Modern CRM systems enable the alignment of Sales and Marketing – discover how this equates to business growth.

Ask salespeople if they work in marketing, and their response would be a resounding no. Ask a marketer if sales is part of marketing and quite a few would agree with the notion, but in practice they’d still see the two functions as sitting apart from each other. With a modern CRM system these silos can be broken down, requiring Sales and Marketing to collaborate.

Furthermore, the two way flow of information between sales and marketing allows for the necessary level of interdepartmental integration, as organisations strive to become more consumer-centric. Marketing can also conduct research and segment customers in a way that can help salespeople to better understand and target particular types of customers.

“The key to modern business is [about] ensuring that throughout an organisation all departments are working towards a common objective, albeit through different means”, writes CRM consultant Paul McLaughlin in his Linkedin Pulse blog, ‘The benefits of sales and marketing alignment’.

He adds that Sales and Marketing are the “engine driving most organisations, but other departments can also benefit from better inclusion, notably the customer support arm.”

Modern CRM systems

The best way to achieve sales and marketing alignment in order to make Sales + Marketing = the strategy for business growth is by implementing a modern CRM system because:

  • It will enable your organisation to create a transparent pipeline by giving staff with access rights to a CRM database the ability to know what other people within their own and other departments are doing. Managers can then use this information to develop more efficient processes, and it enables them to gain insight in order to develop their strategy for business growth.
  • It will offer a single view of the customer, from a single data source: According to McLaughlin, whose Linkedin Pulse post was published in April 2015, “30 percent of marketers feel that a disparate data source is the main reason they fail to glean useful information about their target audience”.
  • Collaboration improves customer insight: When all of Sales and Marketing, for example, work together and connect to each other through a modern CRM system, they become more effective and efficient because it becomes easier to collate and share data for the development of customer insight.
  • The ability to access a complete history of existing and previous customers can enable sales and marketing to work as one as a team, allowing them to work together to increase revenue by targeting prospects, customers and markets that are likely to deliver the highest profitability.
  • Remembering to support your customers and to learn more about them can improve sales, retention and loyalty rates. With a modern CRM system you can cross-sell and up-sell to new and existing customers in order to generate new revenue streams and sales opportunities.

You can also score your sales leads, according to their Net Present Value or according to how likely they to become advocates of your brand by applying a Net Promoter Score. Marketing can also support sales by qualifying the leads and by helping sales to understand customer needs, wants and desires. This analysis can be based on transactional history, demographics and on the scores. This saves time and money, while allowing sales and marketing to define its strategy for business growth.

Discover more about how a CRM system can help your business achieve growth by downloading your free eGuide ‘The Ultimate Guide to: Driving business growth using CRM’ today.


Discover how the role of the modern CIO shapes modern CRM systems that bridge Sales and Marketing.

Traditionally CRM has been seen as a sales tool, but modern CRM systems span all of the functions within an entire enterprise. Modern CRM systems particularly concentrate on aligning Sales and Marketing to permit the undertaking of customer data analysis and the generation of customer insight.  Modern CIOs can make this happen because their role has become less about fighting fires and delivering technical support than it used to be. Their remit is now more strategic.


The CRM Goal

The key goal is to have the ability to obtain a single view of each customer, which can allow sales or contact centre staff to cross-sell and up-sell additional products and services that are similar to the ones the customer has either just bought or previously purchased from the company.

Modern CRM is about ‘people, processes and technology’. It helps businesses to use a combination of its human resources, its operational and transactional processes, as well its technology to get closer to each customer or customer segment.

The technology aspect of it can’t just be implemented off-the-shelf and then expected to work. So Chief Information Officers (CIOs) need to work with their marketing counterparts to deliver an effective and efficient CRM strategy that will enable the business to increase revenues by:

  • Providing products and services that fit the needs, wants and desires of each customer or customer segment.
  • Using transactional history and data analysis to get to know each customer better, so that customers believe you know what they’re about and what they are likely to want whenever they call a contact centre of sales department.
  • Recording interactions with each customer. These interactions may come from a variety of sales and marketing channels, but they can be used to develop a ‘relationship’ with each customer in order to be able to cross-sell and up-sell to them.
  • Reducing the time required to close a sale. When Sales and contact centre staff know more about each customer, they can deliver a higher level of customer service and satisfaction. There’s also no guessing about what an existing customer wants; customer insight can inform a salesperson, for example, about what to offer a customer and how to close a deal. Similarly, a contact centre will be able to better resolve any customer issues.
  • Creating more loyal customers. Modern CRM enables organisations to capture the data required to paint a detailed picture of their customers and achieve their organisational goals through on-going analysis. For example; an organisation may wish to increase brand loyalty though making more informed decisions regarding the development new products and services. A correctly implemented CRM system can provide them with the necessary tools to achieve this


