Working in silos is a common experience when it comes to business operations. It does more harm than good, often affecting and inhibiting the growth of both the departments and the organization.
Today more than ever, it is important to break down the longstanding legacy walls that have been created in between teams and find ways to collaborate and thrive towards a common goal. While technology-powered platforms have united businesses onto a centralized system, it’s not sufficient in maintaining alignment. Especially when it comes to the Sales and Marketing divisions.
For the sales team, building relationships with clients is crucial but your team should also be able to pursue even stronger internal marketing partnerships for success. While the purpose of marketing is to attract attention and gain interest from ideal buyers, the sales team needs to turn that interest into commitment and ultimately a purchase. Therefore, executing these assignments does require effort from both sides – thorough clear objectives, an understanding of key performance indicators, and knowledge of lead qualifiers that take into account the customer’s path to purchase are key to success.
Though the divisions each have respective key responsibilities, customer attraction, conversion and retention are best accomplished collaboratively.
The Challenge: Miscommunication Between Sales and Marketing
The lack of alignment between sales and marketing has been a challenge businesses have faced for years.
In most cases, marketing teams may have the perspective that their generated leads aren’t taking advantage of, while sales may think that the content marketing is not relevant, thus, not producing sufficient sales-ready, good quality leads.
When dissecting the challenges, you’ll often find that there is a lack of communication and flawed processes. Coupled by the lack of common prospects and insufficient reporting, these are often the root cause of a lack of collaborative meetings, which translates into a lack of visibility when it comes to planning and results.
Unfortunately, this often results in lost leads and unsatisfactory customer journeys.
Sales are the public face of the company, and therefore needs to reflect all the values and knowledge housed within the organization – if the sales teams aren’t aligned with the rest of the company, it will provide a disjointed experience for the customer.
7 Ways to Build Sales and Marketing Alignment Success
1 – Ensure that You Have Relevant Content
The content created by the marketing team is what a salesperson uses to advance a potential buyer. With a good marketing strategy and insights, both teams can agree on relevant and compelling content for more effective winning approaches.
2 – Communicate Regularly and Analyze Monthly Results
This will give you an indication of what’s working and what should be improved, allowing your teams to be agile in their strategy and execution.
3 – Set Synced KPIs
While sales may focus on the number of new accounts and closed deals, and marketing, brand awareness, and the quality of leads, both departments need to develop the same key metrics for measuring success.
4 – Speak with One Voice
It’s important that a lead reads one message on social media and traditional media channels and receives consistent messaging from the salesperson in their buyer journey.
5 – Involve Salespeople in the Strategic Planning Process
Having salespeople involved in the strategy process is important.
It ensures their views are represented, but more importantly, salespeople often have a closer relationship with the customer and see things that marketing is not necessarily able to see from the office. So not only does this benefit the strategy, but it also helps with implementation as it creates buy-in from the sales team knowing they were part of the process.
6 – Engage the Sales Team More Often
While conducting formal marketing research is an important and often necessary activity for any organization when making decisions, don’t ignore the opinions that come from the field. Salespeople can be one of your best sources of market intelligence as they know subtleties about local markets, competition and customers. This is often a very under-utilized resource. Marketing people should, at least once a year, visit with some salespeople and ride around making customer calls in an attempt to better understand salespeople and glean observations from the local markets.
7 – Ensure the Sales team Understands the Marketing Strategy
While this is a broad statement, it’s often more likely that someone currently in a marketing role, started in sales and a salesperson started in a marketing role. As a result, it’s imperative that salespeople not only understand selling skills but also develop a conceptual understanding of marketing. By having a better understanding of the theories, tools, terminology, and tactics used in a marketing strategy, salespeople can better understand why they are being asked to do certain things. With this understanding comes better execution and a more cohesive sales/marketing effort.
Conclusion: Reaping the Benefits of Sales and Marketing Alignment
In facilitating the move towards improved collaboration and even greater results, sales teams should not be the only division selling. – Other departments should also take the role of brand evangelists, driving positive word of mouth and in turn, sales. This will require that they become data gatherers, feeding first-hand customer feedback into the business, to drive change.
To ensure that you have happy customers, build team efficiency and achieve more, you can adopt the customer-centric business model, which will help you benefit from using best-practice sales and marketing methodologies and technology.
It will enable you to reach and enjoy the rewards of improved business metrics and increased revenue. Ultimately, you will also be able to enhance customer retention rates, aiming for shorter buyer cycles, more effective deal closing, and higher sales rates.
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