Sales and marketing are at the heart of your company’s success. But even though they have similar objectives, you’ll often find the two departments working in silos.
If you want to reach your company’s growth objective, you need to develop a strong sales and marketing relationship and get these teams working together.
Let’s look at what you need to know to foster marketing and sales alignment in your organization.
Why marketing and sales alignment matters
Because the sales and marketing functions are so closely related, if these teams work in silos, your revenue suffers. So, the question is: What is marketing and sales alignment, and why is it important for business success?
Sales are most directly linked to your revenue. The team is responsible for creating relationships and offering solutions that address people’s pain points.
Marketing is responsible for market research and brand management. These help produce qualified leads for sales to work with.
When the two departments are not working in sync, you experience challenges like:
- Salespeople share outdated information and material.
- Conflicting internal KPIs incentivize people to work toward different goals.
- Salespeople don’t know who their ideal customer profiles are and go after the wrong type of leads
- Marketers use the wrong messaging because they can’t capture customer pain points
It’s harder to measure ROI when there’s no connection—marketing can’t track whether their efforts make an impact if sales don’t report on what worked for them.
On the other hand, when the teams are on the same page, you get smoother, more effective lead generation and conversions. Marketing and sales alignment should be among your first priorities. Here’s why.
The benefits of strong sales and marketing alignment
Alignment means there’s no wasted effort or double work, and you see results like:
Stronger messaging and more qualified leads
Sales can pass essential information about your customers and their needs to marketing to support more on-target messaging. In turn, they’re able to tailor their efforts to bring in candidates more likely to make a purchase.
Leveraging your unique selling point (USP)
On the flip side, marketing can communicate findings from their research on competitors to the sales team. Your reps can develop stronger pitches when they understand your solution’s advantages over the rest of the market.
More support for company objectives
When there is marketing and sales alignment concerning their goals, employees can create strategic plans to work together and stay focused. When leaders communicate about what’s working and what’s not, they can make adjustments in real-time to keep goals on track.
Better customer experiences
When prospective buyers receive consistent messaging and support throughout the sales funnel, you’ll make it easier for them to move through the stages and eventually make a purchase. Thus, customer acquisition becomes easier.
The challenges companies face when trying to improve collaboration
The top two things that keep teams from working together well are conflicting priorities and poor communication.
- Conflicting priorities: Both teams are interested in boosting revenue. But given their different focuses, they may try to achieve that objective through different means. If they aren’t aligned on what they want and how they’ll achieve it, teams forge separate paths that can conflict.
- Poor communication: Communication isn’t always a given, even with aligned goals and a solid strategy. If your teams are distributed or don’t have the time for collaborative meetings, they don’t share ideas and discoveries. Or if there is no way of effectively communicating between teams, information falls through the cracks.
Now that you’re clear on why you should build a positive sales and marketing relationship and the challenges you face, let’s look at how you can break down the silos that get in the way of collaboration.
5 strategies for successful sales and marketing teamwork
Here are five tips for how to improve sales and marketing collaboration in your organization and achieve seamless marketing and sales alignment:
1. Make marketing and sales alignment a priority at the top
Take the time to educate executives on why these two teams should align. When they understand, they’ll be more motivated to make it happen.
Marketing and sales leaders sometimes get hyper-focused on their departmental objectives and KPIs. Share the reasons why alignment matters and get their buy-in before creating a company-wide strategy. That way, everyone will be willing and able to work together and support it.
2. Define terms and establish processes that support collaboration
Ensure good marketing and sales alignment and collaboration by providing instructions on what success looks like. Clarify how and when collaboration should happen. Create a shared language around roles and procedures to eliminate confusion.
- What’s the role of a project lead vs. a manager?
- What counts as a qualified lead?
- What language will we use to talk about our product or service to keep messaging consistent?
Then spell out what information should be shared and when including market research and sales success data.
- Will teams communicate daily, weekly, monthly, etc.?
- Will they have formal meetings?
- What reports should they have ready for each meeting?
- How will feedback be communicated (and what types of feedback should be shared)?
Defining how teams work together helps eliminate confusion and keeps sales moving forward.
3. Share company goals and support co-strategizing
To get teams to work toward the same goals and succeed in marketing and sales alignment, you have to get them up to speed on what those goals are and how their teams can impact them. Create formal opportunities to communicate your goals and to have leaders work together on their strategies for achieving them.
For instance, bring leaders together in an offsite planning meeting at the beginning of the year. Share your goals. Discuss what the market wants, current customer pain points, and how your solution can serve both. Then schedule regular synchronization sessions throughout the year to report and realign as needed.
Getting teams to plan their strategies together cuts out the confusion. And setting apart time for them to do so leaves room for open discussions and idea sharing.
4. Use the right tools for communication
Remove roadblocks to open communication by investing in the right technology. With more teams working remotely or hybrid, companies rely more on tools for sharing critical information. In addition, large, distributed teams that can’t sync during regular meetings need less time-consuming ways to connect.
Support teams working across time zones by implementing asynchronous messaging solutions like Slack or Messenger in addition to voicemail and email.
Centralize your communications into agreed-upon channels so important information doesn’t fall through the cracks.
5. Create an internal training sub-portal exclusively for sales and marketing
Make it easy for sales and marketing people to find the information they need to do their jobs. Put helpful content—from product demos to sales pitch best practices to the most recent market findings and competitor details— in one convenient hub.
Your learning management system (LMS) can host a library of online training and refresh content. Use this tool to organize vital information, make it easy to navigate, and ensure everyone has access to the latest versions.
Linking people to the data they need will help each team make decisions and support customers more efficiently and effectively.
Improve sales and marketing efficiency to boost your bottom line
No matter the size of your business, focusing on developing the marketing and sales alignment between your teams will significantly impact your success. And this is why a positive sales and marketing relationship is essential.
When these two core groups work together, you’ll see higher win rates and increased customer acquisition and retention. And you’ll create a better foundation for growing your company.