The modern CIO

With the growth of shadow IT and cloud computing, marketing has more choice than ever before and it can bypass the CIO in the process. Jay Henderson wrote about the changing role of the CIO in October 2012 for DestinationCRM magazine:

“CIOs should take the reins, give marketers the space they need to experiment, and if outside vendors are needed, make sure IT is the one managing those relationships. CIOs should also consider leveraging cloud infrastructure and SaaS solutions, which tend to shorten implementation time, as well as pre-integrated solutions, to minimize custom-built applications wherever possible.”

He adds that IT has to be at the heart of a customer-centric approach. CIOs therefore should:

  • Build a relationship with their Marketing Directors/Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs);
  • Understand the needs of the business, of sales and marketing the CIO can make better and more informed back-office technology-related decisions;
  • Ensure that any cloud services don’t compromise the organisation, while allowing sales and marketing a certain amount of freedom to use the cloud services they require;
  • Become involved with strategic business planning and develop not just technical skills, but soft business-related ones;
  • Focus on the desired business outcomes of the organisation because the ability of an organisation to develop and deliver new applications and services to market more quickly than any competitors can lead to the development of a competitive advantage.

CIOs should also note that Gartner predicts that “CMOs will influence more of the IT budget by 2017, [and so] the onus is on CIOs to ensure that marketers make the right purchases”, says Henderson. CIOs therefore need to begin this journey by understanding the front and back office needs of Sales and Marketing. Such a collaboration as this will improve their performance through heightened sales and customer satisfaction. The entire organisation will then become more profitable. So modern CRM systems help enterprises to have a promising future – that is if modern CRM systems are implemented correctly.

Discover more about how modern CRM can drive growth in your business by downloading your free eGuide ‘The Ultimate Guide to: Driving business growth using CRM’ today


When pitching CRM to the board, it is often the benefits of bringing Marketing and Sales closer together which acts as the key selling point – but to deliver on this promised goal, it’s actually the IT department who must act as a catalyst for seismic change.

The barriers that exist between Marketing and Sales are well-documented but there are tried and tested solutions to busting the silo-like mentality that can damage the relationship between the two departments if CRM is deployed correctly.

However to achieve this, there is another key player who must come on board any CRM implementation project – the IT department. But only if they will allow themselves to…

IT, Are You The Problem?

To help with the alignment of Marketing and Sales, IT must first step forward and engage with Marketing fully…

The first issue that CIOs need to deal with is… themselves. While traditionally, the IT department has been left to its own devices from dealing with IT systems through to data wrangling, the modern era in Marketing – and therefore Sales – has seen a shift in attitudes and work approaches.

Modern marketers are being forced to become more data-driven, basing their campaigns and inbound marketing strategies on data accrued through CRM; after all, it’s not unusual to find data analysts working in the Marketing department instead of IT. The CMO’s increasingly important role in choosing technology is becoming ever more prevalent too. According to research by Gartner, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs by 2017.

And this power shift can cause resentment within IT departments who feel their roles, IT decision-making powers and even budgets are now under threat from marketing. And it’s this mentality that must be dealt as a priority.

The Road Forward

In this new era, it is essential that the CIO works closely with marketing or else the silos that harm performance and interdepartmental alignment will remain…

This new approach should start with the CRM system itself with IT and Marketing working together on the selection and implementation process. At this stage, it is critical that IT drives the debate about how CRM is implemented. The questions it must raise include:

– Who will be responsible for running the CRM platform when it is up and running?

– Who will be analysing the data?

– Who will be setting key metrics and KPIs?

– Who will be demoing and training staff in CRM’s benefits and usage?

– Who will source and present CRM findings and ROI milestones to the board?

Finding the answers to these questions must be done via IT and Marketing working together on an ongoing basis to ensure each question is not only answered in the short term – but constantly monitored on a rolling basis:

– Agree on your common goals and targets together regularly and not in the vacuum of a silo.

