Effective sales and marketing teams know that the key to their mutual success is synergy: the more they collaborate, communicate and help each other, the more successful they will be. And despite potential divides that may have existed in the past, it seems sales and marketing practitioners are finally getting this message.
According to a new study by Televerde in which 200 B2B professionals were surveyed, 62 percent of salespeople believe that sales and marketing are aligned within their companies, with 18 percent believing they are very aligned. In addition, more than three out of four (77 percent) felt the quality of leads they receive from marketing to be good or even excellent. While these results might indicate room for improvement, the study does point to significant advancements, concluding that the divide between sales and marketing “isn’t as bleak as it was five years ago.”
With this in mind, here are five tips for marketers and sales people to work closely together to ensure mutual success:
- Establish regular communication: Marketers cannot collect leads only to throw them over the proverbial wall and hope sales can close them. Conversely, sales shouldn’t blame marketing for any lack of success if they aren’t providing feedback on the leads they are receiving. The Televerde report found that 37 percent of respondents cited a lack of regular communication. Sales and marketing teams must establish a regular communication cadence – best practice is to meet every two weeks to review performance, pipeline and strategy.
- Create service level agreements (SLAs): Sales and marketing pros must agree on what’s important, define success and how it will be measured. In the Televerde report, a full third of respondents complained of differences in lead qualification processes. The bottom line, marketers and sales teams must agree on mutual goals and SLAs on inquiries, leads, pipeline stages and any other deliverable that will be tracked and measured.
- Define your targets: Sales and marketing people may be surprised to learn that they have different views of who their customers, influencers and purchasers may be. And while these targets may inevitably differ by accounts and markets, it’s important to examine and agree to the makeup of the existing customer base and target audiences, along with prospect personas and the buyer journey. Everyone must speak the same language to most effectively reach the right customers.
- Share insights and feedback: In today’s dynamic market, it’s critical that sales and marketing teams share insights gained from industry influencers (such as analysts, media or bloggers), customer feedback (positive or negative) or any competitive intelligence. In addition, learning how the customer first heard of your company or examining sales wins and losses can uncover valuable insight into the buying process. By discovering and sharing such information, sales and marketing can analyze and adjust their strategies for ongoing improvement.
- Align on sales tools: Marketers can often spend a great deal of time, resources and budget creating sales tools or materials that are of little use to sales people. On the flip side, sales people often fall into a rut and may desire to stick with only the sales tools that have helped them in the past. In the Televerde report, sales teams most often desired industry events, value proposition messaging and case studies. Least desired marketing items included blogs, battle cards or industry profiles. These results may or may not apply to your business; the point being that marketing should engage with sales to prioritize (and sales people need to tell marketers) their top most desired sales tools.
Sales and marketing pros should recognize that they frequently have the same goals, but often have different ideas about how to best achieve them. That’s why it’s important they come together to agree on priorities and desired business outcomes. When both parties are in synch and united, the result is greater success for everyone.
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