Your sales team and your marketing team are an epic duo. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, buffalo and ranch, Sonny and Cher.
Or perhaps it's more accurate to describe your sales and marketing teams as Godzilla vs Mothra. Even with both teams working towards the same goal, the tendency to work in a silo can damage the partnership. Marketing is upset with sales for not converting enough leads; sales is upset with marketing for not enough, or unqualified prospects. Neither team communicates this effectively, so problems go unresolved. Misalignment not only has repercussions in one on one relationships, but also negatively impacts the overall effectiveness of your revenue team.
The opposite is also true; aligning your sales and marketing team can have profound results. Alignment can lead to 38% higher sales win rates and a 32% increase in year-over-year revenue growth. By aligning your sales and marketing team (some call it Smarketing), you can optimize your sales funnel from lead generation to conversion.
7 Tips to Align your Sales & Marketing
1. Create a Feedback Loop - Build an SLA
One of the biggest challenges in aligning marketing and sales is communication. Without a Service Level Agreement (SLA), any leads that have been passed to the sales team might as well have fallen into a blackhole. First, agree and align with Marketing and Sales on shared terminology - this creates an agreed upon template for communicating between and within the greater Revenue team. For example, this will ensure that sales reps are qualifying leads by equal standards, that Sales’ get chefs-kiss level qualified leads, and more. This creates a system where sales can give feedback on leads and processes, and marketing can rely on follow through from sales to better inform their targeting and marketing data. An SLA is foundational to scaling your revenue organization, without it, sales and marketing can very easily fail to speak the same language when working towards their goals.
2. Explain Your Strategies
Creative marketing is not for naught. While it can be difficult to calculate ROI, creating systems to track conversions can inform why certain strategies are in place. Have your marketing team explain what audiences are being targeted with which campaigns and why. Offering transparency to the ‘why’, rather than just the ‘what’, can provide more buy-in from sales and leave them feeling more prepared for new prospects. One way this can be done is by creating a Slack or Messenger channel (or an email group) specifically for your Sales and Marketing teams. Use this channel to communicate about new campaigns being launched by marketing, new leads being assigned to account executives, and new content being launched on the website or on social media. Include the explicit use of this channel in your SLA.
3. Combine Your Teams
The easiest way to align your sales team and marketing team is to make them realize they're on the same team. Even with remote working, you can create camaraderie between your Sales and Marketing teams with joined Slack channels, standups, or weekly alignment meetings. Keep each other informed on KPIs, obstacles to your progress, and new initiatives. Discuss progress on the high level goals you share as a Revenue Organization. Conversation increases awareness and can offer an opportunity to collaborate on solutions. Most importantly, you activate the “team” mentality, and break down the silos that complicate Smarketing alignment.
4. Motivate Towards the Same Goals
It’s no secret that your marketing team will have different KPIs than your sales team. However, since each teams’ KPIs ultimately reflect and impact one another, tie them together by creating quarterly goals and incentives that encourage the product of sales and marketing harmony.
5. Incorporate Sales in Marketing Initiatives
Whether this be through authoring blog articles, creating a follow-up cadence, or posting on social media, find ways to utilize the amplification powers of your sales team.. Your reps get to see the impact of your campaigns in real time and can build credibility with prospects. This is an amazing opportunity to establish your company as a thought-leader and your sales representatives as consultants. Through strategic content and touchpoints from your sales team, marketing materials get circulated in front of even more prospects, slowly but steadily growing your audience and authority.
6. Sharing is Caring
If your sales teams’ support can increase the impact of your white pages, case studies, and guidebooks, imagine if they were empowered to access and use these tools on their own. Deploy a sales toolkit or create a universal library where sales reps can easily find and utilize credibility-building assets. Whether that be Google Drive, DropBox or Hubspot, find a solution to store, organize, and categorize your marketing materials in ways your sales team can easily use. As new assets are released, make an announcement in a Slack channel or email, and ensure a process exists for updating the library. Sales reps can’t share it if they don’t know it exists, and these high-value projects can very easily fade if work is not done to maintain it and keep it top of mind.
7. Culture events
Building camaraderie can decrease tension between your departments. If in-person events are out of the question with quarantine, find creative ways to get to know one another. Whether that be virtual Donut Dates, Zoom Happy Hours or Trivia, or quick games before a meeting, don’t underestimate the power of connection. Create shared incentives for your shared goals together. These online group experiences from Airbnb are a perfect COVID-19 era pivot to in person group celebrations - learn how to cook with David Chang, or get inspired by Olympic medalists! This is just one of many ways to get the whole team together - even when we have to be apart.
Aligning sales and marketing is challenging, but once your team runs like a well-oiled machine, you can focus on iterating these processes to your teams’ nuances and optimizing results. Build reports and dashboards that both teams have access to so they can witness their collective success.
Looking for more information on how to visualize the efforts of your Smarketing/Revenue Organization? Check out the revenue engine formula in our eBook on using conversions to predict your sales pipeline:
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