Achieving the holy grail that is sales and marketing alignment is something that should be so simple, but in reality can be complex. Needing key stake holders with excellent communication skills and a complete ‘one team ethos’ makes it challenging enough, then introduce hungry sales people with stretching targets to hit and creative marketers demanding creative freedom, it presents a lot of businesses with a challenge.
Sales and marketing alignment is the shared communication, strategy and goals of a marketing and sales team - essential for the success of high impact marketing campaigns, boosting sales efficiency and crucially, revenue.
Whether a business decision is made to blend sales and marketing into a singular ‘smarketing’ team or for the two remain separate but operate closely together, is a decision left to the powers that be but what is essential, either way, is that sales and marketing acknowledge their parallels and use each other.
Still not sure of the importance of this departmental duo? Let’s break it down.
When we think about the responsibilities of a marketing team within a business, it is obvious. Even more obvious is the role of a sales team. But what about where the two core teams overlap in output and goals?
- Collaborative approach to marketing campaigns
- Closed sales content feedback loop
- Communication with lead hand-over
- Consistent tone, messaging and good customer experience
So, to start, the above 4 points highlight the importance of the sales and marketing alignment. All contribute to creating the best possible customer experience which is pivotal in gaining new business and retaining existing.
Think about what marketing does for sales
Next, let’s think about why sales should be throwing a bit of appreciation their marketing team’s way.
- Educating buyers early in the customer journey
- Nurturing leads through the sales funnel
- Qualifying leads to ensure efficiency in sales efforts
- Building influence in the market
- Building an engaged audience
In a nutshell, without a strong marketing effort, sales teams would be resorting to a 100% cold sales approach, contacting people / businesses who do not know about the business they are representing, have potentially zero need for their product or service and who are, most likely, going to be rude and uninterested. Hardly the sales role of dreams. Marketing teams gain the trust and attention of a qualified audience who are then ready to hear from your sales team.
Think about what sales can do for marketing
Now this one may be a little less obvious, but actually, sales people are essential to promote optimum performance from a marketing team. How?
- Close proximity to the customer / target customer means the ability to provide real time insights
- Lead / content validity
- Market dynamic insight
- Customer health insight
This type of intel is priceless for marketing teams. In enables them to not only get valuable feedback on the work they are already doing, but also a look inside what their real customers pain points are. If your marketing team are on it, they can use this information to streamline and improve the success of their marketing campaigns. Where else could they get data with this level of accuracy, for free?
Three common business struggles that marketing and sales alignment solve
Poor customer data
Poor customer data is a common business problem and one that causes so much time and effort to sort whether it be lacking, out of date, disorganised or just simply inaccurate. With sales and marketing woking together, communicating clearly and handing leads over efficiently, they can cleanse this data by extracting the records of old / disinterested clients, and prioritising the importance of that that is qualified and accurate. Having one ‘centre of excellence’ when it comes to client data saves time and resource in any business - but sales and marketing need to work hard, together, to achieve this.
Under utilisation of content
It is often the case, painfully, that sales friendly content is created by the content experts in the marketing team, without being contributed to by the sales team themselves. Often, this means that the content falls short and fails to have the desired effect. By working closely with the sales team, marketing can ensure that all content created hits that desired nurturing sweet spot.
Alternatively, it is sometimes the case that a marketing department creates a wealth of content that would serve their sales team as perfect sales tools - but they are just not used because their existence is not known.
Clear communication and a collaborative ‘smarketing’ approach to sales related content resolves both of these issues.
Your sales and marketing team working in silo to one another can make it difficult to prove ROI. For example, how are marketing meant to know which touch points have influenced a sale if they are not encouraging the sales teams to have these conversations with prospects and complete the relevant feedback loop?