Wasted time, finger-pointing, and potential business slipping through the gaps. These are just three symptoms of misaligned sales and marketing teams.
However, as Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners once said: ‘Sales and marketing are both in the revenue business. The idea of alignment seems weird, because not being aligned seems shockingly… stupid!’ As harsh as this sounds, we can’t help but agree.
Misalignment and conflict between sales and marketing teams can come up for a variety of reasons:
- Misaligned goals that do not encourage cooperation
- Personal desire to compete, rather than collaborate
- Wasted time creating, and searching for, resources
- Short-term sales objectives conflicting with long-term marketing strategies.
Share goals and measures of success
For true sales and marketing alignment, you need to create an end-to-end process that ensures consistency. No rogue techniques and things on the side — you should operate with complete openness behind what marketing is running and how sales can capitalise.
This means open communication and shared goals. For example, if the goal for marketing is ‘convert as many leads as possible’, it sounds great for marketing, but for sales it can be a nightmare having to chase contact leads that are of low value and quality. If your salespeople have goals to converting a high percentage of these leads, then there’s clearly a misalignment.
So ask yourself, do our two teams have their goals in sync?
As mentioned previously, open communication is essential, and that includes marketing attending sales meetings, and sales team members attending marketing meetings.
Marketing can use this time to share the content and campaigns being promoted that week, and also ask for content ideas from the sales team. Your sales team are regularly in contact with your target audience, and will have great insight into what they need. Using this as fuel for blog topics going forward is marketing gold.
Share resources and content
In many companies, sales and marketing teams have their own secret stash of resources and useful content, hidden away in document folders and stray Google docs.
It's likely that marketing can make great use of sales content to repurpose into lead generation content. Similarly, marketing have a host of useful content and blog posts that the sales team could use to build trust with leads and demonstrate expertise.
It’s best to organise all your sales enablement resources in one easily accessible location, such as a Google drive folder. There could also be a dedicated Slack channel used entirely for updating teams on new useful content.
Feed back on successes and failures
Without acknowledging failures, how else are sales and marketing teams meant to improve? Part of tightening up your marketing and sales process is acknowledging where potential customers are falling through the gaps, and remedying the solution.
This means keeping a close eye on:
- Content and campaign performance: which content types and topics are bringing in the higher quality leads?
- Number of leads that go back from sales-ready to marketing qualified: if this is high, then you will need to re-define what qualifies as a sales-ready lead.
- MQL to opportunity ratio: provides an indication of lead quality, and whether marketing are targeting the right prospects
Have fun and get to know each otheR
Remove any sign of ‘us and them’ mentality by organising combined lunches, celebrations, and post-work shenanigans. This helps to build trust, encourage team spirit, and gets everyone on a first name basis. This will build trust amongst team members, and makes sure everyone feels comfortable supporting each other.
Smarter, faster, better selling
Sales and marketing teams need a time out, a sit down, and a breather. No more blame-games — chances are both are at fault if the business is not hitting revenue targets.
As such, they need to be working closer together, sharing resources, acknowledging where the gaps are, and plugging them together.
As social selling evangelist Jill Rowley once said: “The new reality is that marketing needs to know more about sales, sales needs to know more about marketing, and we all need to know more about our customers.”