Sales & Marketing Alignment – Why it’s Important
Imagine driving to a place you’ve never been to without using a phone or a GPS to help you find your way. In today’s technology age, we understand that using real-time data allows us to get to our destination in the least amount of time using the best route. Trying to navigate without the use of a GPS, or even a map, might make it feel like you will never find your way. Once you find your way, it can feel like you wasted time and money while driving directionless.
In business, having a disconnected sales and marketing team can often feel like operating without a GPS on an unknown road, as it is ineffective and could be costing your company sales. Aligned sales and marketing teams help companies grow, in research done by Sirius Decisions, organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing teams achieve 19% faster revenue growth and 15% higher profitability.
Is your marketing and sales team aligned?
When it comes to relationships, we have all had someone tell us that “Communication is key”, and they are right. Without communication, being able to have successful collaboration is impossible. When there is a disconnect between teams, customers may hear multiple messages, sales are lost and content created by the marketing team will go unused. Beyond the wasted resources, disconnected sales and marketing teams will grow frustrated with each other, creating a poor work culture.
Sales and marketing should be viewed as a dynamic partnership, as both sides need each other. In basketball, an assist happens when a player passes the ball to a teammate and the other teammate makes a shot. Similarly, in the sales and marketing relationship, the work the marketing team does sets up the sales team to help bring the sale to a successful close. Working together to create the best practice strategies for targeting leads and nurturing relationships points to a successful company. The marketing and sales team still have their roles to perform, but when the two teams are aligned, the customer experience is improved, and an increase in revenue typically follows.
Avoiding Wasted Content
One of the largest issues seen with a disconnected sales and marketing team is content going to waste. Up to 80% of the content that marketing teams create will go unused by the sales team, according to a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and LinkedIn. Wasted content frustrates both teams. For marketing, they are upset that the sales team did not use what they made and can feel unrewarded in their dedicated efforts to make strategic content. On the other side, the sales team can become frustrated with the marketing team for not providing what they need, which would make their jobs and closing sales easier.
How do you avoid content going to waste? Communicate, communicate, communicate! The sales team works with customers every day and can provide the marketing team with valuable insights on what their needs are. When the sales team presents the details of what content they use and what they need, the marketing team can create more strategic and focused content. Not only will this help the sales team to perform better in their role, but the creation of unnecessary content is avoided, which saves time and resources. On the other side, marketing teams can provide valuable direction to the sales team by communicating when new content is created and the intended purpose for it. Creating a strong two-way relationship as outlined, helps both teams create chemistry and cultivates an open communication culture. Successfully aligned teams work together to develop the biggest content needs and the best ways to use them.
One of the best starting points is simply to ask some basic questions such as:
- What are the common questions our customers have?
- Do you have any specific content needs?
- What content do you use the most? Can we update it?
- How can marketing make the sales job easier?
- What isn’t working?
Asking these questions may seem simple, but they can be missed when both teams are locked into their roles. Using insights from the sales team helps the marketing team understand which pieces were used most frequently and also what content needs to be improved for better sales success. Tracking the actual data of how much content is used can be a bit tricky, but asking the question will provide a good sense of how crucial some content pieces are to the sales process. It may not always be as analytical as the marketing team wants, but once the marketing team knows what is being used often and how it is shared, they can identify ways to better create and track KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
The answers to these questions can help reduce the work from the sales team and provide the marketing team with the information needed to create valuable content. Working together in alignment benefits both teams and the company.
Tips to Help Align the Sales & Marketing Teams
When sales and marketing operate as two independent teams, silos are created, and dysfunction occurs. Successful sales and marketing teams work together to outline a documented strategy. Drawing out detailed plans help both teams identify what they need to do to be successful, and these plans promote constant collaboration between the teams.
Other tips to help make your sales and marketing team a cohesive unit include:
- Keep the Line Open – Communication is vital to the success of both teams and keeping an open dialogue between teams creates more opportunities for collaboration and builds chemistry.
- Create Goals and Revisit Them – Tied to the sales and marketing strategy are KPIs and goals. Having a lot of action items is one thing, but successful plans and goals should be revisited and adjusted often.
- Spend a Day in their Shoes – Have members of both teams see each side, including sitting through meetings and listening in on sales calls.
- Regularly Scheduled Meetings – Another way to ensure communication remains open, is by meeting regularly to analyze important metrics, discuss needs and identify ways to improve the strategy.
Why Alignment Matters
Marketing and sales – successful companies know that you can’t have one without the other. Both sides have different disciplines, but making an effort to understand the differences in perspective and responsibilities of the other side can go a long way in helping both teams operate with established, shared goals. One of the biggest misconceptions with marketing and sales teams is assuming that the other team is doing something for their benefit only.
In reality, the sales and marketing teams need to lean on each other to best understand who their customer is and how to effectively target new ones. This collaboration allows the teams to agree on what makes an ideal customer and what research can be done to better understand the common challenges your customers and prospects face.
Sales and marketing teams also need to have an agreement for what their brand personality is. This understanding allows both teams to create a single and memorable customer journey. When these two essential pillars are agreed upon, it can not only avoid customers from hearing different messages but, internally, it will help teams avoid disconnection, creating a unified team that strives to reach one common goal. If everyone feels decisions are being made collaboratively and with good intent, it will dramatically improve how they take initiative and encourage them to respond positively.
Aligning your sales and marketing team is crucial to the success of any business. When these teams operate on the same page, the entire sales and marketing process becomes optimized for the company to continue to grow, maximizing their ROI on sales and marketing efforts.