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Marketing

6 Tips to Align your Sales and Marketing Teams

Factors
April 13, 2023
Table of Contents

6 Tips to Align your Sales and Marketing Teams

Sales and marketing are like twins that don’t get along. Teams often confuse the two because they work along similar lines. In fact, both teams are often given a shared budget to divide amongst themselves. 

In a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, when sales and marketing teams were asked to describe each, the two had nothing but negative comments. “Paper pusher” and “irrelevant” were the top terms used to describe the marketing team. On the other hand, some words that the marketing team used to describe the sales team included “incompetent” and “simple-minded” (Source).

Of course, this rift between sales and marketing has existed since the beginning of, well, sales and marketing. 

But what if…what if…both sales and marketing could join forces to work together? 

What can sales and marketing teams achieve when tightly aligned? 

Well, organizations that have their sales and marketing teams on the same page enjoy the following: 

  1. 36% higher customer retention rates
  2. 38% higher win rates (Source)
  3. 67% improvement in deal closures
  4. 209% more revenue from marketing (Source)
  5. 20% annual growth rate (Source)
  6. Save 30% Customer Acquisition Costs  (Source)

Then the next question is—How can you get your sales and marketing teams on the same page? Here are a few tips that will help! 

6 strategies to align sales and marketing

1. Align Goals to ROI

Sales and marketing teams have different ways of looking at their goals. While sales teams have monthly, quarterly, and annual deadlines, this concept is foreign to the marketing team that has never been linked to revenue performance. 

Since both teams work in different styles, confining either one to follow the other process will result in unnecessary friction. 

But the one thing that doesn’t change is their goals. 

In the end, both their goals should be improving ROI. Taking the focus away from the journey and putting it on the result can even both the teams’ paces and unite them. 

2. Employ Lead Qualification

Another area where both teams find themselves at odds is when a successful campaign from the marketing team does not translate into higher conversions for the sales team.

marketing and sales strip

The culprit behind this is lead quality. 

If the leads being generated are not interested in buying the company’s product, no matter how many prospects flow into your sales funnel, the end conversion rate will be the same. 

One way to improve lead quality is by qualifying them. 

Apart from this, lead qualification offers three other benefits: it help the marketing team understand whom they’re supposed to target, get both teams on the same page, and reduce the sales team’s efforts. 

Then, how does one employ lead qualification?

One way to qualify a lead is to get both teams to sit together and build an ideal customer profile (ICP). An ICP is basically a customer profile of the business’s ideal buyers. It answers questions like how much they would be willing to spend, where they are more likely to live, what communication channels they are more likely to use, and what they are looking for. 

The next step involves setting up a presales team that sorts the leads into invalid, uninterested, partly interested, and interested, before sending the leads forward. The invalid and uninterested leads get discarded. 

The marketing team’s goal is to reduce the number of invalids and uninterested leads, whereas the sales team’s job is to convert the remaining two categories into clients. 

These two steps can result in smoother operations between sales and marketing. 

3. Use a CRM

Lack of communication is the biggest reason for disconnected sales and marketing teams. Since sales and marketing teams are usually swamped with their own work, it can get tricky to find time to interact with each other.

A Customer Relationship Management Software solves this problem by centralizing information. This allows different teams to access resources and monitor each other’s activities, keeping everyone on the same page. 

CRMs also help nurture leads, track journeys, decrease duplication of efforts, provide deeper insights and analytics about customers, and score leads, all of which allow better decision-making and harmony between teams. 

And if that isn’t enough, the software also provides sales and marketing automation, speeding up the groups’ efforts and saving them time. 

4. Invest in Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is one of the most common methods companies employ to align their sales and marketing teams. How it helps companies is by:

1. Encouraging marketers and sales reps to interact

The marketing team needs to notify the sales team whenever they update new content. This forces them to reach out and interact with the sales reps. Similarly, sales reps must provide feedback on how the content helps them and what improvements can be made, thus, improving communication between the two.

2. Giving marketers and sellers an idea of what content resonates with customers the most

Once marketers create new content, they understand which content the sales team uses more and which is used less, thus helping them make better content to enable the reps. 

Sales reps can also understand the type of prospects they are interacting with through the marketing team’s enablement content. This allows them to change their pitch according to the customer segment they are dealing with, which results in more closures. 

3. Ensuring that the content remains on brand

When sellers have difficulty finding the right content, they might modify the material they already have to suit their sales purposes. This saves them time, but it might not necessarily be brand compliant. 

Sales enablement allows representatives to modify materials on the fly using only pre-approved content. Furthermore, it gives marketers access to each modification made by each seller. This allows the marketing team to analyze what sellers are looking for in the material and which ones they are finding difficulty in navigating. This will be really beneficial for future asset optimization and improvement.

5. Attend Each Other’s Meetings

For companies that haven’t yet employed a CRM or an update tracking software, the best way for sales and marketers to keep tabs on each other’s updates is by actually attending their meetings. 

Or better still, holding a dedicated joint meeting weekly or monthly can bring both teams on the same page. This ensures everyone is on the same page regarding that quarter's goals, tactics, expectations, strategies, and performance progress. 

Here are some tips for holding a fruitful sales and marketing meeting

1. Set a proper agenda

Collect the agendas to be discussed beforehand and allot specific times for them to ensure all the topics are discussed. Remember to keep buffer time in case the topics drag on and the time taken to finalize a decision on that agenda. 

2. Keep changing the themes

One way to avoid having complicated agendas with broad topics is by grouping them under different themes. Keeping one theme per weekly meeting can simplify the agenda and burden both teams less. 

Some popular sales and marketing themes include: 

  • Strategies Discussion – Held to discuss the strategies that have been working and the strategies that need to be changed or dropped. 
  • Performance Reviews – How the teams’ efforts contribute to achieving goals and how much they have progressed. 
  • Buyer Behaviour – Held to discuss any changes and improvements that can be made regarding buyer engagement or to discuss the results of an already published campaign. 
  • CCC review – Held to review and discuss marketing and sales content, campaigns to be published or made, and any notable moves competitors have made. 

And since there is a theme for each meeting, all members of both teams need not have to attend. Instead, they can look at the meeting minutes later, saving them time to do other work. 

3. Share the agenda beforehand and assign representatives to speak

The last way to ensure fruitful meetings is to share the topics to be discussed beforehand. This gives both teams time to prepare in advance. Furthermore, assigning representatives saves time for reps and marketers who must sit through the entire length of the meeting to discuss minute topics. 

6. Talk out the discrepancies

It’s common to have disagreements between sales reps and marketers over different issues. However, while they might seem trivial, these conflicts must be dealt with utmost care to not give the illusion that one team is favored over the other. 

Another common issue is that both teams might not say out loud whether they agree or not with each other for the fear of retaliation or confrontation. 

One solution to these problems is encouraging both teams to provide constructive criticism. Sales and marketing employees can be taught how to provide feedback without sounding rude. 

And to ensure that the feedback is formalized and the interactions stay respectful, it can be organized on dedicated venues like forums or a weekly critics session. 

The final step is to rinse and repeat these 6 steps. But remember, like all other strategies, they will soon become obsolete and ineffective if your business doesn’t regularly revisit and update them. 

Ultimately, aligning both sales and marketing teams is always important, no matter how big or small a business is. While these are very effective strategies, each company knows its employees the best and, thus, should also consider additional custom methods apart from these as well. 

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