Batman and Robin. Bonnie and Clyde. Tom and Jerry. Rick and Morty.
What do these pairs have in common? They’re all classic duos, and you can’t possibly imagine one without the other. Of course, one on their own could technically work as a lone ranger, but nowhere near as well as it would with its partner.
The same goes for sales and marketing. Sales work on its own, as does marketing. But when the two work together, that’s where the magic happens.
Difficulties with aligning marketing and sales
Aligning marketing and sales, depending on a number of factors, can be a bit of a tricky process. Not only is it imperative to business success, but it is also somewhat difficult to measure. And, often the most problematic part – it can take a lot of people management, too.
Most companies have separate sales and marketing teams, but the more they work together in unison with one another, the more successful the business is going to see. You may have heard the phrase, “Sales is pursuing the customer, and marketing is making the customer pursue you”. This still rings true in the business world and is the core reason why the two teams must work together, in order to approach their potential customers from all angles.
- Digital marketing strategies are put in place to gain brand awareness, to inform customers of your services and to generate leads
- Sales team members are there to give further information to customers, to advise customers on what they would recommend, and to turn leads into conversions
- Digital marketing would work on its own, but generating leads without a salesperson to convert the lead into a sale can be tricky
- Salespeople can generate their own individual leads, but this is a long-winded process when they could also be utilising the leads brought in by the marketing team
How to improve your sales and marketing alignment
Firstly, take a look at your current processes. There are three key questions to start off with:
- What are the common goals of your sales and marketing teams?
- Do your sales and marketing teams have regular meetings to discuss what they’re working on together?
- Are there any pain points that need to be addressed in order to streamline the process?
When you have the answers to these questions, compare them to the information below in order to be able to put a plan in place.
Firstly, there need to be constant common goals between the two teams. 68% of marketers think sales teams don’t take full advantage of their content to generate leads, which is simply down to not having common goals. If the objective of one team does not align with the other, both are going to run into some lead conversion problems. It’s vital that all your employees are buyer-centric; no matter what your products or services are, it’s imperative that all employees are constantly thinking of the customer or consumer at all times.
For this reason, you need to ensure your customer personas are based on a combination of data and what you’re aiming for as a business. If you combine your current customer base with who you’re also looking to target, this information can be split into two or three customer personas. From here, your sales and marketing teams will be able to work together to bring in more of your core demographic in a unified, buyer-centric process.
It’s absolutely key for both teams to be involved in this process. It’s easy for the marketing team to analyse the data and create names, profiles and information on each customer persona. However, keeping the sales team in the loop will give your marketing team better insight into who these customers really are, as well as who the sales staff are looking to target going forward. After all – they’re the people who interact with them one on one.
Lastly, don’t forget that a key part of sales and marketing alignment is having regular meetings. 1 in 3 B2B sales and marketing teams don’t have regular meetings, which could massively impact their revenue long-term. (Don’t believe it? Companies with aligned sales and marketing teams are 50% more likely to expect increased budgets.) Depending on your company goals and the objectives and workload of each team, these meetings could be done weekly or fortnightly, and at the very least, monthly. Here, both teams can discuss what they’ve been working on, what has been successful, what hasn’t, and what they can collaborate on going forward.
Keeping regular communication is vital, otherwise, all alignment will quickly be lost and teams could be aiming for completely different goals. That’s probably the reason why 65% of sales representatives can’t find content to send to potential clients.
Team meetings between sales and marketing are a great opportunity to discuss any pain points, as well as:
- Content ideas
- Social media suggestions
- Targeting new customers
- Specific sales goals that need marketing assistance
- Seasonal ideas
- Process updates
- Paid advertising requests
Don’t forget – meetings are great brainstorming sessions, and not all content ideas need to come exclusively from the marketing team.
Say goodbye to vanity metrics
Knowing what you should be measuring is vital when it comes to sales and marketing alignment. Metrics such as MQLs – also known as ‘marketing-qualified leads’ – are unfortunately at the bottom of the priority list. They may help marketers keep track of certain steps in their process being successful, but that’s pretty much it.
What do your sales and marketing teams track, measure and report on every month? What do they learn from their data analysis? If they’re not sure, it’s almost certain they aren’t measuring the right metrics. Look into lifetime customer value, sales-qualified leads, lead generation through your website and social media, data capture and ROI. As long as the two teams are on the same page with what their goals are and how success is being measured, the alignment will only benefit the business going forward.
Marketing automation will help streamline the process
Marketing automation can mean quite a few different things, depending on what your business objectives are. However, one thing many marketing teams struggle with is encouraging sales teams to share content on social media. Why? Because the sales teams often struggle to see the value in it, which is a misalignment in itself.