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The VoIP Report

VoIP Brings Sales and Marketing Together
May 24th, 2017

VoIP Brings Sales and Marketing Together

Ian Linton

When it works, sales and marketing integration can provide greater insight into customer behavior and improve campaign performance.

In many businesses, sales and marketing teams work independently despite focusing on the same customers and prospects. This can lead to duplication of effort and the risk of inconsistent communications. To overcome this problem, executives try to integrate sales and marketing operations by sharing data and insights and developing joint campaigns.

When it works, sales and marketing integration can provide greater insight into customer behavior, improve campaign performance, strengthen the company’s brand, and increase revenue and profit. It also improves the productivity of sales and marketing teams.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) plays a central role in sales and marketing integration by providing a range of advanced communication tools that both teams can use in conjunction with a shared customer relationship management (CRM) system. The shared CRM system helps individual sales and marketing professionals coordinate their communications based on a consistent view of a customer or prospect.

The communications platform for sales and marketing

VoIP is a cloud-based communications system that sales and marketing professionals can use in any location, on any device. They can communicate by voice, text, instant message, chat and email, or hold meetings by audio, video or web conference.

Sales executives in the field, telesales agents in a contact center, sales support teams in the office, and marketing executives in or out of the office can use VoIP’s services to communicate with customers, prospects, and with each other.

CRM provides the link

Integrating VoIP with a CRM system provides every member of the sales and marketing teams with access to the same information on customers and prospects.

A CRM system is a central resource that brings together data from various sources, including contact details, product or service preferences, purchase history, response to sales and marketing campaigns, and details of any outstanding customer service issues.

Sales and marketing teams can access up-to-date CRM data when they are planning campaigns or sales visits, making or taking telephone calls, or holding conference calls. That helps them personalize communications, and improve the precision of any offers.

Creating a single workspace

The integration of VoIP and CRM systems improves sales and marketing productivity and effectiveness by providing users with a single workspace for records and communications. CRM systems such as SalesForce support telephony integration so that users can make or take calls directly from the application.

Users can dial calls from a list of contacts or online directories, and incoming calls automatically generate a screen pop-up showing all the caller’s details. The system can also attach recordings and call logs to customer records.

Helping teams work together

VoIP’s collaboration tools help members of the sales and marketing teams work together when they are planning campaigns or reviewing results. Making collaboration easy can help reduce the barriers between sales and marketing and drive better results.

Participants can join meetings from any location or any device, which makes it easy to schedule meetings and reduce travel costs. Members who are away from the office or working in a different location can meet in a virtual room. Teams can invite product managers, marketing agency staff and other specialists to contribute to the meeting.

VoIP supports screen sharing, so participants can view and review plans, market research, campaign creative proposals, presentations, spreadsheets, and other documents. This improves the quality of the meeting and makes it easier and quicker to reach joint decisions.

Team members can also use VoIP’s conferencing services to present details of sales and marketing initiatives to the field sales team or channel partners. They can broadcast the presentation as an alternative to the time and cost of setting up a traditional launch event.

Consistent messaging

Consistent messaging helps reinforce a company’s brand values. However, when different sales and marketing professionals contact the same customers or prospects, there is a risk that they will communicate different messages about products and services or company capabilities.

VoIP’s integration with CRM systems can reduce the risk. Marketing teams can post documents on the system that include key messages about products and services. Sales teams can access the messages and build them into outbound telesales scripts, or use the information as a basis for handling inquiries or objections.

“Joined-up” sales and marketing campaigns

VoIP’s communication tools make a great basis for “joined-up” campaigns. When Marketing runs advertisements or email campaigns, sales teams can follow up with VoIP’s outbound telesales calls, instant messages, texts or other messages to reinforce the original campaign, or respond to inquiries generated by the campaign.

By coordinating the different campaign elements, teams can build relationships and maintain contact with customers and prospects throughout the buying or decision-making process.

