Building a strong relationship between sales and marketing can lead to a wealth of opportunities and increased growth.
Alignment starts with perspective.
All too often, sales and marketing teams approach their work from two very different points of view. While each team believes they’re doing what’s best for the business, if they’re not on the same page, all that time and effort invested can end up being counterproductive.
Get started by inviting key sales and marketing team members to a short meeting with a defined end point (so things don’t drag on and people lose interest). Invite each individual to explain his or her role in the company and share any obstacles that complicate their everyday workload. This honest exchange of information is a terrific way to build rapport and give all parties a little more perspective.
Clear Communication is Critical
Any firm dealing with an international customer base is well aware of the challenges language can present. What many of us fail to realize is that communication glitches can occur even when everyone’s speaking the same language…or thinks they are. When positioning a company in the marketplace, it’s vitally important that your sales and marketing teams adopt similar tones and reinforce each other’s messages. In addition to following general corporate guidelines, the Marketing team should consider soliciting field-level feedback from Sales whenever possible. In turn, the Sales team could benefit from Marketing’s input on voicemail messages, email scripts, sales presentations, and more.
Agree on the Ideal Prospect
a pretty good idea of what a viable prospect looks like. Often, that prospect simply meets a list of basic criteria. In truth, however, Sales will possess a more refined vision of that prospect due to their personal experiences. This is when the Sales team needs to sit down with Marketing and share that vision. A seasoned sales rep, having qualified any number of leads in his or her career, can navigate the nuances of evaluating a prospect quickly and efficiently. The more Marketing understands this process, the more effective the team can be. To move forward, both sides must agree on the profile of an ideal prospect: type of industry, industry category, job title, annual revenues, number of employees, geographic footprint, etc. Different prospects may require individualized/unique selling propositions based on their specific needs and wants.
Share Benchmarks, Goals and Performance Metrics
While Sales and Marketing are tasked with their own corporate goals each year, not everyone tends to share that information. When you review those departmental goals, one by one, you can determine whether or not feedback from the other team can make you more likely to succeed. With everyone contributing their experience and insight, goals can often be reached faster and with greater ease. To facilitate progress, both teams should exchange information about the ways in which their department defines success(close ratio, number of inquires etc.).
Lead Generation, Forwarding and Nurturing
Once Sales and Marketing have agreed on the profile of an ideal prospect, a lead generation system must be put in place to acquire qualified inbound leads and then immediately and consistently forward them to the proper personnel. As it can take many attempts to connect with a prospect, and we’d all rather focus on the low-hanging fruit, implementing a formal lead nurturing program can prevent people from slipping through the cracks. After all, every time you call, text, email or visit with a prospect, it’s an investment of time and money. Why waste either? To time your lead nurturing activities most effectively (and not become an annoyance), Sales should update Marketing on the average length of typical sales cycles for different products and services.
Follow Up Often and Keep Sharing Information
While Sales is working both outbound efforts and inbound follow-up, they should be sure to report any interesting feedback, obstacles or unusual circumstances to Marketing so that strategies can be improved on the fly. Using any and all available metrics, the Marketing team should make every effort to track inbound inquiries for future campaign refinement. This data can then be shared with the Sales team. It’s always good for everyone to know what’s working and what’s not. Ongoing communication between the two teams is vital for continued success. Whether you schedule regular Sales and Marketing meetings or choose to swap information regularly via email or messaging, or in a virtual workspace, consider making these connections “conversations” as opposed to “reports”.
Continue to Build Relationships with Your Customers
Keeping a customer happy is a team effort. Once a lead has been converted into a sale, it becomes the job of both teams to retain that customer. Sales and Marketing teams can work together to develop a Customer Retention Program, a system of reaching out and continuing to strengthen the relationships between your customer, your brand and your Sales team. Additionally, try to leverage any current email, telephone or personal interaction. Can you cross-sell other products and/or services? Are there opportunities to up-sell? Will the client provide you with a testimonial? Will they provide you with referrals? Remember, the sale is never about you. It’s always about the customer. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to become a trusted advisor.
Ready to get your Sales and Marketing teams talking?
Why not use our free Team Training Presentation, “A Sales and Marketing Alignment Guide”, to help you kick off the conversation? Request your free download here.