“What are they thinking?”
If we had a dime for every time a sales executive uttered those words about the marketing team, or a marketing strategist mumbled those words behind the backs of the sales team…. Well, we would all be rich.
Sales and marketing teams rarely naturally align. Sales often thinks marketing delivers low quality sales leads, and that marketing does not create content that speaks to prospects and clients. Marketing frequently views sales as stubborn, resistant to change, and unwilling to work the provided leads effectively. Both sides may suffer from a lack of standardized and consistent accountability platforms that SHOULD be set forth by management. The end result is each side pointing the finger at the other as to why leads failed to turn into customers.
Making the effort to gain successful alignment is definitely worth the struggle, as alignment can bring company focus and increased business revenue.
So what does it take? Here are 4 great tips to create an alignment between sales and marketing.
#1: Get on the same page.
Both marketing and sales should share the same overall ideas, and know the part they play. What is expected of an email campaign? When is a lead considered to be “hot?” It should be a clearly stated objective as to who does what in the buyer’s journey. If both teams agree on processes, it minimizes confusion and miscommunication.
#2: Consistently communicate.
People who share tend to understand one another better, and it’s the same in business. Meetings between marketing and sales with the goal of two-way feedback can be an effective tool to bring them into better alignment. The only caution on this idea is to make certain there is one person who keeps it on track. Maintaining positive communication is key; do not allow it to spiral into a ‘gripe’ session.
#3: Understand your buyers.
Sales’ and marketing’s opinion of WHO is actually a potential customer can be completely different, and this can cause big issues. If marketing is gearing campaigns toward large corporations, while sales is targeting medium size privately owned businesses, neither side will accomplish as much as if they were targeting the same buyer persona. To combat this, profiles need to be built by management, using long term satisfied customers as the model. Once this research is complete, management should educate both divisions on the actual buyer persona that should be focused on.
#4: Build plans together.
Set meeting times should be held at least quarterly with sales and marketing together to plan an aligned strategy. Is there a big tradeshow on the horizon that will take out most of sales’s time? It may not be the best time for marketing to roll out a big email campaign. By setting key initiatives together, both sides can share a common goal.
Aligning sales and marketing teams is no easy feat. The rewards, however, are worth the time and energy, and the ROI will will only increase from there.