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10 Effective Strategies to Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams

For decades, sales and marketing teams have operated in silos, and that worked for several businesses. In the digital age, however, it is no longer a viable strategy. For organizations to succeed, sales and marketing teams need to collaborate on a regular basis. Companies that fail to align their sales and marketing efforts often find it difficult to remain competitive in a rapidly changing business environment.

You can have an in-house marketing team or hire a digital marketing agency to fulfill your marketing needs. Whichever option you choose, make sure that your marketing efforts align with your sales strategies. A slight inconsistency in the sales and marketing messages or a lack of collaboration between the teams can cost your company massively.

Why Is the Alignment Important?

A successful sales and marketing alignment leads to better communication and seamless collaboration over sales and marketing strategies. Such an alignment fosters better relationships between the teams and results in revenue growth. Also, when teams work towards a common goal, the morale gets a massive boost, and everyone feels excited to deliver more.

If you are able to align your sales and marketing teams, your organization can enjoy several advantages. You will witness:

  • Shorter sales cycles
  • Improved conversion rates
  • Clearer communication to ensure common goals

Moreover, you will see smoother lead handoffs and better utilization of resources, ensuring faster and more sustained growth. Here are 10 effective ways you can improve collaboration and alignment between your sales and marketing teams.

10 Effective Tactics for Sales and Marketing Alignment

1. Develop Strategies Around the Same Buyer Personas

It is important to understand that both marketing and sales teams are working towards the common goal of attracting the same group of customers with their operations. So, before employing any other tactics, it is important to clarify who the ideal customer is. If the teams do not know to whom they want to sell their product or service, it can lead to ineffective strategies and massive confusion between the teams.

In order to get the sales and marketing teams on the same page, it is important to agree on a customer profile by creating an ideal buyer persona document together. This profiling will allow both teams to understand what group of customers to address based on factors such as industry, company size, and experience.

Buyer personas help you understand the challenges faced by the ideal customer group, allowing your teams to create a strategy that can help address those challenges and acquire potential customers. Both sales and marketing teams need to share ideas and collaborate to develop strategies around this buyer persona. Also, if there is any update regarding the buyer profile, it needs to be shared with both teams.

2. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):

Aligning your sales and marketing teams may seem challenging at first, as the efforts of these two teams are measured differently. While the sales team’s performance is measured on numbers (number of new accounts opened, deals closed, or contracts renewed), the marketing team’s performance is measured by brand awareness, lead quality, and lead quantity. This is another reason why aligning these two teams requires a lot of work.

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Defining KPIs for the employees helps you set a path for them to work on, and you should do it for every department in the organization. In order to get your sales and marketing departments in perfect synchronization, you need to start measuring joint key performance indicators (KPIs) for the teams. This measure allows you to unite both teams under one common goal. You are more likely to see harmony between the teams when the teams share joint KPIs.

For example, load-scoring assigns values to each lead generated to help the sales team track the interest of potential customers. Average deal size, account penetration rate, and customer acquisition cost are some other possible areas that you can track. The assessment of the results helps sales and marketing teams decide if they are using the resources (manpower and capital, or both) in the right areas or if it requires some adjustments.

3. Focus on Lead Sharing:

Sales and marketing teams can operate more efficiently through lead sharing. The marketing team puts a lot of work into preparing customized content offers and campaigns to generate leads. When these leads are shared with the sales team, the salespeople qualify, nurture, and convert them.

If you do not have a designated person in the sales team who can accept marketing-qualified leads, you need to review the sales team structure and designate a person who will take the responsibility of receiving and assigning these leads. This is one of the major areas where the sales and marketing teams need to be aligned.

4. Have Regular Smarketing Meetings:

Smarketing, a combination of sales and marketing, is often used to refer to the sales and marketing teams that are perfectly aligned and function as one unit. To make sure your sales and marketing teams are also bonding well, arrange regular meetings. This will help both teams stay connected and improve their rapport with each other.

Whenever a new member joins either of the teams, conduct an onboarding meeting to help them understand the processes, resources, and best practices. Regular meetings should also work on how sales and marketing teams can support each other better for more efficiency. People from the marketing team should also attend weekly sales meetings to understand the quota and goals of the sales team and offer support when needed.

The marketing and sales managers should also communicate on a regular basis to analyze results and assess their service-level agreement. A service-level agreement is created to promote alignment between two parties by setting clear expectations and minimizing any issues before they arise. Regular meetings will also help them share and discuss important metrics such as marketing qualified leads, lead generation, percent of leads worked, conversion rate, etc.

5. Have a Clear Content Creation process:

Content creation plays a crucial role in creating interest among prospects about a product or service a business offers. Since the sales representatives regularly communicate with leads, they are familiar with the factors that get the prospects excited about working with your company. Since sales reps are not equipped with the skills or resources to turn the information into engaging content for a broader audience, the marketing team can help.

As both teams meet regularly, encourage them to have brainstorming sessions to find out what content would help the company attract more leads or convert more prospects into customers. Also, the marketing team can keep the sales team up-to-date with the promotional offers and content so that they know what latest offers their leads are receiving from the company.

