Marketing Automation

Rise of Marketing Automation

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Marketing automation refers to the use of automated software to streamline routine marketing activities down from email marketing to lead nurturing and finally generating sales. Automated marketing is not only limited to emails but also manages social media activities, landing pages, lead nurturing, marketing campaign and a lot more. There is a significant rise in marketing automation in the recent time due to an increased need for personalization in lead generation and nurturing.

For instance, when you add an item to your cart or wishlist on shopping sites like Amazon you instantly start seeing ads based on the item you were interested in. Occasionally you may get exclusive offers based on your buying interests as well. This is done through marketing automation. Such messages are automated using marketing data and link tracking mechanisms which help provide the right message to the prospective customers.

The rise of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is on rise due to increase in online marketing activities and need for personalization and targeting in lead generation and nurturing. In fact, there were 11 times more B2B organizations using automated marketing in 2014 than in 2011, and the numbers are increasing every day.

As per a report by Email Monday, on an average 49% of all companies are currently using Marketing automation. With more than half of the B2B companies (55%) adopting such technology.

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But why are businesses so inclined towards marketing automation? As per marketing proofs, businesses using marketing automation have seen:

  • 451% increase in qualified leads
  • 14.5% increase in sales productivity
  • 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead

Reasons for the Rise of Marketing Automation

There are many reasons associated with the rise of marketing automation. Some of the core reasons include an increase in market data, strong filtering by email applications, a decrease in the attention span of people, information overload etc. If properly used then marketing automation can drive huge business for the company. It is its capability of driving consumer behavior towards more conversions that makes it so popular. Here are some main reasons associated with the increase in adoption of automated marketing:

Death of Blast emailing

Let’s face it, Blast emailing is dead. Gone are the days when you could just send the same email to a bunch of people and get feedback. Email inboxes now come with a lot of filters which mean that you might be going directly to the spam folder. Even if you manage to get it to the primary tab still, the open rates have declined. People want personalized messaging as if the brand is talking to them directly. Such level of personalization and commitment is possible only through automated emailing.

Increase in raw data

This is the age of data. We couldn’t possibly have more analytics about our buyers than we have now. The amount of data from demographics to behavior patterns collectively creates a huge cluster of unorganized information. To make use of such data it is important to synchronize it in one place and generate meaningful analytics from the same. Such data-driven marketing is possible only through advanced technologies which have resulted in the rise of marketing automation.

Efficiency

Think about the efficiency of interrupt marketing in the present scenario. What is the closing rate of cold calling and blast emailing? Inbound marketing is so much more efficient because it provides more quality leads in less time and boosts conversion rate. Marketing automation gives arms and ammunition to your inbound marketing. With a higher level of personalization and automation marketing automation boosts the productivity of online marketing and increases ROI.

Going Mobile In B2B: A Passing Fad Or Here To Stay?

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Our mobile devices, be it smartphones or tablets have become an extension of ourselves. They have been rooted into our everyday lives as a necessity and have changed the way we shop, eat, bank, and ultimately live. Where brushing your teeth was the first thing you did after waking up, now checking your phone has become the primary morning ritual (more than 50% of cellphone users get on their phones right after they wake up).

This drastic change has impacted not just our personal lives, but the way business is conducted as well. According to a report by Forrester, Research mobile is estimated to account for 49% of e-commerce i.e. $ 252 billion in sales by 2020. While these numbers are not purely indicative of the B2B mobile commerce market, they paint an optimistic picture. In fact, the gap between B2B and B2C mobile commerce is closer than you’d think; a Gartner study reports that B2B mobile channels generate 19.4% of digital commerce revenues, as compared to 22.6 % for B2C.

Mobile is the new virtual office

Smartphones are now our portable business centers. According to Usablenet’s infographic, on an average around 50% of B2B customers use their phone for work-related tasks, be it researching products for business, reading reviews, comparing prices, or consuming work-related content.