– Bring marketing and IT together physically; consider having them work on the same floor or in the same office. It means each department can feed off each other and inform one another.

– Bring on board staff who understand the roles of both marketing and IT and can help advocate this new relationship, educating department staff about how the other works and even what terminology each uses.

– Use your CRM rollout project as an opportunity to forge this new closer partnership; it’s the perfect time to develop a shared skill set and create a true cross-departmental team mentality.

The End Result?

Research shows that when CIO and CMOs work in closer alignment, the business will outperform its competitors by…


… in terms of revenue generation and profitability.

In other words, with so much to gain (and so much to lose), the modern CIO and CMO can no longer work in their respective bunkers; they must team up so that other departments – including Sales – can wake up to the benefits of a properly implemented CRM platform.

Intervention Required?

Divisions can run deep between departments and a third party consultant can help not only with the selection and implementation of a CRM platform but aid in identifying and allocating responsibilities. Because they are ‘outsiders’ with no baggage (historic or political), consultants can help bridge existing divides between departments and suggest pragmatic steps to address and deal with each issue as and when it arises.

Discover how an effectively implemented CRM system can drive growth in your business by downloading your free eGuide ‘The Ultimate Guide to: Driving business growth using CRM’ today


Sales Force Automation (SFA) used to be the primary tool for salespeople. It helped organisations to manage and support their sales representatives, and it generally consisted of contact management, opportunity management and pipeline management. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) arguably evolved from it, but with some differences.

CRM concentrates on using data to create a 360 degree view of potential and existing customers. The purpose of this data-driven insight is to enable organisations to develop new offerings, to retain them and to inspire loyalty by encouraging customers to buy more of the same or related products and services.

Time showed the need for a higher degree of integration, co-operation and customer data-sharing between Sales and Marketing – thus improving the ability of marketing to segment customers, to develop new products and services, and to develop new marketing and communications channels. This integration also enables sales to increase its performance through cross-selling and up-selling propositions based on a single view of each customer.

Modern CRM systems

Modern CRM systems are increasingly about how to use big data analytics to gain a deeper level of customer insight than was possible a decade ago. To earn customer loyalty, organisations have to learn about customers’ habits through an increasing array of channels: the web, mobile, email, social media, e-commerce, contact centres and through bricks and mortar outlets.

Are your teams CRM-ready?

One of the traditional reasons why CRM fails, falls down to resistance from those that are going to use a modern CRM system. People and process design come before any successful implementation. Effective communication about the benefits of modern CRM systems, training and the development of a new collaborative culture are essential before the technology can be used effectively.

Improving performance

The benefits of a modern CRM system include…

  • Easy access to lead intelligence for sales from one location and in a way to enable sales and marketing to share customer insight – including customers’ transactional histories.
  • Better sales and marketing alignment by applying and sharing metrics to show how each function is performing. This information can be used to develop new sales and marketing strategies, and realistic goals and objectives that have to be:
  • Specific,
  • Measurable,
  • Attainable,
  • Realistic
  • Time-based.
  • Help Sales prioritise its pipeline through segmentation – say for example into key accounts (highest value customers) – and by making customer trends more visible. This can enable salespeople to target customers more effectively.
  • Closed-loop reporting lets marketers improve their marketing campaigns. By sharing sales and campaign data marketers can determine which campaigns are most successful and look for insight as to why they are achieving their goals and objectives.
  • The automation of simple, repetitive tasks and processes. These tasks and processes may be administrative, transactional, or related to specific activities such as e-commerce, inbound contact centre management, etc.
  • Improved campaign and project management because a number of modern CRM systems employ a dashboard to make the metrics associated with a project or campaign more transparent and as available in real-time as possible to enable better decision-making. Campaigns and projects often need tweaking. Dashboards make this possible.

In conclusion

  • With a modern CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM it becomes possible for Sales and Marketing to see each other as partners.
  • To achieve this collaboration there needs to be a high level of systems integration across all of an organisation’s functions – not just between Sales and Marketing, but also with finance and logistics for example.
  • Together these departments can become even more profitable than if they were to maintain a culture of us and them. Modern CRM systems make this possible.

Discover how CRM can help your business grow by downloading your free eGuide The Ultimate Guide to: Driving business growth using CRM today.