Managing sales leads

Joined-up campaigns are essential to the efficient management of sales leads generated by marketing or telesales campaigns. Marketing takes campaign responses and hands them to sales teams to qualify and follow-up.

At a simple level, a sales executive would contact a prospect or customer and finalize the sale. However, respondents may not be ready to buy; they may just be gathering information to compare alternatives before making a buying decision.

Marketing and sales can then work together to nurture the prospect, following up with additional information, sales presentations or other actions to help prospects reach a decision.

VoIP supports the nurturing process at two levels. It offers a range of channels to communicate with customers and prospects, and it provides detailed analytics and reports that help teams monitor “digital body language.”

Teams can follow up leads by phone, text, instant message or email on a single platform and they can track responses in a unified inbox. If prospects send messages or leave voicemails requesting additional information or sales calls, the team can access and review all the incoming information in a single workspace without checking different devices.

Teams can post details of communications and responses at each stage of the nurturing process on the CRM system so that other team members can check before contacting prospects.

Measuring campaign effectiveness

To measure effectiveness and plan future campaigns, teams need to know the sources of sales leads.

Because phone numbers are a widely-used response mechanism, VoIP can provide valuable information on lead sources. By purchasing blocks of numbers and allocating them to individual offers, campaigns, advertising media or geographical markets, teams can track responses to different initiatives.

VoIP’s call analytics can identify the source of incoming calls and messages so that marketers can assess the most effective initiatives. This approach is very useful to businesses that carry out split testing of different initiatives, helping them identify the most effective messages, offers, processes or communications channels.

The response data helps marketers identify the most effective approaches for future campaigns or fine-tune existing programs by changing messages, offers or other elements.

Incoming call information also helps agents deliver a personalized response. The information identifies a caller, allowing agents to quickly access customer records on the CRM system. The agents can use the CRM information to make customized offers and cross-sell or up-sell other products.

Automating sales and marketing processes

VoIP’s ability to integrate with business applications makes it easy to automate sales and marketing processes—improving efficiency and productivity, and driving better results.

For example, the system can be set to automatically generate emails or text messages following an outbound sales call or an inquiry. Teams can use VoIP’s notification feature to send broadcast voice or text messages to customers and prospects announcing new products or special promotions.

By automating follow-up messages or other announcements as part of a lead-nurturing program, teams can ensure that no leads are lost or abandoned in the sales pipeline.

Follow the customer journey

The data available from VoIP’s analytics and call records helps sales and marketing teams track individual customer journeys as a basis for planning future actions. In business-to-business markets, for example, it can be difficult to identify the relative importance of different decision makers and influencers.

VoIP data can be used to track which decision makers respond to specific offers, and how quickly they reach buying decisions. For example, the marketing team may have to send four sets of content to a technical decision-maker before the contact agrees to a sales meeting or product demonstration.

VoIP analytics can track the information requests from each member of the decision-making team. It provides answers to questions such as “How many times did a decision maker request educational content?” and “At what stage did the decision maker ask for product information?” This can help the team decide if future campaigns should be educational rather than product-focused.

Aggregating the data can help identify trends. Analysis may indicate that the customer journey from initial interest to purchase is shorter or more complex in certain industry sectors or relative to the size of the business. The information can indicate whether marketing programs or direct sales activities have a greater impact on the journey.

Improve account planning

The integration of sales and marketing activities is particularly important for managing major accounts. Businesses need to balance direct contact with regular communications to ensure they maintain strong relationships with all key decision makers.

VoIP’s range of communication channels lets teams communicate with individual decision makers through their preferred channel, with personalized messages driven by the information in the CRM. It also ensures businesses allocate the right sales and marketing resources to individual accounts to maintain control.

Integration drives long-term success

Integrating sales and marketing activities with VoIP at the core helps improve campaign results and return on investment. It also provides vital data for planning future initiatives that can build long-term revenue and customer loyalty.