Traditionally, most areas within organizations have operated as independent entities. Additionally, the changes that the world market is experiencing, such as the aging of the population, the interconnectedness of people, technological advances and globalization, oblige companies to align their different areas, streamlining their processes with the perspective of improving the customer experience and achieve the strategic objectives that allow it to generate a sustainable competitive advantage.
To increase sales, the marketing and sales teams must become a collaborative professional team. Here are some tips to get you started on the alignment process, allowing you to optimize your marketing and sales strategies.
1. Ease collaboration between teams:
The first step in aligning sales and marketing teams is simplifying communication between teams, ensuring that all resources and materials are accessible to team members. This is because both departments act in a joint feedback loop to achieve their results. The sales team operates on the information shared by the marketing team to customers; and the marketing team uses customer feedback - shared by the sales team - to generate high-quality content designed to engage prospects.
To support communication, there are technological solutions in which all kinds of information related to the business can be stored. These shared information systems allow team leaders to easily create and access relevant and timely information, which allows creating more efficient teams, since collaboration processes are optimized.
2. Align processes and terminology
Do you ever remember that you were talking with someone of another nationality where the same language is spoken? Could they understand each other throughout the conversation? Did you have any misunderstandings? A fascinating element of languages is the wealth of different meanings that words and phrases can have in different countries. In organizations it is normal for there to be acronyms and words unique to each department. However, there are also cases where the same acronyms or different department words are used but have a different meaning. This results in misunderstandings that can cause friction between groups and loss of efficiency in achieving the objectives.
Today there are technological solutions that allow the exchange of information between departments. However, you must first ensure, among other things, that the information is understandable and accessible to the different teams that require it. To align the terminology, it is recommended to create a collective set of definitions, which allows clarifying communication problems and misunderstandings.
In the case of marketing and sales teams, key terms such as prospect or qualified customer (“lead”) should be clarified. In addition, both areas must work together to build the profile of the ideal customer ("customer profile") and the buyer ("buyer persona"), regardless of whether it is a B2C or B2B business. Defining the client's profile guides both departments as follows:
- Marketing to target your content generation efforts to the prospects you need to focus on.
- To sales to develop sales strategies that are aligned with the clients' objectives.
Another strategy to align the terms and processes of Smarketing (Sales –sales in English- + Marketing) is to create a service agreement (SLA, “Service Level Agreement”) between marketing and sales. An SLA makes it possible to clarify the roles of each department in the process of generating qualified clients. To support the SLA, it is recommended to map the processes and document them in a SIPOC, since it allows to determine the flow of tasks, business rules, and those responsible, among others.
3. Spend quality time together:
Create opportunities to create connections on a personal level between different members of your marketing and sales teams. Promote the building of meaningful relationships to facilitate understanding of different points of view. To create meeting spaces, it is not necessary to invest in a retreat to do a “team building”. Get to know your team members as you know your clients, what are their hobbies, their ambitions, their fears? What are they trying to achieve? Also use your creativity, for example How about doing a book club? o Create a sports team within the organization?
When team members feel understood by their colleagues on a personal level, communication is simplified. Take advantage of the connection and get the marketing and sales teams to understand that they are not in a competition, and that they work together to achieve a common goal: to increase the results of the company, while building a successful business. Celebrate victories as a single unit. Make the work environment a stimulating, attractive and fun place, promoting professional and personal respect among team and department members; make Smarketing alignment an experience for employees!
4. Focus on the entire sales funnel:
An optimized sales funnel facilitates sales and the development of tactics for the generation of qualified customers (“leads”). When the sales funnel is operating optimally, marketing teams can analyze available data to see where prospects are dropping out and what content is moving them down the funnel.
When the sales funnel is understood and accessible to sales and marketing teams, its members can create better content and place it at strategic contact points within the funnel that facilitates the generation of qualified customers ("leads").
5. Create common Smarketing goals:
Goal alignment is the foundation for an effective sales and marketing alliance. According to data from HubSpot, companies that have good Smarketing practices generate 208% more revenue than companies that do not.
To align the goals of your marketing and sales teams, start by connecting the data they analyze. Consider the types of data that provide information on marketing efforts rather than sales development. The generation of qualified customers ("leads") is of great importance for marketing teams, but without sales conversions, those "leads" are not of quality.
To create common Smarketing goals, the two departments must work to synchronize their game. Schedule time on a monthly basis for sales and marketing teams to meet and collaborate on creating lead generation goals, which can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of both departments.
When the two teams have an interdependent relationship, they depend on each other to produce and share high-quality content to a target audience.
6. Improve communication between teams:
Without regular and professional communication between the sales and marketing teams, it is impossible to reach a productive generation of qualified customers, thus also making it impossible to complete sales.
The biggest cause of misalignment between marketing and sales is a lack of regular and effective communication. Discussing problems and creating productive solutions among teams is an integral facet of an effective business.
Therefore, it is vital that these departments that have traditionally been misaligned (according to Forrester only 8% of companies have an alignment between strategy and sales) regularly implement opportunities to share their concerns and collaborate with each other. Consider scheduling regular meetings to review the lead generation process, encouraging the exchange of ideas between teams; in addition, to actively work together to establish a better relationship with potential customers through an optimized sales strategy.
7. Develop content for the entire sales funnel as a single team
Creating content as a team can help with lead generation and sales development. Creating content using the inbound marketing methodology for both pre-funnel social selling and sales guarantees can be the final push prospects need to make a buying decision.
For example, joint development of success stories helps highlight the challenges and achievements of previous clients and can be used with potential clients who are experiencing similar difficulties. By developing this content together, consistent messages and tone help keep potential customers engaged throughout the funnel process.
A company is made up of multiple parties, which must work together to promote successful lead generation and the success of the entire company. An aligned sales and marketing strategy is key to helping organizations overcome market challenges and reach the new era of digital sales and marketing.
Remember, sales and marketing alignment is not a simple task. It requires investing time and resources from all parties involved. It also takes discipline in meeting regularly to discuss goals, communicate concerns and, most importantly, celebrate successes. In this guide, we intend to provide some quick-to-implement tips that allow these two areas to formulate a solid sales and marketing strategy that incorporates the strengths of both teams, using up-to-date and accessible online information on the reaction of potential customers.