Sales and Marketing Relationships: Getting Them on the Same Page
This article originally appeared on ConnectLeader's B2B Sales Blog.
Companies that encourage good sales and marketing relationships generally enjoy higher revenues. Meanwhile, poor sales and marketing alignment often leads to drops in income. In fact, studies have found that strong marketing and sales alignment leads to an average of a 20 percent increase in revenue. However, a disconnect between these two departments leads to gradual declines.
Even though sales and marketing teams have the same general business goals to support, the departments may not communicate well or measure their performance in the same way. This often leads to important information not being shared across departments.
Benefits of Sales and Marketing Alignment
These are obvious benefits of reinforcing positive sales and marketing relationships:
- A positive work environment: Rather than working as rivals, both teams work together to meet sales goals.
- Improved MQLs for salespeople: The marketing department can gather feedback from sales to target customers who are more likely to buy.
- Better ROI and shorter sales cycles: Happier and more productive members of both teams align their efforts towards the same goals and share information about what works and what doesn't work so well.
- Improvement of both teams: The teams can work together to creatively brainstorm ideas to help each other improve.
Hold Regular Meetings
To achieve synergy between sales and marketing, it’s important to have regular meetings. Encourage open communication to discuss successes and issues. During these meetings, try to focus on improvement and not blame. Meetings don't have to last a long time, but they should be on the calendar regularly.
In these sales and marketing meetings, departments should agree on the same KPIs and sales goals in meetings. Over time, these goals may change as a company or departmental priorities shift. You should continuously re-evaluate these goals to ensure they still make sense. You may also need to restructure KPIs based on results.
Standardize on the lifetime value of a lead, and measure success in the same way. When teams share these metrics, sales and marketing relationships are much less tenuous.
Transparency Improves Sales and Marketing Alignment
A survey of 2,000 top executives found that people in the C-suite were aware of issues impeding communication between departments, making it difficult for companies to meet their goals. Sales and marketing teams may both need some training to ensure they use the same terms and understand how the other department functions. Once the two groups can understand the lingo of the other, it should be easy for the two teams to share information. For example:
- Marketers should share their tracking data, so the sales team understands where leads come from and where customers are in their buyer's journey.
- Salespeople should inform marketing about disqualification information that may appear obvious to people who work with client accounts but not to big-picture marketers.
Align on Collateral
Marketers are the ones providing salespeople the sales assets they need to share with customers. These assets might include brochures, pricing sheets, or even digital presentations. Both teams need to have input into the design of this sort of content and set up a system for ordering collateral on an as-needed basis. Sales and marketing also need to develop a rhythm so that sales material are requested far in advance. This eliminates issues with rushing to finish necessary assets or putting other time-sensitive projects on hold.
This problem might seem minor and easy to solve. At the same time, 65 percent of sales representatives complain that they cannot find the content that they need to send to their prospects and customers. By working with their marketing team, sales can close the gap on this problem and get the material they need to close that sale.
Stay on top of Current Trends
When sales and marketing departments align, it's important to learn from the past and look forward to the future. Team members should come together to examine current trends with an emphasis on planning for the future.
Video is playing a much bigger role in the buyer’s journey, enabling companies to send easily-consumable, bite-sized pieces of content to their audience with messages that help conversion.
Another sales and marketing trend that is gaining tracking in 2017 is closing sales via text message. This transition to text as a sales tool is another way to provide premium customer service to prospects and existing clients. Marketing can also use text as a way to alert prospects to deals or new products. Meanwhile, introducing the option of text message customer support can increase customer satisfaction rates. Text messaging is quickly becoming an all-encompassing tool that aids sales and marketing teams.
It’s not clear what new trends 2018 will bring, but sales and marketing will need to be on the lookout for the next big thing and continue to push the envelope (as a team) in order to maintain success.