A bridge over troubled water: how to link sales and marketing

Optimising the way sales and marketing teams work together and collaborate for go-to-market (GTM) success has long been a key consideration for B2B businesses. Aligning these two departments is vital to building a more powerful business engine and removing inconsistencies across the GTM process.

However, achieving the desired level of symbiosis can be easier said than done – often having a direct impact on business success. For example, IDC suggests that the misalignment of sales and marketing can cost companies an average of 10% or more of annual revenue. Another recent report suggests that companies are 70% more likely to see revenues grow year over year if their sales and marketing teams collaborate effectively, with cooperation around strategic and tactical initiatives and KPIs being particularly beneficial.

With employees working remotely and the pressure to drive sales higher than ever as a result of the disruption caused by Covid-19, empowering these two teams to work together more efficiently and effectively has taken on a newfound importance. And there are plenty of opportunities available for those businesses that are prepared to rethink the way they foster these internal relationships.

Now is the time to break down any internal silos that may still exist once and for all. But how can B2B businesses successfully bridge the gap between sales and marketing and start driving GTM effectiveness?

Cultivate a collaborative mindset

The first step any business must take is to actively promote and encourage the idea of collaboration across the organisation. Internal alignment won’t just happen by itself; it must be nurtured from the very top of the organisation, all the way down to the bottom.

Sales and marketing leaders should implement frequent and direct communication between their teams and define common goals to ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction. As joint workshops and informal in-person gatherings aren’t possible at the moment, team leads must find other ways to share key information. Virtual meetups offer an effective alternative.

Also, be sure to establish performance metrics and track against them. Although sales and marketing may be on different teams, everyone involved has the same objective – completing sales to drive business growth.

This can all go a long way towards breaking down the barriers and misconceptions that sales and marketing may have about each other. With 46% of marketers feeling that sellers don’t understand what’s important to the marketing team, and 31% of sellers perceiving a disconnect between the two departments, overcoming these attitudes is vital to creating one cohesive unit.

Amidst such ongoing disruption, cultivating a collaborative mindset across the organisation represents a vital first step towards true sales and marketing alignment.

Embrace technology

Of course, shared goals and better communication can only get you so far. Being able to bridge the gap between sales and marketing in a way that delivers positive business outcomes largely comes down to the digital platforms that are made available to employees. Technology has a valuable role to play in centralising processes and improving GTM effectiveness.

For example, sales and marketing can never truly be aligned if everyone is using different content or struggling to find the right content. The result will be an inconsistent brand story, likely leading to clashes between the two teams. Deploying a centralised content management platform can solve this problem by ensuring that everyone is connected and using the latest approved content.

Armed with a single repository and intelligent content management capabilities that can guide decisions about whether to retain, remove, or update content, sellers and marketers can significantly increase their productivity and effectiveness.

On the one hand, sellers will have easy access to all content that has been updated with relevant messaging for the changing business environment – as well as content that complies with brand guidelines and any regulatory requirements. And on the other hand, marketing teams will have a stronger link to sales, enabling them to empower sellers by providing easy access to content that solves customer challenges and addresses their needs.

This should then be supplemented with predictive and analytics capabilities to help sales and marketing teams get the most value out of the content being produced. An AI-powered predictive engine can surface the right content, for the right customer, at the right time. This ensures that content is aligned to different stages of the buyer journey, making it more likely to resonate and move the sales cycle forwards.

At the same time, engagement analytics can provide in-depth insights into how prospects are engaging with the content shared by sales. The best performing content can then be surfaced automatically to sellers based on historical performance, while marketers can make data-driven decisions about how to optimise the future content they create.

Ultimately, although there are many ways for businesses to more closely align their sales and marketing teams, it’s technology that will provide the biggest impact. By centralising and connecting processes through digital platforms, businesses will empower a new level of sales and marketing collaboration. The end goal? A cohesive cross-department partnership that will truly drive GTM effectiveness in the months and years to come.

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