Additionally, 16% of B2B sites receive mobile traffic. Combine this data with the fact that 61% of users who have issues with viewing a mobile site were unlikely to visit it again, and 40% go to a competitor’s site instead, and you’ve got a compelling reason to go mobile and do it right. Think of your website as your virtual office, if in a bad shape or poorly located, it will be that much harder to attract, let alone retain customers.

Ability to reach your customers where they are

Even if you were to ignore the hard numbers presented above, you can’t overlook the single biggest benefit that going mobile offers: Mobility. For both buyers and sellers, work can be done on the go: lead capturing, data gathering, and customer engagement. Your customers are always reachable on their smartphones, through calls, messages, and emails. In fact in today’s digital age, with millennials (18-35-year-olds) replacing the previous generation, they expect it. A Regalix survey found that 84% of millennials in B2B segments consider their mobile device essential to their work.

Case in point

A simple yet extremely effective use of mobile to boost business is illustrated in a case study on Marketo, a marketing analytics software provider, documented by Rob Peterson (advertising and marketing professional). He states in his article, “The company recognized webinars as a key piece in the marketing toolkit to promote thought leadership and generate leads. As with many webinars, people registered but didn’t always attend. They used a simple, recorded phone message reminder in addition to email. Although the phone reminder added $2 for every registrant, it increased conversion of people who attended from 26% to 48% and, according to Marketo, was well worth the investment in terms of sales results.”

Harnessing the potential of a simple mobile feature made a huge impact.

Don’t be left behind

The list of facts, numbers and live examples to make a case for mobile technology in B2B is fairly long, and they all point to one thing: A mobile strategy in our digital era is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity. It is a reality that B2B marketers must accept and exploit for their benefit. And with every passing day newer mobile tools, applications, and automated software are rolled out that make embracing mobile technology that much easier while making companies more efficient. Safe to say, mobile technology is here to stay.

References

Is there any Gold in the Sun ?

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“Once a Gold digger searched for some gold in the valley of the dark, and then he realised that he skipped the sun”Every passing second the world wide web expands its reach while you jot down the things more prominent to your level of interests. As you were reading the above sentence the people on the other side collected more data on you. The next set of information that pinches your interest is a valuable metric for those who are measuring it right. The obvious question is should you use a detective to search for it or should you focus on every single entity out there; a rather tedious way.To streamline this world has been introduced to Web Analytics. A way to gather and interpret such enormous amounts of information. In a nutshell, the whole web analytics process is a closed loop structure kicking off with Defining Goals, Building KPI’s, Collecting Data, Analyze Data, Test Alternatives and Implementation consecutively.Web Analytics is critical for continuous improvement of the offered service, as well as for gathering useful business intelligence. Organizations have been upgrading themselves with web analytics and there are valid reasons supporting the cause out there.The three contribution standpoints are:Kill False AssumptionsEvery possible conversion is tested after a possible outcome hypothesis. Some may turn out to be good and some may not. Web Analytics plays a vital role in pivoting the decision in your favor. Test a lot, finalize a few and then test again.Save you Time, Energy and TearsThere was a time when people will look through the huge phone books and then it got replaced by an inventory of content details on your mobile device. Same way is what any web analytics dashboard serving your needs. Contemplating the data as per your needs, filtering it to the optimum level. The process of going through a huge stack of uninterpreted data may be cumbersome and crushing. That way it allows you to rethink about the world’s most expensive commodity- Time.Allows to spot gaps in Opportunities and IdeasEvery day multiple ideas can pop up in the thinking machine of the organization. There is a thin line in between successful market prospects and time buying ideas. Web analytics employs the benefit of hindsight to roll down the best-suited carpet for organization’s progress.Tackling the HiPPO ( Highest paid person in office)There may be situations when any change opinion may fall into the cobweb of the decision-making process. Web Analytics becomes the savior in those situations and provides a stronghold to you opinion in front of the Big Fishes of the corporation. Whether it be change onto your website or any product listing, web analytics can be a powerful tool to empower your opinion in front of the decision makers.Thus Analytics revolves around the core concepts of digging out the most interpretive information out of the haystack of scattered data and the growth of any firm trying to establish an online presence and promote its products needs Web Analytics to be employed in the DNA.

customer engagement

Why do we love Customer Retention? And you should, Too!

