February 10, 2015

Expert Interview: Bridge the Gap Between Marketing and Sales

Craig Klein is the President and CEO of SalesNexus, an online CRM software, email marketing, and lead generation company. He is an expert in B2B Lead Generation and sales processes. By improving the collaboration between your marketing and sales team, and by using CRMs to create more facetime between the sales teams and customers, he improves companies’ ability to “turns leads into dollars.”

I invited Craig to join me on our TA Expert Interview Series to discuss the role of using CRM and marketing automation technology to improve relationships and add value for customers.

Here are a few of the highlights from our conversation:

TechnologyAdvice: What’s unique about making software for salespeople?

CRAIG (3:04): Well, a salesperson is a unique animal. We all know that. One of the greatest problems that any technology partner faces is that getting salespeople to adapt to your technology is a real challenge. In fact that’s the biggest reason that still even today 50% of CRM implementations fail and most often it’s because sales people just don’t want to use the darn thing. What they say most of the time is that it’s too difficult to use and what that really means is that there’s too many steps. They want to maximize the time they spend talking to customers.

TA: Salespeople always need to focus on the human connection. How can technology encourage that?

CRAIG (4:58): Yeah, absolutely. In fact, I was lucky enough in my previous life to go through some pretty valuable sales training courses. What they teach you is to work on asking questions and listening rather than showing up and throwing up, as they say, and talking about your own product all of the time. And that’s really hard for a lot of salespeople to do.

 It’s kind of human nature when you’re in front of somebody you don’t know. It’s your first time meeting. You get nervous and you just start talking and you can’t stop yourself. So in my view, CRM software should help a customer focus on what the right questions to ask are.  

In other words, instead of just having fields for me to put in, the phone number and the address, give me a field that lets me put the answers in to the questions that I really need to ask this prospect. In that way, I’m sitting there looking at a script of what to ask. So that goes to customizing the technology to guide the person to really focus on connecting with their prospect by asking them questions and listening to what matters to them.

TA: How has CRM technology changed the way that sales teams work, or changed their strategy?

CRAIG (8:06):  …The growth in the industry really is inside salespeople. I need people that can respond to those incoming inquiries on my website. Not people out there hammering on doors. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a group called the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals which is a great group. …That trend means that you have to have technology to manage the connection with a customer that just submitted a form on your site.

If you’re going to call that conversion on your website, if you don’t call within thirty minutes, the likelihood that you’re going to connect with them and actually sell them something has decayed by about 80 percent. So if you don’t have technology in place to make it easy for that sales person to win the call and who to call very quickly, you’ve already lost before you ever picked up the phone. So that’s driving a lot of adoption of CRM technology, sales automation technology in businesses that traditionally have been old fashioned and sort of good old boy sales organizations.

TA: A theme in today’s call is the relationship between marketing automation software and CRM. Do you think there has to be a relationship between the two?

CRAIG (15:59): Oh yeah.  Absolutely.  We’re constantly in the middle of that typical division between marketing and sales in an organization. …It’s amazing how those two teams within one organization can very often be on totally different pages and the marketing guys sort of want to throw things over the wall to the sales people and it’s like they’re a bunch of lions that they’re throwing meat to and they don’t want to see what happens over there. But if you can make the two worlds work together, then it enables all that personalization that we were talking about a minute ago. That vastly improves the experience for the customer and that’s where you win.  

***

To learn more about integrating crm and marketing automation, visit SalesNexus.com/blog, or connect with Craig on LinkedIn. 

Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download the show to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud in order to get alerts about new episodes. You can also subscribe to just the CRM category here.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Clark Buckner.

Looking for software? Try our Product Selection Tool