There's often a natural tension between sales and finance teams. The sales team is always focused on closing the deal and moving to the next sale, whereas finance wants contracts signed and returned, and paperwork completed, before another sale is attempted. But if the teams work together collaboratively, it benefits the whole business.
At teeth whitening business Pearly Whites, it's imperative the sales and finance teams work together as closely as possible. As a largely online business, the success of digital marketing campaigns drives revenue. This means finance must have a deep knowledge of online marketing and how it produces sales.
Managing Director and CFO, Jake Munday, and Sales and Customer Service Manager, Rachel Caradine, meet monthly to plan marketing and sales targets. They look at the previous month's sales, the success of campaigns on a monthly basis and sales projections based on the previous month.
“We consider campaigns we have planned, for example Mother's Day campaigns, how we will target our audience and the promotions we will offer for the month," Munday explains.
“When we've considered the previous month we look at forward planning for the next month and explore ways to maintain or increase the sales figure. We do this by planning our social media campaigns for the month and setting sales targets each week," he adds.
Drawing on data to deploy marketing spend effectively
Much of the marketing budget is allocated to social media. Campaign performance is measured through Google and Facebook analytics, as well as other reporting systems.
“Social media marketing is heavily automated, so we monitor our campaign spend several times each day," Munday says.
The business uses this data to set sales targets, including monthly revenue figures, customer engagement scores on social media, customer feedback, online sales conversions through the online store, new customer data, thank you emails and abandoned cart data.
Budgets are reassessed for campaigns with an average to low CPA to ensure marketing generates the best sales outcomes for the company. “We need to ensure every marketing dollar is used to reach the correct target audience," says Caradine. "We closely monitor all our campaigns and put more budget towards campaigns with a good cost-per-action (CPA) or cost-per-click (CPC).Our aim is to deliver ads to our target market at the right time and in the right way."
Analysis the key
Munday, Caradine and the Pearly Whites' management team work collaboratively to analyse sales and marketing data to inform monthly targets.
“We use the data to explore new products and market segments to target," says Munday." For example, we have traditionally marketed our products to a young demographic. Now, we are looking at ways of marketing to people in the 30 to 65 year age range. This shift has come from closely analysing our customer base and marketing efforts."
Feedback from the sales and marketing team is paramount to forming business strategy. “Without customers, we don't have a business," says Munday.
At the beginning of the year, the finance team decided to increase sales through email marketing to customers who had recently purchased, not completed a purchase, or who were new to the mailing list. Sales Manager, Rachel Caradine, used her understanding of the 'psychology of sales' effectively to write the targeted emails.
In the two months since these email campaigns have been implemented, they have consistently shown a five per cent increase in sales over a 30-day period. Caradine is now working on increasing repeat sales through marketing to customers who have previously bought the product and require refills.
Other projects on which the finance and sales teams work together include a range of marketing events. These include trade shows such as the High Tea Party and MindBodySpirit Festival.
Ahead of each trade show, the sales and finance teams agree targets on a daily and overall show basis. The sales team is incentivised to exceed sales targets for each day, which Munday says has shown tremendous results for the business.
Creating a robust relationship between marketing and sales requires superior communication skills in both teams.
Finance and sales communicate on a daily basis either via email or text message. The sales team also provides a weekly report on sales for each product and stock levels, as well as a monthly report on campaigns and email flows to the finance team.
In turn, finance works closely and collaboratively with the sales and marketing team to plan monthly marketing activities and set sales targets on a weekly and monthly basis.
Munday's number one piece of advice for finance and sales departments in other businesses is to work together as a team.
“There is no right or wrong approach. It is absolutely worth trying new techniques, markets and campaigns. Keep growing, and learning from the good and the bad outcomes, what works best between the teams and for the company," he says.
- Have set meetings when the sales and finance departments get together to discuss priorities and shared objectives.
- Ensure there are defined communication channels between the sales and finance teams.
- Share information and work collaboratively.
- Reward achievement.
- Communicate clearly.
- Always keep learning and growing.