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What is Customer Retention after all?

Few may call it loyalty of customers, few may name it under customer success and life cycle. Names and methods might be different but the end goal is same and in the end, it all boils down to keeping the customer happy and engaged so that they keep coming.

Changing landscape of Marketing

With the changing landscape of the digital space, marketing has evolved in multitudes. Footprints of businesses are not limited to just a few folks in the neighborhood, the whole world has become a single marketplace. With a global audience, handling needs and requirements of the thousands and millions of customer becomes very challenging.

Digital marketing has changed the prior equations and will continue to be so dynamic. We have multiple of marketing channels to reach our audience and also multiple of platforms for customers to interact with. Ease and simplicity of marketing is a complex web now leading to a very fragmented customer journey.

Why is Customer Retention important?

In a business, acquisition, and retention go hand in hand, but the development phase of your business decides which area you should focus on more. Of Course, the acquisition is the building block of your user database, without a customer in your store, there is no one to keep onboard.

Generally, it costs less to keep a customer than to acquire one. But, the problem is the majority of companies especially e-commerce companies, invest most of their resources in acquisition despite the fact that repeat customers bring them the majority of revenue.

Companies need to establish their brand, run various marketing campaigns, giving more lucrative offers compared to their competitors, expenses on sales reps etc all add up to their acquisition expenses while retention is more profitable to them. Let’s see a simple example:

You can see the profit margin from an existing customer is 100% more.

Some facts about Customer Retention

  • According to the Gartner Group, 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.
  • Marketing Metrics report says the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while the probability of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.
  • According to Bain & Co, A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%.
  • It costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

How can you improve your Customer Retention?

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

A Few years back retention marketing was like the loose fitted brick in the wall. Companies knew retention was much of their need to make the strong walls of a profitable business but the “how?” part was a major stumbling block. How to personalize the interactions, touchpoints for growing customer base? How to personalize the offers to the customers need?

Now, with the swiftness of technology, we almost have answers to all the questions. The tools needed to achieve this level of individualized communication are all available. Customer’s demographic, transactional, behavioral and social data helps companies in a big way to understand their customers. Customers can be given personalized and unique experience so that they happily keep flocking to your website over and over.

6 Best Practices of Email Reputation Management

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In an era of ad-blockers and spam filters, marketers need relevant, innovative email marketing strategies and tactics to keep subscribers informed and engaged with your brand. Maintaining a good email reputation is a never-ending challenge. Email deliverability is still a major challenge for marketers. If emails are diverted to a junk folder or just go missing, a marketer loses the opportunity to engage the recipient or generate transactions.

Your firm’s reputation on the internet is not just about how well you rank in search engines. It is about how well your emails are received by your audience. What would a 5% or 15% increase in deliverability do for your funnel? If you could increase the number of actively engaged leads, what might that do to your revenue?

For maintaining a good email reputation use the following best practices for “Email Reputation Management”.

What is Email Deliverability?

Email deliverability is the rate of emails delivered to a subscriber’s or customer’s inbox. To drive a successful email campaign, it’s vital that you know your content is reaching your intended audience. Improving inbox placement starts with improvements in Deliverability and Reputation.

Deliverability depends on several things working together:

  • Email content
  • List quality
  • Managing bounces and bad emails
  • Only send Emails to People who Opted-In
  • Segmentation and targeting
  • Identify inactive and active leads
  • Authentication
  • Domain reputation

1. Create Amazing Email Content:

There are a few tricks to remember about content besides the magic of ‘sending something people want’. Personalize your emails to each recipient. Ideally, the content should reflect recipient’s specific interests or usage patterns in your application. At least address them by their name…don’t be rude!

It is best to send multi-part emails using both text and HTML or text only. Sending HTML the only email is not well received by ESPs. Also, remember that ESPs generally block images by default so HTML only will not look very good unless users are proactive about enabling images.

The higher the text to link and text to image ratios, the better. Too many links and images trigger spam flags at ESPs.