To keep the sales team on the same page, the marketing team can create a shared calendar with the date and time of promotion along with major details. Once the offer is promoted in the market and the company starts getting leads, marketers should email the promotional content to the sales team along with crucial information such as offer talking points, lead views, and a quote of the week. The marketing team should also work with the sales team to build follow-up email templates to promote the offers to the old leads.

6. Use CRM Systems

If your “smarketing” (sales + Marketing) team has not started using a customer relationship management (CRM) system, introduce it to them. CRM systems help teams track and analyze customer interactions throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Both sales and marketing teams can use the data collected with a CRM system to get better insights into customer trends and deliver better customer service. CRM systems also help with marketing automation and closed-loop reporting.

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Sales reps can perform personalized interactions with prospects and existing customers based on CRM data. Marketing, on the other hand, has a better understanding of creating suitable content and campaigns that help sales in their lead-nurturing efforts. Moreover, CRM systems can help both sales and marketing teams save time and money while focusing on high-revenue processes. The marketing team can further use CRM data to customize targeted ads and campaigns.

CRM systems also promote cross-departmental communication by offering visibility of the joint KPIs. Also, the unified dashboards on the CRMs help both teams monitor the progress of their work. Teams can use the insights available on CRM to make more informed decisions regarding lead nurturing and other efforts.

7. Use Customer Feedback

In order to become more efficient as a unit, your sales and marketing teams need to look at the feedback your company gets directly from the customers. This customer feedback is also known as Voice of Customer (VOC) data. Sales representatives can gather such VOC data through customer service as well as during sales calls. As you may realize, those are the best opportunities to find out the pain points of the customers and their motivations behind a purchase.

The insights from the VOC data can help the marketing team select specific phrases for new marketing messages. The data can also help refine your company’s product and service offerings. Simultaneously, you can use the data to understand what your customers like about your product or service.

8. Keep the Marketing Messages Consistent

When the sales and marketing departments operate individually, they often end up referring to their products and services differently. The mismatched messaging confuses the potential customers, putting both sales and marketing operations in jeopardy. If sales and marketing are not aligned, you may end up making similar mistakes, creating a wrong impression on the prospects.

You can align sales and marketing teams by encouraging them to maintain consistent messaging across all the platforms. If a sales team is doing cold calls, their messages should be in line with what the marketing team is publishing on the website and other marketing outlets.

The sales and marketing team can collaborate and decide what messaging they want to share with their prospects and existing customers. The marketing team can warm up the prospects using the message, while the sales team will reinforce the same message to close the deal. When the marketing messages resonate with the audience, the sales team can act on them to close more deals.

9. Get Involved in Understanding Sales Calls:

Another effective way to improve sales and marketing alignment is to let the marketing team shadow sales calls. As the salespeople perform their duties and have conversations with the prospects, members of the marketing team can sit next to them once or twice a month and listen to the calls. This can be a great learning experience for the marketing executives.

As this practice will allow the marketers to step into the sales team’s shoes, they will be able to understand their operations better by listening to the sales pitch. They will understand how the product or service is meant to be used and how it solves the customers’ problems.

This is a great team-building exercise, allowing the marketing team to spend time with the sales team. While the marketing team gets insights into the operations performed by the sales team on a regular basis, this practice also helps the marketers get ideas for future content and follow-up emails for the offers conveyed by the sales team.

10. Take Advantage of Sales Enablement Resources

The marketing team usually puts a lot of effort into creating sales enablement resources to make the sales team’s job easier. Such resources include company overviews, brochures, presentations, and more. As long as the sales team has access to these resources, they can use the information to perform their operations more efficiently while promoting sales and marketing alignment.

The sales enablement can act as a neutral conduit between sales and marketing. Sales enablement offers knowledge, tools, resources, and best practices required to be successful in this competitive market.

According to data from Learn Hub, 50% of all prospect engagement is generated with just 10% of sales enablement content. So you can understand how effective this practice can be in aligning your sales and marketing teams while successfully engaging with prospects.

Bonus Tip: Enjoy the Journey Together

To achieve a complete alignment of the sales and marketing teams at your organization, you need to make them comfortable with each other. If they do not enjoy each other’s company, it can be difficult to get them to work together and achieve a common goal. If you are given the responsibility to improve sales and marketing alignment, you need to give them the space where they can comfortably mingle with each other.

Apart from conducting regular meetings to discuss work, you should also let them bond while doing fun activities. Organize outings, potlucks, and celebrations to make sure both teams develop a good relationship outside of work. This will help build trust among team members and ensure that people feel comfortable to ask for support whenever required.

The goal should be to let the teams enjoy what they are doing. And it is only possible when they share a good rapport with each other. You can organize improv workshops, karaoke, or other fun activities at work to help improve their synergy. However, make sure that they are getting enough opportunities to work together in order to achieve the shared goals.

Parting Thoughts

Aligning your sales and marketing teams is a great way to improve your business operations and boost lead acquisition, which can later help increase revenue. From shortening the sales cycles to increasing conversion rates, you can achieve a lot for your business by aligning these two teams. While bringing two teams together can be challenging at times, you can achieve it using the strategies mentioned above.