Too often sales and marketing departments act as two completely separate forces, taking every opportunity to blame the other department for any problems. In fact, a recent Corporate Executive Board study found that 87% of terms used by sales or marketing teams to describe the other are negative terms. Instead of working as two separate entities, sales and marketing departments need to operate as working parts of a whole machine. A study by the Aberdeen Group showed that companies with an aligned sales and marketing departments had 20% annual revenue growth. Working together is easy, but a lot of companies do not know how to properly and effectively do it. To help combat this,we’ve put together some simple steps on how to align sales and marketing departments within your company.
Line Up Goals and Personas
One of the first things you want to do is find common ground regarding goals and customer personas. Both sales and marketing are responsible for bringing in leads and business to the company, so they should both be operating with the same goals and personas in mind. There needs to be communication between the two departments, and it needs to be easy to communicate. The goal of the marketing department should be to help sales reach their target revenue, and the goal of the sales department should be to give the marketing department information that can help them cater to their customers better and more effectively. Communication needs to constant, consistent, and open between the two divisions, and both sides need to know and agree on what their goal is and how they intend on reaching that goal.
The next thing that sales and marketing departments need to line up on is the company’s customer personas. A customer persona is the typical customer that your company sells or provides services to. The customer persona should be known and understood across the entire company, but marketing and sales should work together on this specifically to help teach each other and learn more about that persona. There also needs to be communication here for sales to educate marketing on what customers are saying and asking, or if marketing hears something about sales to share that information. This information is critical to how each department will handle leads and customers in the future.
Know the Handoff
Know when and where in the process the handoff will take place, know and understand the different steps in the process, and know the number of people in each step. Both departments should know when marketing steps in and when sales takes over. Create a clear definition for a sales-ready lead. Having this definition will keep complaints of sales not working marketing leads, and of marketing having bad leads, down.
Use Closed Loop Marketing
The use of closed loop marketing will help keep marketing and sales on the same page. Using different tools, you can integrate marketing activities to specific sales. This will give more information and context to your sales team, along with data and information for the marketing team. In addition to more information and data, closed loop marketing also reduces duplicate leads.
Communication really is the most important aspect to getting marketing and sales working together and on the same page. There needs to be a constant, open line of communication between both parties! They also need to rely on the data and hard facts, not emotions, when making decisions. Communication can be in any form that works for you as long as it is there; it can be a meeting, a string of emails, organization software, or simply talking face to face with members of the other department.
Lining up goals and personas, knowing when to hand off leads, using closed loop marketing, and keeping a steady stream of communication going between the departments are all keys to aligning your sales and marketing departments. This can be easier said than done since you are working with people, and people have emotions which can be unpredictable, but it is imperative that you know how to align sales and marketing so that your company can be more effective at generating leads, nurturing leads, and ultimately converting those leads into sales.