Sales and Marketing: Are the Stars Aligned?
It’s a common problem in many organisations: the misalignment between the sales and marketing teams. We’d all agree that it’s imperative that they need to work hand in hand. But some sales and marketing teams barely speak to one another. Fact.
They both have the same objective – to drive sales and revenue. Marketing’s role is to generate qualified leads, manage the customer experience, increase brand awareness and create a brand-appropriate sales environment. The sales team’s role is to turn the qualified leads into sales, live the brand and provide an exceptional customer experience.
Why is alignment so important?
Here are five reasons why your sales and marketing teams should be aligned:
Reduce the cost of sale
Shortens the sales cycle
Improves the conversion rate
Provides forecast accuracy
According to a study by marketing automation specialist, Marketo, marketing and sales team alignment extracts 208% more value from marketing with 108% less friction.
Talk the Same Language and Metrics
We use terms in property such as enquiry, prospect, lead, customer and sale. Ask your sales and marketing teams separately how they define a qualified lead. The answers will astound you. Marketers experienced in content marketing are now using terms such as ‘marketing qualified lead’ and ‘sales qualified lead’. Whatever terms your team decides to use, make sure you all understand their meaning. This helps when you start to report numbers, conversions and cost per sale.
Set Up Some Agreed-Upon Performance Metrics
To avoid finger pointing when the going starts to get tough, agree what each team member will deliver. For example:
The number of sales-ready leads to be delivered by the marketing team
The non-negotiable information to be collected by the sales team when a prospect visits the sales centre
Follow up timeframes and methods
Create a Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is a great tool to help you keep control of your sales pipeline. It helps you understand the numbers that you are dealing with; how long it takes for prospects to progress in the path to purchase; and how many prospects will become customers, in time. As the market changes, you can spot problems in the sales pipeline and take corrective action early. The sales funnel also shows roadblocks that can be cleared with coaching, if there’s an insufficient number of leads or where the sales process is being ignored. For example:
Conduct a Workshop
A fantastic way to get everyone on the same page about your project is to conduct a workshop where the project team and other influencers have the opportunity to put forward their ideas in a safe environment. Ideally, this workshop is facilitated by an external party, who has some knowledge of your industry. A workshop agenda example:
Determine the project mission
Agree the strategic objectives
Brainstorm the critical success factors
Evaluate the critical success factors to determine the actions required to achieve success
Determine who will be responsible
Identify how you will monitor and measure each success factor
Use group brainstorming techniques to keep the session invigorating and attention focused. You will leave with a clear understanding of the project’s destiny that will assist with marketing planning and budgeting.
By making sure your sales and marketing departments are on the same page, you will be able to maximise your content strategy and ensure that the full customer lifecycle remains seamless. But while this is a growing trend, there are still challenges faced with crossed wires of both sides resulting in missed quotas, budget shortfalls and organisational tensions.
This is evident in Green Hat’s B2B Marketing Research BMR Report 2017. That’s why it’s imperative that issues on both sides must be addressed for the betterment of the organisation and to achieve maximum results.