In order for your company to see the revenue growth you would like it to see this year, it is critical that your Sales and Marketing teams work together—historically, though, Sales and Marketing teams don’t see eye to eye.
And yet research shows that a failure to align sales and marketing around the right processes and technologies cost companies 10% or more of revenue per year. On the other hand, companies with strong alignment between teams see an average annual revenue growth of 20% or more.
If your teams are working against each other, instead of with each other, you may be headed for some trouble. However, with a little effort from both sides, alignment between Sales and Marketing is possible at every company, large and small. Here are some Sales and Marketing alignment tips and tricks for ensuring that your teams are one big happy Smarketing family.
1. Promote Communication
This is a great place to start: Do your Marketing and Sales teams even talk to each other? If they don’t, that may be a contributing factor as to why they can’t seem to align themselves around the same goals. It’s recommended that your teams work together, and have regular weekly or biweekly meetings, to stay informed on new promotions, content, lead progress, or sales closed. This will ensure that they are on the same page.
Additionally, these regular meetings will allow both teams to give one another feedback. Does Sales need more leads? Does Marketing have some content to share with Sales? Does Sales have insights from customers, like frequently asked questions, that would go great in some new Marketing content? This is the perfect time for feedback.
2. Create a SLA
While communication is the foundation that Sales and Marketing alignment is built on, a Service Level Agreement (SLA) serves as the blueprints. In a SLA, your Marketing and Sales teams establish common goals and objectives, like how many qualified leads Marketing will provide to Sales, and how many leads Sales will follow up on.
A SLA also includes shared definitions of what a “Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)” and “Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)” actually are. This common understanding of vocabulary will prevent misunderstandings between your teams, which will curb any arguments those misunderstandings may have caused.
Additionally, Service Level Agreements provide clear expectations of who is responsible for lead nurturing and lead management at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey and Sales Funnel. This will avoid mix ups between who is responsible for maintaining communication with leads at what point in time.
3. Rely on Data
The goals and objectives in your SLA will likely be outlined by Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as Visit-to-Lead and Lead-to-Customer conversion rates, as well as Marketing and Sales quotas. These types of data points should be used to hold both teams accountable.
This data should also be used to back up any claims or complaints during your regular meetings, to ensure that feelings and emotions aren’t the cause. For example, if a member of the Sales team can specifically say that the Marketing isn’t meeting the volume of leads they agreed to, and that they’re X leads short, then their complaint is valid—as opposed to them feeling like they need more leads.
By relying on data, rather than emotion, your teams can more amiably voice their complaints. Relying on data will also ensure that the goals outline in the SLA are actually met.
4. Sharing is Caring
This goes hand and hand with communication. In those regular meetings, it’s important to share the knowledge or insights that both sides of the table have. For example, Marketing can share their social media expertise with Sales to make them more effective social sellers, as well as the new content they’ve created that can be used in the Sales process. Create a content repository where both Sales and Marketing can draw content from, to have it readily available in the event of a sales opportunity.
Conversely, Sales can share insights from the leads and customers they talk to, like their common questions and objections to buying, which can help Marketing in further content creation. Sales has a lot to offer when it comes to understanding customers, and it’s critical for each team to know what the other has to offer. This sharing will ensure that both teams understand one another, and their goals, which will further improve alignment.
From a technological standpoint, integration is also essential to true alignment between Marketing and Sales. By integrating your Sales CRM (Salesforce, for example) with your Marketing automation (like HubSpot or SharpSpring), both teams can see the entire lifecycle from visitor to customer. Additionally, members of your Sales team can see lead behavior on your site, giving them context before making a call. Marketing, on the other hand, can see what sources the best leads came from, allowing them to better target their content creation efforts.
6. The Customer is Always Right
And last but not least, yes, the customer is always right. An essential part of Sales and Marketing alignment is an alignment around your customers, around your buyer personas and the Buyer’s Journey. Without a full understanding from both sides of who your customer is, either the content or sales pitches (or both) can be targeted in the wrong direction.
However, by aligning themselves around the same customer, and understanding what the customer wants and needs, both Sales and Marketing can focus their efforts in the right direction. Consider these Smarketing tips when trying to align your two teams.