Why are marketing and sales teams so divided in many businesses? Both teams have the same end goal – to increase revenue by closing deals. The interaction between the two teams shouldn’t merely be a handoff of leads. It’s time to break down the silos and get on the same page with sales and marketing alignment.
The traditional buyer’s journey has changed. Modern technology has altered expectations and added complexities we haven’t had to deal with in the past. Below let’s review how to begin aligning your marketing and sales teams to improve the generation of qualified leads and sales.
How to Achieve Sales and Marketing Alignment
Alignment between your sales and marketing teams won’t happen overnight, and it will take some effort. Here are eleven areas where you can work with both groups to bring about positive changes in the sales and marketing process.
- Establish a playbook for your sales team. Knowledge of the selling process allows marketing to create relevant content for each stage of the buyer’s journey instead of fielding random requests from the sales team. Datasheets and email templates that guide the prospect to the sale and reference content marketing materials will be both timely and relevant.
- Conduct regular meetings to keep both sides of the organization up-to-date on current objectives and marketing campaigns. If there’s a new eBook that marketing is promoting, make it accessible to the sales team in case their prospects reference it.
- Align reporting so that both speak the same language. Marketers often refer to the number of leads, while salespeople focus on the number of dollars in the pipeline. Agree on a data set that can be easily understood and compared.
- Build understanding and empathy by showing each team how the other works. Have employees shadow each other for a few hours and experience “a day in the life.” Encourage marketing to listen to some sales calls – it can help with idea generation too.
- Ensure open lines of communication. Prospects’ questions to salespeople could be turned into blog posts, but sales must feel comfortable and know how to communicate those ideas to marketing. Dealing with contacts directly, the sales team may receive valuable feedback on the content that marketing created. Build a process to relay that feedback.
- Collaborate on content creation. Marketing can work with the salespeople to help strengthen their thought leadership through blogging, podcasting, videos, or other forms of content. Most sales start from searches. According to Fronetics, “62% of B2B buyers say that a web search was one of the first three resources they use to learn about a solution.” Working alongside marketing, sales can share their expertise and show prospects more of who they are.
- Provide scalable training on “marketing tasks.” Social selling and employee advocacy are not just for marketing. Your sales team should receive proper education and be encouraged to use social media in their outreach. Marketing can provide relevant links and content to make it easier for the sales team to share.
- Ensure the sales team has access to marketing resources. Marketing spends massive amounts of time creating content for sales enablement, but without proper organization, it can go unused. Create a system for sharing that’s easy for both teams to utilize.
- Build comradery by bringing sales and marketing together to have fun at lunches, celebrations, team building functions, etc. Creating a supportive environment forms trust and eliminates egos, thereby allowing for better collaboration.
- Get leadership involved. Sales leaders, marketing leaders, and the C-Suite need to support the sales and marketing alignment movement. When employees see a commitment from the top-down, they’ll be more encouraged to participate in the shift.
- Bring marketing and sales software together. A powerful CRM keeps data in a centralized location and assists in both marketing and sales activities. Most CRM solutions can also integrate with the marketing team’s marketing automation platform of choice so you can share information between the two systems and teams.
Today, sales and marketing alignment is more critical than ever. Customers find most product information through online research. Marketing should work with sales to ensure content is relevant and compelling to potential customers. After all, most buyers do not speak to a salesperson until they’re 57% of the way through the buyer’s journey. If the marketing team doesn’t develop the right content, they reduce lead flow and put salespeople at a disadvantage.
Building an alliance between sales and marketing will benefit both parts of the organization. Is your company working towards sales and marketing alignment? Let us know how in the comments below.