I have worked on both sides of the sales and marketing team for various companies and here is the reality…sales and marketing departments aren’t always on the same page. Shocking, right?
Probably not, unless you are the one company whose sales and marketing department has figured it out. If you are that company please reach out to me on Twitter so that I can buy you a beer in the near future and hear how you are doing it.
A study by the Corporate Executive Boardrevealed that 87 percent of the terms used by sales and marketing to describe one another are negative. Startling statistic considering these two departments are responsible for company growth and in creating predictable revenue. Selling services online and generating demand are both hard to do but they create an incredible engine when done right. While many executives are aware of the benefits of sales and marketing alignment, these departments continue to operate in silos. So the question remains, what is going on?
Sales and marketing alignment often requires a shift in corporate culture, and, as you know, this process takes time and two willing parties. Here are three easy steps you can take to align your sales and marketing departments.
Step 1: Walk a Mile in Their Shoes and Simply Listen
Let me ask you, Do you really know what your sales or marketing counterparts do on a daily basis? What are the common challenges they face? What is their decision making process?
Chances are you probably cannot answer those questions. One of the best practices you can do regularly is spend a few days with your counterparts with an ear bent to listen to what problems they are solving. This is key to sales and marketing team communication. If you’re sales rep asks your marketing team about what they are finding on their social listening dashboards.
If your on the marketing side of the fence you constantly are looking at what content needs to be created whether its for the blog, video channels or social media accounts. Your inbound marketing strategy lives and dies by the valuable content that you create. Sit down with your sales team and ask each rep for 10 questions that have been coming up frequently, that information is content creation gold.
Step 2: Define a Performance Agreement Between Sales and Marketing
When you spend some time listening to your counterparts you will pick up on so many simple attributes about the business that you didn’t even know existed. After taking the time to do this it’s important to establish a written agreement between the two departments to keep a form of accountability.
This agreement should include performance measurable metrics, such as the number of qualified leads marketing will deliver to sales on a monthly basis for example. In all honesty when the marketing department does their job well, they should be the sales team biggest advocate. If the sales team consistently closes on the qualified leads that are being provided the loyalty between the teams will continue to build. This agreement also creates a platform where the teams can talk monthly if one department is having issues or problems with the leads being handed over or the sales that aren’t being closed.
Step 3: Do Business Together and Communicate Often
Which leads us to our last step, Communication. Like every relationship, frequent communication is an essential. Don’t limit the communication between departments to just senior executives, but rather include team members at all levels. Sales reps should be attending marketing meetings and vice versa. Rather than guessing what information should be included on the next inbound marketing campaign, why not ask sales what would be helpful to them? You will build a more effective B2B sales funnel when you practice this regularly. What type of buyer persona are they seeing the most success with lately?
When it comes down to it sales and marketing alignment within a company is based upon trust, healthy communication and following through on the work that has been agreed upon.
What are your tips for aligning sales and marketing?