Links should include the domain that is sending the email. Also, popular URL shorteners can be a bad idea because they are frequently used by spammers.

A/B test your emails to optimize recipient engagement. Subject lines are particularly important. You can use Marketo automation tool for tracking statistics in order to measure A/B testing and improve your content.

Misspellings, spammy words (buy now! Free!) Are big spam flags, as are ALL CAPS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!

2. Email List Quality:

The number one reason we see people get blocked is because they have a bad mailing list. Don’t purchase your list or scrape web sites for emails. It’s the easy way out and you will pay the consequences. Most of these lists have bad email addresses and include spam traps. ESPs are very good at recognizing bad mailing lists.

  • Identify inactive and active leads: A high number of inactive users—subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked on your emails in a certain period of time, such as six months or more—can hurt your email deliverability. With numerous inactive users, showing high engagement with subscribers is tough.
  • Handle email bounce rates: Have a good process for handling email bounce rates. When you send an email to a non-existent email address, it’s classified as a bounce. If you keep sending emails to the same addresses that bounced, you’ll get a bad reputation. So, be sure to quickly remove bounced email addresses from your email list.
  • Clean spam traps and competitors from your list: Promptly remove names of individuals who unsubscribe. Email service providers can view bounced email as spam traps, or email that was added to a list without permission. Sometimes, they set up spam traps to identify email marketers with poor permission and list management practices. Most ESPs allow you to automate this process so that people are removed immediately upon unsubscribing.

3. Email Authentication:

It is very important that you are using the appropriate authentication methods with your email. If you are not authenticating your email properly, ESPs will assume you are spamming and will filter or just drop your email.

The common types of authentication are:

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
  • DomainKeys
  • Sender ID

4. Only send Emails to People who Opted-In:

Send emails only to people who have given you permission—and preferably confirm their permission with a double opt-in. In addition, you should be sending a verification email with a link that confirms their subscription (double opt-in) to make sure their email address is correct and that they are the person that signed up. If everyone did this, the world would be a better place.

You should have your Privacy Policy easily accessible on your website. In addition, you should have a place on your website where users can unsubscribe from your mailings, in addition to a link in every email you send.

5. Email Program Analysis:

The final step is to consider your targeting, segmentation, and content. If people are not interested in what you have to say, they will send you to the Spam Box, lowering your reputation no matter how good your list is.

6. How do I find out my reputation?

The easiest way is to check the overall or monthly email statistics from your MAP. In Marketo, run an Email Performance Report by Month or Year. For deeper information such as Sender Score, IP Reputation, or Inbox Placement, you will need a separate service.

How Marketing Can Reduce The Sales Cycle

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Many of the times it feels like it takes forever to close new business deals? You’re running strong campaigns, generating plenty of leads, seeing a flurry of sales activity.

But even though your sales reps are consistently following up, prospects just aren’t ready to buy. Your sales cycle used to be 1 month, but now it’s 2, or even 3 months. And the longer it gets, the harder it is to hit your goals.

Often, people don’t really know how long their sales cycle is — only describing it as “long” or “too long”. The problem is, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. A manual way to find this out is to take the last 20 or so deals and calculate the average sales cycle by determining the length of time between first contact by your sales team and close of the sale.

As a CMO, how can you solve this problem? Do your sales reps need some more training on their closing techniques?

But it would be a mistake to just assume the problem is their closing skills. Even the best closers can face lengthening sales cycles.

Well, we are in a world of Marketing and if you take a step back and try to see what’s causing this, you might realize that there are multiple ways where your company can improve their efforts.

  1. Quality of the leads that enter your sales process. Are they truly qualified?
  2. How well your leads are educated? Do your sales reps have educate them?
  3. How are you personalizing the leads experience?

That’s where the marketing automation comes into the picture.

The marketing automation cannot just help reduce the sales cycle but can make your sales team look like a superhero.

Marketing can give quality and relevant leads to sales team.

