Conventional wisdom holds marketing and sales as two distinct departments, with the marketers generating and nurturing leads and passing them on to sales when the prospect is sales-ready.
While there have been clarion-calls for increased cooperation between marketing and sales team, the latest developments, especially in marketing automation, tends to blur the distinction between marketing and sales.
Marketing automation systems require integrated databases and Web analytics. They help provide direct marketing tools to the sales team that hitherto only marketers had access to. For instance, integration of the sales database with the CRM database provides sales with first hand information on which lead to prioritize, without waiting for marketing to pass on the information.
Automation also does away with the need for specific processes that were hitherto an integral part of the marketer’s job. For instance, automation technology takes customer data from point of sale locations and other places, runs them through a pre-set offer repository, business rules engine, contact history database and predictive analytics to generate automated offers to prospects. This pretty much takes over what marketers do, leaving the sales team to intervene directly when the prospects responds to such interventions.
Sales always has insight into who is most likely to buy whereas information about such likely buyers was with marketers. Technology has now blurred the wall separating the two. This however does not mean that sales is usurping the marketers’ job. It rather signifies a greater integration between the two roles, which may ultimately result in a merger between these two departments for greater efficiency.