While there will probably always be some good-natured joking about whether the marketing division or the sales team is more important, ultimately both have to be in synch. After all, all teams within the same company are on the same side. Facilitating an effective marketing and sales alignment can be one of the greatest communication difficulties managers and team leaders are likely to face. These tips will help keep everyone working together and focused on sales enablement.
Tip 1 – Funnel stages should be defined by the entire team
Since sales and marketing are looking at the sales pipeline from somewhat different perspectives, each is likely to develop their own take on the various funnel stages. This can lead to a radically different distribution of resources, emphasis, and overall team focus. To prevent this, get the entire group together to define these important stages.
Tip 2 – Work out a service level agreement
This tip has a lot in common with the first. Being very clear about the KPIs for each team as well as remediation activities if these goals are not met will help prevent some of the misunderstandings that can hamper team effectiveness. Even if this agreement appears to have little to do with, for instance, content marketing or other campaign particulars, providing both teams with the same information is important.
Tip 3 – Communicate campaigns
The particulars of a campaign can be lost through poor communication. Members of the marketing team need to provide their sales counterparts with all the details of new, current, and on-going campaigns. This will help sales members effectively communicate with customers and other target audience members. Internal newsletters can be used to communicate campaign activity as well as share wins, solutions and new ideas. These short bursts of information encourage engagement, too.
Tip 4 – Provide talking points for follow-up
Providing email templates and talking points drastically improves the effectiveness and efficiency of your sales force as they follow up with their prospects. Also, these simple steps ensure that everyone is communicating the same differentiated points and messages. In the end, everyone wins.
Tip 5 – Share performance indicators across teams
Marketing and sales are going to have slightly different key performance indicators and will therefore see a somewhat different set of results. Keeping both teams informed of what their partners’ KPIs are and about the various goals reached will help strengthen the communication between groups. Less catch-up will have to be done during meetings since this important topic is already somewhat familiar to all members.
Tip 6 – Score leads
The goal of alignment is to ensure that the sales team receives warm leads that are in the buying process. Make sure that lead activity is tracked and scored appropriately. This will help keep everyone motivated to nurture weaker leads into strong ones. There is not a perfect scoring process so continuously adjust your lead scoring program to improve MQL to SQL conversion metrics.
Tip 7 – Be open to feedback
Effective communication flows more than one direction. Marketing leaders need to tap into the sales force’s intimate knowledge of the customer. Incorporating the feedback into sales collateral and marketing programs improves the performance for everyone. Most importantly, adapting demonstrates responsive leadership skills and the ability to respond dynamically to changing circumstances.
These seven tips might be some of the first tools in your kit for marketing-sales collaboration but they certainly will not be the last. As these two important teams become aligned, leaders will discover many other ways of promoting collective synergy.