Why it's crucial to get your marketing and sales teams rowing in the same direction and how to do it.
The relationship between marketing and sales departments is often wrought with competition, disputes over credit and finger pointing. Who isn't pulling their weight? Who gets to claim what sale and when? Who is taking priority in decisions and, most importantly, budget?
We're here to make the case for a truly unified alliance between sales and marketing in your company--and to let you know how to accomplish it.
What Are The Advantages?
By connecting your sales and marketing teams, your company will see numerous benefits, including:
- systematizing the process by which you sell your products and services, from start to finish
- having complete, informative data with which you can make future decisions to optimize your operating budget
- reducing wasted resources (time, budget and efforts) across the company
- improving your conversion rates from reach to lead to closed deals
How Do You Get Your Teams There?
It's going to be next to impossible to get both your marketing and sales teams on the same page if they're not working towards the same goals. While your intention may not be to have them in direct competition with one another, we find that is often the outcome because leadership is planning yearly sales and marketing goals in a vacuum.
Establishing goals that fit together and even build on one another between each team reduces the appearance (or reality) of competing priorities. Beyond that, having a firm understanding of how these complementary feed into the goals at the highest level of the company is absolutely essential for success.
Creating goals that fit together creates a baseline for these two teams to work together, support each other and, ultimately, push each other towards the common success of the organization as a whole.
Just as setting complementary goals is essential, coordinating the activities to reach those goals is just as vital.
We've seen it happen so many times: a sales team will attend a trade show without talking to their marketing team. A marketing team will run a campaign without knowing the concrete MQL needs of the sales team.
Any activity from either team requires time and budget, valuable resources in every organization. So why not make sure that you're getting the absolute most out of everything you do?
For example, using the case above, when your sales team makes the (sometimes costly) commitment to go to a trade show, the marketing team can promote your company's presence at the show, post live updates on social media, create and drive traffic to a calendar to set appointments, run competitions to gather lead data, and orchestrate an entire follow up campaign to nurture those newly garnered leads to converted wins.
A complaint we hear a lot from sales is that they are receiving too many unqualified leads from the marketing team. Luckily, through marketing automation software, we are able to score leads coming through marketing campaigns quickly, efficiently and very specifically.
By getting input from the sales team on what demographics and activity make the absolute best leads, the marketing engine is able to send only the best MQLs to their counterparts in sales. Not only does this make the job of sales easier, it informs the types of messaging and materials the marketing team puts together to attract those leads.
Finally, this system dramatically increases conversion rates from leads to closed deals--when the pool is refined and scored according to the needs of the sales team, fewer will need to be winnowed out while moving down the sales funnel.
A large portion of the disconnect between sales and marketing teams can be traced back to a lack of shared information. So much of what we've discussed today already necessitates sharing information: goals, needs, plans and preferences.
We've found that the most helpful information the two teams can share is twofold: what a lead did before it got to sales and how a lead behaves throughout the sales funnel.
These first key piece can help the sales team learn about the behavior of the lead before they work on closing them: what they're interested in, what personality type they are (analytical engineer or authoritative decision-maker, for example) or what part of the sales cycle they're moving through.
The second key piece, how the lead moved through the sales funnel, can help the marketing team further qualify future leads and even make leads warmer before getting to the sales team.
Finally, the best way to bring together the marketing and sales teams in your company is to have trackable and accessible data available to all parties.
As we've talked about before, setting goals and work towards them is all well and good, but without tracking progress towards them and holding yourself and your team accountable, it's unlikely they'll be accomplished.
Tracking marketing activity from the highest level all the way through closed (won or lost) deals can tell us any number of stories to inform the adjustments that need to be made throughout the year. By tracking a lead from beginning to end and performing analysis on the trends those paths create, you can tell what's working (and what's not), which conversion points can be improved (more compelling content? reaching better audiences? different sales tactics?) and potentially even where to put more resources.
In conclusion: bring your sales and marketing teams together. You'll get everyone working together, save time and money, reach your goals more easily and, ultimately, make your company more successful--which is a win-win for everyone involved.
To learn more about how to bridge the gap between sales and marketing, plus why it's crucial for success: