Traditionally, marketing and sales teams had very different goals and operated completely separately.
Marketing's central mission was simply to generate leads, and their goals were (and still are) often tied to metrics like website traffic, new leads, and lead conversion rates.
On the other hand, sales teams are focused on sales calls, deals, and close rates. This leads to the two groups sometimes working in isolation from each other, hobbling their ability to truly succeed.
There needs to be marketing and sales alignment to ensure the two are working together as efficiently as possible to serve the customer. When marketing and sales are not aligned, the potential consequences could include:
- Marketing delivering leads that are poor quality.
- With no feedback on ROI, the Marketing team can't justify their own budgetary needs.
- Sales has no idea how the prospects / leads are being nurtured or where a prospect's interest lies, forcing them to rely on spammy "scripts" that chase qualified leads away.
- Sales becomes used to poor quality leads because "that's just how it is".
- The quality of leads received by sales are simply too poor to even work with.
- The company ends up losing money generating leads that Sales can't do anything with.
The end result is inefficient, costly, pointless, and probably also a pretty bad experience for any qualified prospects that make it through.
Your company could be saving thousands of dollars per month and generating high quality leads by simply aligning your marketing and sales teams. If you're looking for a place to start, here are five best practices:
1. Senior Management Makes It A Priority
The alignment of Sales and Marketing must be prioritized by senior management.
Forcing marketing and sales teams to operate in isolation from one another encourages the company to underperform. While there is a perfectly natural inclination to resist change within the business world, it is no longer acceptable for a company to accept a lesser return on investment because "that's the way it's always been done."
Non-participation is not an option.
2. Work Together
When marketing and sales teams work together, they can significantly improve lead generation, sales productivity, and ROI.
Here are a few simple ways to improve how your marketing and sales teams can work together:
- Schedule weekly meetings to review: progress, opportunities for improvement, and feedback from both teams.
- Establish common goals that will help to ensure company success.
- Keep the Sales team updated on what's happening in Marketing, through a shared calendar or other update system.
- Sales team members should subscribe to and share content being produced by the Marketing team. This helps the sales team stay on top of how information about the company is being communicated to prospects and customers, and also provides an opportunity for Sales to build credibility within their industry.
3. Establish Common Goals
If all efforts and resources are aligned to shared goals, then the ability to achieve those revenue goals is greatly increased.
The first shared goal should be revenue. Marketing can't simply hand off leads to Sales and call it a day. They need to be delivering quality leads that allow sales to work more efficiently and close more deals.
Once everyone is on the same page regarding the end goal, then both groups need to come together to develop the best strategy to get there. We'll take a closer look at this in a future post, but Lead Scoring, Lead Qualification, and Service Level Agreements are all perfect places to get started.
Here is a great article from HubSpot that goes into much more detail on Marketing & Sales Service Level Agreements.
4. Develop a Content Marketing Plan Together
At Waypost, we like to develop content marketing plans in 90-day sprints. We run our business on the principles of the Entrepreneurial Operating System™, and apply those same traction principles to content marketing plans.
Marketing typically spends a lot of time creating educational content for prospects at the top of the sales funnel. However, they need to be creating content for all stages of the sales funnel. An easy way to do this is to regularly review and brainstorm ideas with the sales team.
Some good questions to ask are:
- What questions are prospects asking?
- What are the most common concerns you hear from prospects?
- What content does sales need to enable them to be more effective and efficient, i.e. sales enablement content?
- Do you need better case studies, video testimonials, etc.?
- What content would help sales close more deals, faster?
Once you have a content marketing plan in place, you should make it accessible to both teams via a shared content calendar.
5. Utilize Technology
The advances in marketing software solutions make it easier than ever to align the efforts of marketing and sales, while also proving ROI.
Marketing software (like HubSpot coupled with HubSpot's Free CRM) allow companies to close the loop between marketing and sales efforts. When done correctly, both teams can see how many customers are generated through marketing efforts. You can also see which marketing efforts are most effective with capturing new customers and which don't work so well.
Finally, you can make senior management happy by providing the true ROI of your marketing activities.
Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Fully Aligned?
If you need help with crafting a content marketing strategy that helps your current marketing team align more fully with what your prospects are searching for (and the goals your sales team is shooting for), we're here to help. Waypost Marketing provides Inbound Marketing in Greenville, SC. We've worked with large- and small-scale clients, including B2B clients in heavily regulated or complex industries.