When your Sales and Marketing teams are not properly aligned, you know you’ve got a communication problem in your company.
Ultimately, your Sales and Marketing teams share the same goal: Pull in consumers to your sales funnel and sell them the product/service your company has to offer. Your management consultant will tell you that things don’t always work that way in the real world. It’s a shame, really, especially since Sales and Marketing alignment can help increase a company’s revenue by up to 20% (based on a 2010 study from Aberdeen Research). Since their goals are fairly similar, friction between sales and marketing teams usually arise from the frustration of not hitting their targets.
Since both teams don’t get to fully comprehend how the other team does its job (and their part in generating profit), conflicts between the two arise. How do you get your teams on the same page? Start by following these alignment best practices.
Agree on the language
Agreeing on definitions and terms is one of the basic ways to unify your teams. For starters, define the following:
Marketing Qualified Leads
Sales Qualified Leads
Top of the Sales Funnel (assigned to the Marketing team)
Middle of the Sales Funnel (mutual responsibility of the two teams)
Bottom of the Sales Funnel (tasked to the Sales Team)
Aside from defining these terms, expectations regarding the terms should also be addressed. For instance, what characterises a quality lead? Who are considered marketing qualified leads and when are they considered sales qualified leads? Create a basic understanding of the terms before exploring deeper communication problems between the two teams.
Set mutual goals
The ultimate goal of both team is to generate profit for the company. Set mutual goals where the roles of each team are clearly defined.
Instead of setting unrelated goals such as “attract an audience section” or “turn leads into customers,” why not create unified goals where they see the part the other team plays in the entire selling process? Doesn’t “turn over qualified leads to the sales team” or “nurture the leads from the marketing team into customers” sound better than the first two goals? This leads to the next point.
Scale the metrics for each team
Measure using similar terms and metrics that both teams understand. Most businesses use the qualified leads generated (by the marketing team) and qualified leads that turned into customers (through the sales team) as metrics. While the number of leads and number of customers might be far apart (depending on business), analysis and strategies can be formed from these data to improve the performance of both teams.
Additionally, instead of blaming the other team, focus on creating strategies that can help them. After all, one team’s numbers can affect the other in the grand scheme of things. If the marketing team isn’t turning over quality leads, tell them and suggest ways on how to improve the process. If the sales team doesn’t nurture the leads enough, it doesn’t matter how many leads the marketing team turned over.
Create lines of communications between the two teams
Create open lines of communications - or better yet, enhance physical proximity - between the teams. Alignment requires close contact between your teams so that they can help each other in creating strategies. For instance, the marketing team can learn from the sales team what kind of marketing initiatives generate more leads. Conversely, the sales team can learn from the marketing team how to better nurture the leads and if the leads are showing interest in the other marketing offers, which just might be the best time for follow-ups.
There are many ways to align your sales and marketing team and improve all other aspects of your business. Download our case study, where we talk about how we helped one of our clients improve their business.