Sales and marketing teams have forever being painted as office rivals – despite working towards the same goal.
With most marketing now being mostly digital – it should be trackable, meaning just like sales, marketing teams are held more accountable than ever for their contributions to sales and revenue. With this in mind, sales and marketing teams should be working together now more than ever to boost returns.
Businesses have been trying to synchronise their sales and marketing teams for years, and debates as to the best practices to do this are constant. However, given the rise of hybrid working, many departments are not in the office at the same time, leading to further fragmentation.
With many people choosing to work select days in the office and at home, there is a risk of a disjointed workforce – and with the necessity of sales and marketing teams to be cohesive, it’s important to take a look at what steps can be taken to ensure synchronicity between the two teams.
After all, research shows that businesses with highly aligned sales and marketing teams can expect to see a 20% increase in annual growth.
Pete Evans of SalesStar UK looks at the steps that can be taken to achieve this:
Communication is Key
The primary issue when it comes to aligning sales and marketing teams is communication. The two teams though wanting the same results for the business are working towards different departmental goals. Through regular communication – be that weekly, in-person or virtual, touching base and giving feedback will be mutually beneficial. While chats by the water cooler may be happening less frequently at the moment, informal meetings to build trust is a good foundation point to start.
Following on from that, regular meetings to discuss any feedback should be scheduled. During these meetings, the marketing teams can use sales to gain a better understanding of the customer to create more tailored strategies, with working knowledge of what is or isn’t working in the sales calls.
As well as schedule meetings, a flow of communication between the two teams should be encouraged – once they understand they are working as a partnership this should come more freely.
Create Customer Personas together
Creating a mutual understanding of the business’ customer ensures that both teams know exactly who they’re targeting. They understand where to find them, their pain points, why they want the service – this is clearly beneficial for both the marketing and the sales team, and by defining them together ensures no wires are crossed and allows input from one team that may not have been raised by the other, as both teams have entirely different interactions with the customer.
Come to an Agreement
A great way to encourage the alignment of sales and marketing is through the implementation of Service Level Agreements (SLAs). SLAs defines what either team are individually working towards to support the other team.
An example of SLAs is the marketing team committing to deliver a specific number of leads to help the sales team, whilst the sales team commit to follow up on those leads and make a set number of attempts before declaring it cold.
Find the ideal lead
Not all leads come from the same place, we know this. But research shows that 79% of marketing leads don’t convert to sales when the two teams aren’t synced. This could be due to several reasons, the main one being the lack of communication between the two teams meaning that the marketing team don’t actually know what leads work.
The marketing team may get frustrated that the sales team aren’t turning their leads into sales. If marketing qualified leads (MQLs) aren’t working, is it the fault of the sales team for not nurturing the lead efficiently, or was the marketing content not perfectly targeted or executed?
There’s no need for the blame game here because there is a solution to both. Firstly the sales team need to be transparent in what leads work. This will help the marketing team focus on the correct points, and make more progress and ultimately provide fewer leads that fail to be converted.
Businesses should also consider sales coaching. While this doesn’t directly help to align the sales and marketing team, helping the salespeople nurture leads, and helping them learn what points to be able to pick up on that the marketing team would find useful would be beneficial to both teams.
Find the right software
Many sales and marketing teams use CRM, however, it is either used inefficiently or is not aligned between the two teams. 71% of businesses with high sales and marketing alignment rely on CRM software. Deciding upon the right CRM software for your business allows you to help bridge the gap between the marketing data from the customer and how that can be the best use to create sales leads and opportunities.
We all know two hands are better than one. When working in unison your sales and marketing team will complement each other. Though they are two separate departments, they should be ensuring that they can become one unified team and enabling the other to reach their goals and to reach their shared goals together.
A culture of communication can still be created through hybrid work. We have had 18 months of practice with the technology that comes with working from home, and this is no longer a barrier. Though teams could go the extra mile to ensure they are both in the office for in-person meetings – this isn’t always an option for everyone, and we know virtual meetings can be just as productive. Not being physically present is no longer an excuse for a lack of communication between teams– we all know it’s possible.