When sales and marketing are not in alignment, sales will suffer.
Marketing and sales are meant to work toward common goals, but they have different approaches and operate at different stages of the sales cycle.
Without an expectation of communication and common definitions, silos can form. And that means sales can suffer.
A better approach of true alignment between sales and marketing will improve customer relationships, foster meaningful interactions, and increase lead generation and conversion.
Here are three best practices for sales and marketing alignment that will move your sales and marketing teams towards a successful relationship and benefit your business:
Consistent communication between departments results in marketing content and materials that complement sales approaches and messaging, creating a seamless experience for prospects.
When marketers regularly consult with their sales counterparts, they create programs that work with the language and concepts that the sales team uses, instead of confusing prospects with competing visions. And by incorporating the feedback the sales team hears resonating with the client community; these programs are able to be continuously improved.
Understanding the sales process and how a lead is treated when it arrives in a sales person’s pipeline can improve the way a marketer markets a solution and collects data.
Marketers who manage lead generation programs benefit from understanding the nuances of what constitutes a meaningful lead for their sales team.
Action item: Consider scheduling a regular meeting between sales and marketing counterparts and use this time to review the quality of leads generated and what the expectations are for lead quality.
While you’re reviewing lead quality with sales and marketing counterparts, remove any wiggle room from your definitions of terms that both departments rely on. This follows from a mutual understanding of the stages of the sales funnel.
Have both departments reach agreement on concrete definitions for each stage as well as on the characteristics of a sales qualified lead. This ensures that the leads that get passed on from marketing to sales will be of a certain agreed-upon quality.
Formal agreements on lead handoff procedure and lead assignment rules add accountability and remove the possibility of surprises between departments. If done in good faith, agreements bolster trust and mutual respect for each other’s responsibilities.
Action Item: Create a regular report that tracks leads generated by marketing AND accepted by sales. Identify all marketing touches for prospects and clients and discuss how marketing can help move interested leads into engaged or closed leads.
Personalization is an important part of marketing for successful lead generation, learn why in the blog Putting your Content into Context.
Ongoing engagement about what deals closed and why, and what deals were lost, will help both salespeople and marketers do a better job.
It’s important for both sales and marketing to understand what made the perfect client who bought the product or service for the right price point versus the less-than-ideal client who was expensive to close, or the deal that slipped away.
Action Item: On a quarterly basis, review closed deals and evaluate how the lead got into the pipeline and what helped close the deal. Include in the evaluation process any and all sales and marketing tools and engagement used. Identify the most useful marketing efforts and leverage this data for future planning.
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Combine and Coordinate for Success
Sales and marketing alignment is one of the greatest predictors of success for an organization.
When these two teams are coordinated and working together, they are able to share insights and create an improved customer experience that boosts satisfaction and increases retention.
By combining the skills of both an effective sales team, whether outsourced or in-house, and a quality marketing department, your business leverages the power to create, develop, and execute lead generation campaigns to build your sales pipeline, and the ability to expand the reach and engagement of these campaigns to a wider audience.