Marketing can help ensure that the leads only get to the sales team when they’re qualified and ready to buy. If you prioritize the leads who have already identified the problem and are educated about the solutions, they are looking for will help your sales team to close the deal fast. That will result in lesser time spent in the converting the lead into business. But again, to ensure shorter sales cycle you need to implement the scoring model which works for you. At Digiby, we help companies to put marketing automation in their business and bring the quality leads ahead for the sales team to close.

Marketing can educate prospects well before the sales reps pitches in

Marketing can trigger the automatic messages to your prospects in an orderly fashion so that your sales team doesn’t have to put so many efforts just to educate the leads you have. Presenting your solutions to a prospect who believe that they don’t have any problem or thinks that if they identified the problem and thinks that it is not significant so that need the solution yet; can be a sales suicide.

To shorten the sales cycle, you must bring clarity to your prospects. If they have a problem, let’s make sure they understand it, and if they don’t, let’s move on to someone who does.

The art of educating the prospects can help them identify the problem and the solution to deal with the problem. Automating the marketing can help you send behavior based content to your prospects which helps your sales reps to spend less time educating the prospect about the product and can lead to shorter sales cycle.

Marketing can personalize the prospects experience

The first thing you need to understand that there’s no single size which can fit everyone. You need to customize and personalize their experience. Create the segments of your leads depending on their requirements, behavior, location, interest, language or even the time of the message etc. and let the communication be in a fashion which personalizes their experience. Your busy sales rep cannot manually do it for every prospect so you need your marketing to take charge of this and automate the process so that the sales don’t have to do that till the time for them to close the deal comes.

The power of marketing in digital space can drastically reduce the sales cycle and speed up the cash flow in the bank. That’s a win-win scenario for you as well as your customers.

marketing automation

Top 5 Marketing Automation Trends In 2017

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Marketing Automation is no longer just a buzzword, in a digital era, it’s a prerequisite for efficient and effective marketing. And companies have gotten on board; according to emailmonday, on an average 49% of companies have adopted marketing automation, including 55% of B2B organizations. A trend that is likely to continue.

Given the many benefits it offers, it’s no surprise that marketing automation continues to receive attention, with new developments creating ripples ever so often.

Marketing Automation Trends to lookout for in 2017

We’ve identified the top trends that are set to change the marketing automation landscape in 2017:

  1. Integrated Marketing Automation – A Smart Insights study found that only 2% of companies that use marketing automation software make the most out of it. Optimal use of marketing automation calls for integration, and marketing automation allows for the integration of multiple campaigns across multiple channels. This ensures a consistent interaction with customers through their journey from prospect to customer and beyond. Customers want to be remembered and they expect companies to know who they are, be aware of their relationship with the company, and be taken care of. The overall experience of the customer is improved when a company’s multiple channels talk to each other and exchange information, like pieces of a puzzle coming together to create one synchronized image.
  2. Content Marketing and Marketing Automation – According to Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights, “The challenge in 2017 won’t be lack of engaging content. It’s surfacing it through the customer journey.” By integrating your content strategy with marketing automation you can ensure that the right content reaches the right customer at the right time. This allows for personalization of the message that is tailored to the customer’s requirement. Again, this adds to the customer’s experience as you are able to engage with them at their convenience, instead of spamming them with endless messages that are more likely to put them off than interest them.
  3. Predictive Analytics – Imagine the amount of time and effort you would save if you knew which leads were likely to convert into a sale and when. When predictive analytics and marketing automation come together, you can target your prospective customers based on their intention to buy, thereby striking the right iron when it’s hot, and increasing your chances of success.
    Additionally, being able to predict your customers’ behavior helps you take appropriate steps to fulfil their needs, leading to customer satisfaction and retention.
  4. Account Based Marketing – According to Marketo, “Account-based marketing (ABM) is an alternative B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account.” For companies looking to target specific high level businesses as clients, this strategy supported by marketing automation yields outstanding results. A study by Altera Group states, “97% of respondents said ABM had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other marketing initiatives.”
  5. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – The digital world that we live in generates tons of data. And AI in marketing automation works to make sense of this data such that it is of use to marketers. AI could save marketers time by tracking campaigns and forecasting their outcomes, predicting consumer behaviour, creating and pushing relevant and personalised content, as well as several other essential marketing activities. And given the unlimited scope of AI, it can be tasked to replace a majority of human driven contact, thus, leaving marketers to focus on more creative pursuits. As Mike Rhodin, Senior VP, IBM Watson group, eloquently said, “The creativity and ingenuity of humans, when freed up from mundane repetitive tasks, has always led to new innovation, throughout history.”

