In the past, we've often talked about the importance of getting sales and production on the same page to ensure customer success. It's the age-old problem where the sales department can over promise and production is blamed for under delivering. Solving that relationship will help address many potential issues with customer service down the road.
Just as important however is making sure that the sales team are properly aligned with the marketing team. We hear time and time again from marketing professionals in industry that they work hard to make sure that the brand, messaging and activities are generating leads but the sales team aren't closing sales. Sales on the other hand point the finger at marketing because the leads coming in aren't properly qualified and that the marketing activities and messaging aren't addressing real problems that customers are facing.
There are ways to get sales and marketing working together like a well-oiled machine. And it's worth it because not only will it solve the ongoing chatter but it will result in higher sales revenue.
What is Sales and Marketing Alignment?
... also referred to as 'Smarketing'
Simply put, it's having both the sales department and the marketing department fully integrated. It's a coordination of their efforts so that prospective customers are getting the messaging that they are looking for, when they're looking for it. It's your marketing team understanding what your sales team needs in order to close sales. It's sales being able to identify leads when they turn in to opportunities. It's a transition from Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) to Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).
Whether you're a team of one with outside support or a team of many, the crux of it is that sales and marketing need to communicate so that their efforts are truly aligned.
This may seem obvious but we repeatedly see these two teams working in silos.
Why do we Need Sales and Marketing Alignment?
It goes without saying that they both serve entirely different functions. The function of sales is to sell the company products and services. Marketing's function is to produce the necessary materials that enables the sale.
When the two operate as separate departments, inefficiencies exist in both areas. This in turn results in lost opportunities and lost revenue. In fact, companies with good smarketing practices in place generated 208% more revenue from marketing efforts. (Source: Hubspot)
Two-hundred and eight percent more revenue.
The question shouldn't be 'why do we need it?' rather 'can we afford not to?'
And if you're still not convinced here are a few more reasons:
- Better team and company morale - people will feel less isolated and more valued in their work
- Enhanced productivity
- Stronger customer loyalty and enhanced customer experience
- Improved lead quality
How do we Align Sales and Marketing?
The key here is to get the two teams talking to one another. It's not rocket science but being sure to focus your conversations on areas that matter tends to be the bigger challenge for most in industry. Here are some ways to begin that process.
- Cross pollinate at meetings - Marketing should attend sales meetings and vice versa. There's so much that can be picked up through osmosis.
- Establish some ground rules - Identify and create documents such as service level agreements, marketing to sales hand-off processes, sales deal pipelines, agree on definitions for metrics and KPIs and reporting processes.
- Learn from eachother - When possible, have marketing come along on a sales call or let sales be part of content creation.
- Review Goals and Metrics - Sales and marketing goals should be understood by both teams. Furthermore, collective goals should be set.
- Build a feedback loop - Provide opportunities for sales to provide feedback on campaigns and marketing activities. Involve sales on marketing planning initiatives at the onset.
- Use available technology - Ensure that both teams are using the same technology tools to keep information centralized and allow for better reporting.
If you're a small manufacturing business, agribusiness or large scale operation, your company will benefit from aligning both your sales and marketing efforts. At the heart of it, sales and marketing alignment isn't costly to implement and can reap tremendous rewards.