Companies that view marketing and sales as a symbiotic partnership
are outpacing their competitors who view them as separate silos.
You need to align and integrate these functions as much as possible.
Did you know that organizations where marketing and sales are highly aligned achieve an average of 37% greater year-over-year revenue growth than less-aligned competitors?
Studies show that companies that view marketing and sales as a symbiotic partnership — working towards the same goal of revenue growth — far outpace their competitors who view these two functions as separate silos with separate objectives. To address this disconnect, business owners need to integrate their marketing team into their sales efforts whenever and wherever possible.
Here are four tangible ways to ensure this symbiosis occurs.
First, dive into the sales process headfirst.
At TribalVision, we spend several days getting to know a company and interviewing the sales and management teams, before we begin any marketing campaign. Consider having your in-house marketing team invest time in this type of intense inter-departmental discovery as well.
Your marketing team should know your sales process as well as your salespeople, since they are tasked with providing the tools, collateral and marketing tactics necessary to optimize lead conversion. As they evaluate the current sales processes, and learn the nuances of capturing new business, they should pay close attention to the path a prospect takes from initial website inquiry to paying customer.
Your marketing team should also map out every potential sales touch point and uncover ways to strengthen your sales efforts. They should create simple, digestible how-to manuals on every customer interaction, giving your sales team everything they need to generate the perfect quote, proposal, deliverable and support to a client. When sales reps prepare a proposal, a customized pitch deck, a quote or a prospect email, they should be equipped with assets that are polished and credible — to increase their chances to close new business.
Once this happens, your sales team will be thrilled. They will begin viewing your marketing team as an indispensable ally instead of a peripheral department that is out of touch with a salesperson’s daily needs and stresses.
Second, establish a structure for open communication.
It’s key to provide some structure to the sales and marketing conversation to ensure consistent, open communication between both departments. Whenever TribalVision begins an engagement with a new client, one of the first questions we ask is, “How often do your marketing and sales teams communicate?” Although the most common answer is that they speak every day, this rarely means they’re meeting in a structured fashion with clear, pre-determined agendas.
In order to remedy this, schedule a monthly meeting to discuss the previous month’s marketing and sales results, review the upcoming month’s marketing campaigns, and brainstorm innovative ways to generate new business. If these meetings are already taking place, make sure you are distilling each meeting’s action items into clearly laid out next steps. There is nothing worse than attending a meeting with lots of great ideas, but no clear game plan for everyone to follow afterwards.
In addition, use these meetings as a way to build a unified sales and marketing calendar that uses the assets of both teams to reach the end goal of increasing sales. One example of this in practice would be marketing noting a salesperson’s upcoming meeting with an important prospect, and taking the initiative to create a custom PowerPoint pitch deck for that meeting.
Third, integrate your marketing and sales platforms.
Just like the initiative to bridge the communication gap between both teams, communication between your marketing and sales technology platforms is a must. Marketing automation using tools such as HubSpot or Marketo can help establish consistent prospect touch points. CRM platforms such as Salesforce and Zoho can be incredibly helpful for tracking and building meaningful customer relationships with your sales team. Although these two powerful platforms can exist independently of one another, this hinders the effectiveness of both. What good is a qualified lead from a company’s marketing efforts if it doesn’t flow into the sales team’s funnel in a timely, prioritized manner?
If your marketing and sales teams aren’t using these tools, start. If they are, make sure both teams are feeding data into each other, closing the feedback loop. This will ensure your sales team is capitalizing on the fruits of your marketing campaigns — and vice versa.
In the Trenches Takeaway:
To begin, schedule a meeting with your marketing and sales department heads. Encourage each to develop a presentation that illuminates the inner workings of his or her department. If possible, these presentations should be hands on and eventually presented to your entire marketing and sales staff. This will help marketing and sales begin to understand each other in the intimate manner that is necessary for successful integration. In order to maintain this connection, you should intertwine all department meetings. For example, we often encourage our clients’ salespeople to join our marketing focused meetings, as they can provide valuable feedback from the front lines. Their participation also allows us to monitor the effectiveness of follow up and other processes. By instituting long-term collaboration and communication between marketing and sales, you can achieve true partnership between the departments.