7 tips for better sales and marketing alignment

We all know the importance of lead nurturing, lead scoring and lead management; and that 88% of best performing companies have aligned their sales and marketing teams. But in many companies, a cultural shift is required for sales and marketing teams to truly work together. 

1. Ride together

No, not fun days out together; ‘ride alongs’ mean spending an hour or a day watching what your counterparts in the other team do day-to-day. Spending some time learning about, say, the approach a sales rep has taken that hasn’t yet delivered the desired result can transform the marketing approach to individual clients to turn things around. This amazing case study from Forbes shows how one marketing team rose to the challenge in innovative ways.

2. Get together

Don’t just assume that people will work together and share information. Set up joint teams with members from the sales and marketing departments to identify what’s performing well, what needs fixing and how they can deliver solutions together. Get the sales and marketing managers together weekly for a briefing on who’s doing what, what happened last week and what’s expected this week. In the best-in-class companies identified in the Aberdeen Group’s recent report, sales and marketing managers met at least once a week.

3. Define terms together

Some of the biggest problems in aligning sales and marketing teams come from people failing to agree on the lingo. What’s a good ROI? A successful email campaign? If you leave it to the individual departments to decide, marketing will say if the results aren’t good enough that they need more budget – and sales will say they need better leads. A common vocabulary in the form of quantifiable figures can pour oil on these troubled waters and prevent the blame game.

4. Plan together

Whether it’s geographical regions, industry verticals or individual products and services, the sales and marketing managers for each area should sit down together every quarter to make joint plans. They should analyse opportunities, evaluate past marketing campaigns and then set objectives and strategies for achieving them together for the coming quarter.

5. Score together

Everyone agreeing what constitutes a hot lead and one that needs a hat and scarf to even get to body temperature will go a long way in bringing sales and marketing together. This study by MarketingSherpa shows that working thoughtfully as a team to design your lead scoring system can increase conversions by 79%.

6. Play well together

With marketing automation, marketing will find sales enablement a cinch. Your marketers can share detailed information about prospects, such as letting sales know when prospects are currently on your website or tweeting about your product so they can give them a call. Many companies have enjoyed success by encouraging marketing to listen carefully to what the sales team needs - for instance, Cross Telecom empowered its sales team to be their own marketers by providing them with email templates to use, which resulted in a 47% increase in new opportunities. 

Passing leads back and forth like a strictly choreographed drill team, your marketing and sales teams will soon realise that sharing makes everyone more powerful.  

7. Celebrate together

When a lead has been successfully turned into a customer, recognise the part that everyone played and don’t just claim the success for one person or team. If both teams see how vital their part was, that knowledge informs everything they do going forward. But once the party is over, review what worked, what didn’t work so well and plan how you can do it even better next time, together!

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