These developments showcase the potential of marketing automation to be a game changer.

What lies ahead


Image Source: Marketo

It won’t be long before implementing marketing automation becomes standard practice, much like having a website. A cornerstone of digital marketing, marketing automation is a sound investment for any company interested in getting ahead of the curve.

References

  1. Martech Today
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Email Today
  4. Smart Insights
  5. Marketingmag
  6. Marketo
  7. Image Source: Cloudfront

Why You Should Align Your Sales and Marketing Strategy?

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Sales and Marketing are two sides of the same coin. In the simplest of terms, while marketing focuses on creating awareness and evoking a desire to buy a particular product/service or brand, sales focuses on converting a potential customer into an actual one. That being said, it’s pretty obvious that their ultimate goal is the same: business growth. Coming together with a common goal of increasing revenue, these two pillars of a successful business can drastically increase marketing ROI, sales productivity, and profits.

There is immense scope for improving business performance by aligning sales and marketing functions; an idea that is often overlooked due to deep-rooted misunderstandings.

Why is it then that marketing and sales teams view each other as competitors, as opposed to collaborators?

A difference in their approach is one reason. Marketing strategies are created for the long haul: building brand awareness, recognition, and retention, developing a solid foundation, nurturing leads etc. Sales strategies tend to be short-term, dealing with meeting monthly, quarterly, and yearly quotas. They need aid from the marketing team that will help them close a sale today.

Another reason for discord between sales and marketing teams is the difficulty in measuring the results of marketing activities, unlike the quantifiable outcomes of sales efforts. This often leads to marketing efforts not being taken seriously or considered important by the sales team.

Demand Gen & Inside View conducted a survey amongst sales and marketing professionals to understand the main issues faced in aligning marketing and sales. The results provide proof of the problems stated above. 49% of those surveyed cited communication as the main challenge, followed by broken or flawed processes (42%), use of different metrics (40%), lack of accurate data on target accounts (39%) and reporting challenges (27%).

Acknowledging the problem is the first step in solving it.

Benefits of aligning marketing and sales

Before stating the measurable benefits of aligning sales and marketing, let’s go over the real and potential losses that arise out of non-alignment. As per

Wheelhouse Advisors:

  • Companies are losing closing to $ 1 trillion per year due to lost sales and wasted marketing expenditure.
  • 79% of marketing leads don’t close.
  • Only 27% of leads given by B2B marketers are pursued by the sales team.

The advantages on the other hand are:

  • According to Wheelhouse Advisors companies that ran sales and marketing strategies in tandem achieved 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher win rates.
  • A report by Aberdeen Research states that companies that have aligned sales and marketing saw an average of 20% increase in annual revenue, as opposed to a 4% decrease in companies that didn’t.

As per Sirius Decisions research B2B organizations having well-aligned sales and marketing functions saw 24% more rapid growth and 27% more rapid profit increase over a period of three years.

The good news

There is an increasing desire to work in collaboration, especially being voiced by Sales. A survey of 300 Sales heads by Sirius Decisions states, “The top third of the sales cycle has gone away. Salespeople believe that the beginning of the traditional sales process has evaporated and that buyers are self-servicing their needs instead of engaging with salespeople.” This shift in buying behavior has Sales all the more dependent on Marketing.

Time to get onboard

Given the real and quantifiable benefits of aligning your sales and marketing strategy, especially in today’s digital era where consumers are well informed and knowledgeable, it is imperative to implement policies and create an environment that brings these two vital functions together. A well thought out integrated Sales-Marketing plan is what will make the difference between growth and sustainable growth.