What You Need to Know about Aligning Sales and Marketing
Too often, with too many businesses, sales and marketing are considered separate entities. While they might be different departments within your business, they rely on one another. Your sales and marketing efforts must be aligned if you’re to see success in today’s competitive world. How do you do that, though?
The Same Page First and foremost, you have to get your sales and marketing staff on the same page. They need to work from a shared dictionary of what various terms mean. For instance, a “lead” should mean the same thing to someone in your sales department as it does to someone in your marketing department. The various sales stages must be recognized and understood as well. Get both departments on a level playing field, and alignment will come more easily.
Foster Communication There can be no alignment if your sales and marketing teams don’t communicate with one another. This can be a real challenge for many businesses, particularly if your teams are located in geographically different areas. There are numerous workarounds to this, including regular group meetings, mind-mapping sessions and the like. It’s also important that they’re able to share information freely. It’s vital that your company’s information does not end up in a silo – it’s not the department’s proprietary information. It’s the company’s data. It should be freely shared when needed.
Set Common Goals All too often, sales and marketing departments have very different goals. This obviously leads to them working toward different ends, in different ways, rather than working in tandem to build success for the business overall. While each department will certainly have specific goals that apply to them alone, they should also have shared goals that foster teamwork, collaboration, communication and growth.
Reporting Who’s in charge of each department? If you have a manager in charge of each, it might be time to rethink your organization. By having both the sales and marketing departments answer to the same executive, you provide them with a common guiding hand, as well as the opportunity for greater unification, collaboration and communication.
Provide Better Tools In order to align your marketing and sales teams, consider giving them the right tools for the job. For instance, many companies don’t realize that their website is a storefront. You need transparent pricing, competitor comparisons, user-friendly navigation and more to empower customers to make the right decision (supported by the efforts of your marketing team, and moving them into the sales funnel to your sales staff).
Shared Dashboard As a final note, consider instituting a shared marketing/sales dashboard. This enables your staff to understand the speed at which your sales funnel moves, the various twists and bends along the way, and gives them the chance to make adjustments in real-time to encourage leads to become customers and, hopefully, brand advocates.
Make no mistake – aligning your sales and marketing teams can be difficult. However, Oracle notes that companies that do so see an average of a 20% increase in profitability annually. That’s well worth the effort.