Getting your sales and marketing teams on the same page is often easier said than done. The skills and abilities necessary to be successful in each role often require very different work styles.
Marketing focuses on the written word, expressed through messages and content, then enhanced and delivered through design. Sales focuses on the spoken word, backed by relationship development, awareness of customer concerns, and responding to new circumstances each day.
You need both kinds of experts on your team in order to achieve success, but you also need them to work together if that success is to last. Here are three ways you can achieve or strengthen alignment between your sales and marketing teams today:
1. Walk a Mile in My Moccasins
One valuable step is to have marketing team members join their sales colleagues in the field for selected customer visits, sales calls and closing meetings. If sales wants marketing to be more ‘real-world’ and sales-focused, they need to let marketers see and experience the sales environment firsthand.
In return, sales people need to take time to engage with marketing. For example, marketing can hold a roundtable on the content strategy for new product brochures that invites feedback from sales. And the next time marketing holds a customer focus group, sales people should be invited to observe.
2. Your Goals Are My Goals
The next key to achieving sales-marketing alignment is to tie the two teams together at the metrics level. Involve marketing in quota reviews, and tighten the definition of marketing’s role in sales success. If sales is to close ten deals per month and one deal on average requires ten new leads, then marketing needs to be generating a hundred properly qualified leads each month.
Let marketing put together the plan to achieve this, but then be prepared to invest in the plan. Lead generation is not cheap – new customers are expensive to obtain no matter how you look at it. By putting more focus on marketing’s role, you’re going to be shifting some of your investment to marketing, along with the responsibility to follow through.
3. From Disconnected to Digitized
The third key to tightening the relationship between marketing and sales is to get everyone on the same page, digitally. That means that your company should be using a single platform for lead generation, nurturing and conversion into sales opportunities.
First, you need a customer relationship management (CRM) system that is robust and flexible enough for your sales team to adopt. Then, you either need marketing automation tools for email, social media, website, etc. that integrate with the CRM, or you need your CRM and marketing automation to be part of the same platform.
The ultimate result is that everyone is working from a single database of contacts, and everyone is seeing the same metrics.
By taking these three steps, you’ll be setting a powerful foundation for achieving sales-marketing integration that will result in better lead generation, stronger sales opportunities, and better deal flow over time.