Top tips for ensuring Sales and Marketing join-up
Why is it so important to align Sales and Marketing? Quite simply because the marketplace has changed. In the past, Sales and Marketing could operate as separate entities. Sales was more about the customer, Marketing more about the brand. Marketing would generate interest in a product, and the Sales team would be ready to jump on any leads, providing product information and working to close the deal. Today, the picture is quite different and more complex. Products, trends and solutions change rapidly and customers can access all the information they need with the click of a button. Customers enter the sales funnel further down than they used to, because they already know about a product from online demos and other Marketing content, as well as independent customer reviews.
To succeed in today’s market the two departments need to team up. They need to be working towards the same goals and understand their part in achieving them. But how can you make sure your Sales and Marketing teams are pulling in the same direction? It’s not enough to make a plea that they ‘just try to get on with each other’. It’s a business responsibility to promote an environment that fosters and encourages collaboration and open dialogue. You can achieve this in a number of ways.
Start by hiring like-minded people with a similar outlook and way of working. A good chemistry is a solid foundation for the next step – more communication. Marketing and Sales departments need a good understanding of the others’ day-to-day roles. Marketing could join Sales on visits, or listen in on calls. A ‘day in the life’ job swap could also encourage join-up. By being ‘on the ground’, Marketing can learn more about identifying leads, what the obstacles are, and how to overcome them with the right messaging. This will help them develop the right tools and collateral for Sales to use. Likewise, Sales can shadow Marketing to understand how messaging, content and campaigns are formed and reported upon. All of this will add value, building the relationship and encouraging them to spend more time together.
It is vital to get both parties around the table at the very beginning of the year/quarter/project/campaign to agree goals and objectives. Planning campaigns and communications together will make them consistent and coherent for the customer, which in turn will make it easier for the customer to buy. You should also align sales targets with commission plans and marketing/resources budgets. Agreeing on KPIs and performance-based targets will also drive joined-up behaviour. You could even set up a form of 2-way service level agreement (SLA) – Marketing agrees to help Sales achieve the right level of leads, and Sales commits to delivering on those leads. This will give the greatest opportunity to convert leads and boost ROI.
Another tip that can really make a difference is investing in Sales and Marketing technology, and using it well. Budgets can be spent on events, multichannel marketing, inbound marketing, automation technology and lead generation, but if you’re not clear on how you aim to use these tools to best effect for both Sales and Marketing goals, then they’re wasted. Again, opening up dialogue between Marketing and Sales can really help to qualify what you need and how best to get there.
Watch the 2 minute thought-leadership video clip: Top tips for ensuring effective sales and marketing join-up