leads when they’re not yet in the market to buy.

Or, let’s say someone stops by your booth at a trade show, and they have all the credentials they need to purchase from you. However, they’re not quite ready to commit. This happens a lot, and your sales software needs to be able to identify this.

“There’s that lurking 20% [of leads] that are just sitting there,” Pete explains. “They’re fully qualified, but you need an integrated system to make sure they’re followed up with and nurtured over 12 months or 34 months.”

He says Zuant had a lead from seven years ago finally purchase their product. It happens.

And a lack of integrated systems doesn’t just mean you could be losing sales. It can lead to larger issues, like a breach in privacy laws (see: the California Consumer Privacy Act and the EU General Data Protection Regulation) or spam noncompliance.

The solution: Start with these 2 actions to start integrating your systems for B2B sales & marketing success

OK, so we see this is an issue, but what can you do?

“It’s getting all three around the table and putting an integrated plan together,” Pete says.

Sure, easier said than done, right? But it really doesn’t have to be that difficult. Here are two tips Pete shared to help you and your marketing, sales, and customer relations teams finally get on the same page.

1. Lock in the best product for each team

choose the best software for B2B sales & marketing success

Initially, it may seem like the easiest answer here is to find an all-in-one solution, right? Not exactly.

“It’s better to still have the best technology for each application,” Pete explains. “They’re likely to come from a different vendor.” And that’s OK!

He urges teams to prioritize “fast and light” — the product that is easiest to use and gets the job done quickly.

To pinpoint the best solutions for each department, consider performing software or tech-stack audit. Analyze speed, ease of use, and effectiveness.

Here’s a quick pro-tip from Pete to help you get started: “I think the CRM should always be at the center as the one version of the truth when it comes to all of your data … have all of these other applications pulling that data and synchronizing both ways with the CRM at the center.”

2. Find yourself a special agent

As you know, with any new initiative, you’ve got to get everyone on board. But that can be tricky.

hire a sales & marketing technology specialist

“That’s the problem,” Pete says. “All three of those will not necessarily have the right knowledge and experience on tech products.”

Sure, you can tap your IT team, but that can be difficult, too. So instead, what Pete recommends is hiring some kind of special agent — someone who is a strong communicator and motivator and has a strong technical background.

That’s the person who can help you integrate these systems. Call them your “Positive Integration Manager” or something fun. This will be the person who can work across all departments and help get everyone on the same page.

At the end of the day, good integration can speed up your processes and productivity, create a more harmonized and synchronized company, and improve B2B sales & marketing success.

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About the author

Stacy Jackson is a founding partner at The B2B Mix, a marketing firm located in Dunedin, Florida. In addition to her work at Jackson Marketing, Stacy is a co-host of The B2B Mix Show podcast. You can follow her on Twitter at @stacy_jax and connect with her on LinkedIn.