Since each sales rep does things differently, it's helpful to have a solution that automates and choreographs outbound sales tactics, so each lead is followed up on using the same cadence and the same amount of effort. For example, one sales rep may make one phone call and give up, another rep may only send email, and a third may make five or more calls before stopping.
Coordinating all sales efforts with defined steps makes sales reps accountable and helps sales and marketing managers better understand the health of the list, which sales and marketing tactics produce the best results, and what training might be needed to overcome obstacles.
Of course, all of this requires executive commitment to make it work. Alignment cannot happen with software alone; it requires people to use the software and to be held accountable for their results. After all, sales reps can (and do) work outside the system unless they are measured on what happens within the software. Likewise, marketing needs to deliver good campaigns and workable lists. Executives must be committed to communicating expectations and educating marketing and sales staff on why the process is important to reaching the defined goals.
One beautiful thing that happens when sales and marketing work in concert and are held accountable: everyone in the process gets recognized for their contribution to the campaign's success. While sales reps ultimately make the sale, marketing's contribution can be traced back to the campaign that nurtured the lead in the first place.
Who knows: maybe marketing and sales can be friends yet.
Bill Johnson is president and CEO of Indianapolis-based outbound sales automation and information platform Salesvue. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @BillJohnsonIndy or on LinkedIn.