SAN FRANCISCO -- To take on larger competitors with more resources, medical equipment manufacturer Mizuho OSI had to create a faster track from lead generation to sales.
To work smarter and faster to identify leads and close sales, the Union City, Calif., company broke down its internal silos, deciding that aligning sales and marketing departments would be its best bet.
"We had a gap in collaboration," said Greg Neukirch, vice president of sales and marketing at Mizuho OSI, during a session at Dreamforce 2017 this week. "We needed to be smarter and faster and improve our customer experience beyond what we did in the past."
Neukirch added that the company did extensive research to see which software tools could aid in aligning sales and marketing. It ultimately chose Salesforce for CRM and Salesforce Pardot for marketing automation.
"We had a sales team wanting more and a marketing team trying to give more, and we looked at how we could leverage Salesforce and Pardot to close the gap between those two functions," Neukirch said.
Mizuho OSI adopted Salesforce in February 2016 and Pardot a year later, working to ensure close collaboration between the sales and marketing departments.
Bringing sales, marketing together
Greg Neukirchvice president of sales and marketing, Mizuho OSI
Breaking down internal silos for businesses is a common problem, because sales and marketing departments have historically had different objectives. But as consumers have become more educated through the buying process, aligning sales and marketing is a strategy that can bring a company more customers -- it's not an easy process, however.
"There was skepticism in our sales department," Neukirch said. "They didn't know the products or understand why they needed to do something different. But it was up to us to help communicate that value."
New Salesforce Sales Cloud features are designed to make it easier for customers to better align sales and marketing. With the Lightning Data feature, for example, companies can discover and import new potential customers, according to Brooke Lane, director of product management for Sales Cloud.
"In today's setting, we want to quickly close deals and also better understand customers," Lane said. "With [the new feature] Campaign Management, it can help you show the impact of marketing activities on the sales pipeline. We want to continue bridging Salesforce and Pardot so you're not troubled with tasks."
Addressing implementation challenges
Mizuho OSI's transition to a more efficient, modern customer journey -- one that shortened the time for a prospect to become a customer -- hasn't come without challenges.
"Sales can't do things on its own," said Chris Lisle, director of North American sales at Mizuho OSI. "But the biggest hurdle was getting sales to adopt a new tool."
Mizuho OSI ran into some hurdles during the implementation -- mainly the time it takes to successfully change how the organization is run.
"We took time to identify the problems we wanted to solve -- mainly that our customer journey was outdated," said Kevin McCallum, director of marketing at Mizuho OSI. "We needed an aggressive timeline for our deployment, but however long you think it'll take, it takes longer than that."
But by aligning sales and marketing departments at the start of the project, Mizuho OSI was able to start modernizing its customer journey.
"Sales had full visibility with what we were doing and what we were working on and helped through the journey," McCallum said.
Neukirch agreed, calling the alignment essential.
"To get that collaboration and see the departments come together, we were able to move faster," Neukirch said.
And while the company is still aligning sales and marketing, it has seen anecdotal benefits of the change.
"What we did in the last nine months exceeded our expectations," Neukirch said. "We were following that vision and executing on the deliverables and making sure we kept focus with how the customer could interact with us better and faster, so we'd have the opportunity to outpace the folks we're in market against."
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