10 Fundamental Practices for Marketing and Sales Alignment
There are various dichotomies that have shaped our world history: Communism vs Capitalism, Tupac vs. Biggie Smalls, Cronus vs Zeus, and of course, Russia vs Poland-Lithuania. Within the work field, people might be more accustomed to the stark differences in thinking styles between scientists and engineers, but marketing and sales teams could very well be the next West coast / East coast blood feud. Companies find themselves at a point where many marketing and sales functions are becoming more specialised while others are overlapping due to various software advancements. Nevertheless, with the link between marketing and sales clearer than ever before, you might be wondering how to actually achieve marketing and sales alignment.
This article will explain some key strategies to help achieve this alignment and make sure that both your marketing and sales teams are working in synergy (yes, I said it).
Ensure a Feedback Loop between Marketing and Sales
Salespeople often hear very relevant insights from their client calls and prospects that can help your marketing team understand what is really attracting customers to the company. This could mean what kind of content and messaging resonates, or what type of marketing campaigns are better for different target leads.
Keep the Sales Department up to date with Marketing Initiatives.
A sales rep can be very successful outreaching to potential leads with relevant marketing content. Whether this content is a report related specifically to the industry in question, an article that is helpful for the prospect’s function or a new promotion campaign, using this content in direct outreach can be very effective. Sharing the marketing calendar to the sales team to keep them up to date with promotions, content and other campaigns is a great way to achieve this alignment. Additionally, writing them specific ideas on how to use this content can be worthwhile extra step.
Have Marketing Join or Listen to Sales Calls.
Having a marketing professional in a sales call can extensively help a salesperson to promote and explain a product to a prospect. Furthermore, it helps create the aforementioned feedback loop between sales and marketing. Even having marketing people listen to relevant sales call recordings can be a great substitute for this.
Provide Sales Team with Guidance for Content Sharing and Social Selling
As social selling becomes an increasingly prominent methodology for both inbound and outbound lead generation, social media and especially Linkedin plays a growing role in the sales playbook. However, salespeople may not be equipped with the necessary knowledge and data on how to structure their content sharing or how to interact with relevant content from prospects. Having the marketing team provide the sales team with guides on how to post relevant news and content can be a great way to achieve alignment. This type of material can involve what hashtags to input into the post or what meta text to use for example.
Create Similar Processes and Terminology
Overall this covers a large part of Smarketing and overlaps which some of our other points. In general, Smarketing means having an integrated approach to marketing and sales. According to Hubspot, companies which integrate the process of both departments have 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts. These kinds of processes involve tracking joint KPI’s, creating a single customer journey and a clear and accessible sales funnel for both teams. More specifically, using similar terminology about what counts as a “prospect” versus a “lead”, or more specifically what is an SQL, MQL, or SAL (it is rumoured that this secret is guarded deep in the Slytherin dungeon), can help communication and efficiency between both teams.
Have Common Goals for both Sales and Marketing
This somewhat speaks for itself but having aligned goals are the backbone of a strongly linked marketing and sales team. An example of this is lead generation objectives. A marketing team may generate a high quantity of leads but if these are of low quality, the sales team may face a low conversion rate. However, if the goal of marketing is to generate leads that convert at a high rate, this will keep both teams working more effectively together.
Implement Clear Communication Channels between the Two Teams
Marketing and sales alignment can sometimes be as simple as ensuring the two teams have clear opportunities to share insights with each other. This can entail monthly or weekly feedback meetings on different relevant marketing / sales topics or even simply having a Slack channel for these kind of cross-departmental communications. Attending industry or networking events together as well as joining the meetings of the other department creates an ongoing information flow that can be very beneficial for both teams.
Leverage High-Quality Sales Funnel Data
Having consistent and in-depth performance data on the sales funnel ensures that teams can observe which tactics are working and what needs improvement in terms of lead generation and conversion. In addition, having high quality and comprehensive data within the CRM systems makes it much easier for sales target, nurture and personalise their outreach to potential leads.
Use Sales Enablement Tools
There are a myriad of sales enablement tools available which make the handoff between sales and marketing a much more seamless process. Simultaneously, keeping sales enablement resources such as presentations, or relevant content in an easy place for sales to access can be a simple way to make life easier for the sales reps.
Spend Social Time Together
Okay, maybe you didn’t need to read this article to figure this out. But if your marketing and sales team actually “like” each other (as much as that is possible within an office), then that vastly increases communication between the two teams. Moreover, company culture is crucial to job satisfaction, which in turn has a direct correlation with productivity. Having both teams integrated outside the office as well as within can help create a strong culture between both teams to create a larger team feeling.