The disconnect between sales and marketing has been around since the advent of modern business. While some progress has been made, 20% of companies still report misalignment between the two departments, according to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 report. While ‘misalignment’ doesn’t exactly mean ‘war’, it does mean that the two are not cooperating as they should, and this could affect your ability to win more customers.
Alignment between sales and marketing means both teams are working together towards the business revenue goals, with greater transparency and communication about each other’s responsibilities.
Sales and marketing should always know about each other’s activity in great detail. Furthermore, they should have access to the same resources and share their findings. For instance, marketers have to support the sales reps with materials that help them close leads. On the other hand, every sales rep should relate back to marketing with feedback obtained from both existing customers and leads that couldn’t be converted. This will help marketers improve their strategy.
The two teams should meet formally on a regular basis – weekly if possible. Discussions about progress, bumps in the road, what works and what doesn’t can generate new ideas that help generate more leads and customers. You can also go one step forward and cement the relationship between departments by having informal get-togethers, lunches and introductions of new sales or marketing employees.
Sometimes, the misunderstandings between sales and marketing stem from the fact that they both forget they share a common goal. Thus, instead of speaking about “sales targets”, start focusing on “revenue targets” that impact the both teams.
Similarly, customer satisfaction should not be left to either marketing or sales, but to both teams. Marketing can always help with creating satisfaction surveys and loyalty programs, while sales play an important part in implementing them.
If the heads of the two departments are at odds, can you really expect the teams to play nice together? This is why marketing and sales chiefs should meet at least once a month to discuss common goals and how they can achieve them together.
Delegating the tasks and emphasising teamwork will be a natural consequence of a more open and friendly working relationship. If each team applies its strengths towards the common goals and covers for the others’ shortcomings, there will be no losers.
Truly embracing marketing and sales alignment is as much a cultural decision as it is a strategic one. It won’t be easy and it’s certainly not something that can be achieved overnight. But by taking a long-term view and investing in gradual change, your team and your company can fully embrace the Inbound Culture and enjoy its many benefits.
An Inbound Culture means committing to delivering an exceptional user experience. Whether it’s content the marketing team publish or touch points from your sales team, marketing and sales have a responsibility to work together to achieve a culture of success that attracts leads, delights customers and drives your business forward.
Nothing helps understand someone else better than walking a mile in their shoes. Marketers should make a habit out of attending sales calls and hearing potential clients’ objections and concerns firsthand. Similarly, sales reps should be given some input into social media and other content marketing avenues; they know very well what clients want to see posted, so why not leverage this insight to the benefit of the whole marketing team?