According to a 2015 report, the misalignment of sales and marketing cost businesses $1 trillion annually in wasted marketing efforts and decreased sales productivity.
Tell me if this sounds familiar…
The company wants to increase sales and has a sales team and marketing team to accomplish this goal. The marketing team is thinking long-term, wanting to strategically grow brand awareness in key verticals. The sales team wants to move quickly because they have quotas to meet. The sales team points to the marketing team because they feel there are not enough quality leads, while the marketing team explains they need a bigger budget and questions what the sales team is doing since so many leads are not being converted.
So how do you get sales and marketing in sync?
Depending upon where I have been in my career, I have been referred as a marketing leader who knows how to sell, or a sales leader who knows marketing. To me, my passion lies with marketing, but I have held sales roles and understand both sides of the equation very intimately. So, here are six tips if you find yourself tasked with getting sales and marketing aligned.
1. Establish goals and how to measure them. It is critical both teams have goals that serve the same common goal, and objectives that support them. Further, it is important to have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) established to help measure the same metrics.
2. Define your target. Is the ideal prospect the same to both sales and marketing? Who are they and where can they be found? What is the best way to communicate with them? Inside information from the people on the front line – the sales team – will be crucial to helping marketing better understand the target, what messaging works, and what channels they prefer.
3. Share strategy. Sometimes, the best marketing plan can fail miserably… if sales isn’t prepared for it. Collaborate on what products or services are being featured, what the messaging and hook is, and which audience is being targeted and when. This way, sales can anticipate and understand the motivation of the buyer and be better prepared.
4. Determine definitions and responsibilities. Marketing efforts are generating activity, but are they leads? Are they warm (showing interest) or hot (ready to buy)? What does “qualified” really mean? How should sales prioritize? When does a lead leave marketing and become the responsibility of sales? Determine a way to grade and report on marketing-generated leads.
5. Communicate regularly. Feedback will help both departments work more effectively. Are the leads useful to sales? Is the sales team moving the leads further down the sales cycle through personal interaction? What new products/services are coming down the road? It is imperative both sides be honest and avoid the blame-game.
6. Celebrate as a team. While it is important both sales and marketing have their own teams, it is also important to remember they are one unit. So, make sure to regularly celebrate successes as one larger team, which also includes supporting roles from admin, operations, research and others.
And remember… sometimes personalities will clash. Especially when dealing with assertive behaviors. If you need help dealing with personalities different than your own, consider communication methods that better resonate with their style.
As a marketing and sales professional, I have seen both sides of the table and can understand the challenges each face. The trick is recognizing you are one team with the same goal and appreciating how each other’s efforts achieve that goal.
Your Guerrilla Marketer,
Rick Verbanas has brought his passion for marketing to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and not-for-profits. He strives to stay current in the latest marketing best practices, and provides a weekly roundup for your news and enjoyment. To subscribe to future blogs, please enter your email address on the left hand side of the home page.