It’s pretty well-known that sales and marketing departments have, historically, butted heads. Sales thinks marketing gets too much budget for not enough results, while marketing thinks sales is too micro-focused and not seeing the big picture when it comes to telling a brand story. It seems that this conflict might never be entirely solved, but it also appears that with the development of inbound marketing and lead generation efforts, salespeople are getting a chance to enjoy more direct benefits from marketing efforts.
While technology is helping to repair the relationship between sales and marketing, many businesses are seeing the tension growing between a new group– IT and marketing. Traditionally, technology decisions were made strictly by the IT department. Now, with so many options to choose from and SaaS products becoming more and more user-friendly, marketing departments are assuming that role. On one hand, this means that new software can be adopted and implemented faster, but on the other hand, it also means that IT departments are finding it increasingly difficult to manage and maintain their environments.
So how do we navigate this new challenge? We will look at ways to bridge the divide between marketing and IT.
How marketing and IT can work together
Engage during the evaluation phase - When looking at a new technology, marketing is likely going to focus on functionality, how it will enhance their efforts and what kind of ROI they can measure. Meanwhile, IT is concerned with a completely different set of criteria - security, integration, reliability and control.
Even though these seem like completely unrelated issues, there is common ground between departments. Ultimately, both want to adopt a solution that will work well, provide a user-friendly experience and generate results. By engaging with each other and diversifying the selection criteria, the odds of accomplishing that goal increases.
Develop a single customer view - Consistency is key in the marketing world. Providing a clear and consistent message is increasingly important in every customer interaction. With so many marketing channel options available, marketers have no choice but to rely on technology to manage it all. Marketing automation platforms, for example, are being implemented as a way to house marketing materials, deploy email messages, track engagement, and more.
The benefits of these new technologies don’t stop with the marketing department. Sales teams can use them as well and learn more about their customers from the data collected. Better informed salespeople mean better relationships and better overall performance. For IT, having one solution that tracks both leads and customer data means less technology to implement and maintain.
Leverage expertise - Just as marketing and IT look at different criteria when they evaluate a new solution, they also have different areas of expertise that can be mutually beneficial. Marketers always look at things through the eye of the customer and can provide input on how to offer an optimal experience. Solutions can be customized to meet the specific needs of their intended audience rather than applied as a generic, out-of-the box answer.
Also, marketing should rely on the expertise of their IT partners to evaluate how all company systems will work together. New technology is great, but if it doesn’t sync well with existing databases and platforms, then their job will be that much harder. Relying on IT for integration and data integrity ensures a more powerful, more streamlined workflow– and that is something that both departments can get on board with.
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