Align or die: 4 practical tips for sales and marketing alignment
Traditionally, the focus of marketing teams has been to generate leads for sales, which were then qualified and turned into revenue by sales representatives. However, these days buyers are digitally driven, socially connected and completely in control, and our omni-channel, multi-touchpoint world has turned the traditional sales funnel on its head.
Because of the myriad ways in which customers can now communicate with and learn more about a business, they can now enter the funnel at any stage. Furthermore, instead of just speaking to one salesperson, prospects are now interacting with businesses, numerous individuals, emails, social media and websites throughout the buying process. As a result, sales and marketing alignment has become more important than ever to ensure that every touchpoint the buyer experiences is seamless and memorable, and ultimately delivers an authentic, optimised buying experience.
But how do businesses go about aligning their sales and marketing teams? Here are our four top tips on building bridges between the two functions and streamlining your selling process:
1. Align your goals
More often than not, sales and marketing departments have separate KPIs and objectives with no overlap, making it nearly impossible for both functions to work together effectively. By creating aligned objectives and ensuring both departments are working towards the same goal, the entire selling process will become more streamlined, and more engaging for the buyers themselves.
2. Meet in the middle
In order to work together successfully, it’s essential that marketing and sales teams meet regularly to ensure there is an open and honest channel of communication in place. Although it’s something that can be easily remedied, a lack of communication is one of the biggest causes of misalignment between departments.
Weekly meetings provide a regular opportunity to discuss ongoing marketing activity and ensure it aligns with the overall objectives of both teams. Similarly, by attending regular sales meetings, marketers can gain a better understanding of where gold, silver and bronze prospects are currently sitting in the sales funnel and can ensure their marketing efforts are working to further optimise the nurture stream.
3. Create content together
Sales teams talk to clients and prospects all day, so no one understands the types of content they find most valuable throughout the nurturing process better than them.
By tapping into these insights, marketing teams can create content that both gets to the crux of the audience’s issues and supports the sales team, whether it’s top-of-the-funnel ‘how to’ blogs that can be shared with leads or an engaging product webinar targeted at those who sit at the bottom of the funnel. By working together to agree the content required, sales and marketing teams can ensure they effectively reach prospects at every stage of the buying process in a tailored, memorable way.
4. Showcase sales expertise
Marketing often works to showcase the expertise of a business; however, it can also be used to demonstrate the expertise of a particular salesperson, allowing them to establish both credibility in their industry and familiarity with their leads. For example, by ghost-writing a blog in their name, you are positioning them as a thought leader in the space – an expert that prospects will feel comfortable approaching for help or advice.
Social media channels are another sales tool which marketing can help to optimise. ‘Social selling’ isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a necessity for both B2B companies and individuals who are competing in an increasingly crowded marketplace. When used in an effective and strategic way, channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter allows salespeople to not only build awareness of product feedback and provide customer support, but gives them a platform to distribute content and further showcase their knowledge.
Although it can be daunting at first to know what to say or who to engage with, salespeople can work with marketers to create a well thought out strategy that aligns with the overall objectives and helps make the process more accessible. Marketing teams can also provide content to share or even write posts on an individual’s behalf.
By putting processes in place such as these and embedding them to become a tangible part of a job role, businesses can create a sales and marketing alignment that serves to deliver valuable results. Furthermore, taking steps when someone new joins the company, for example an onboarding meeting to share processes, ensures best practices right from the very start.
Want more tips for aligning sales and marketing teams? Be sure to download our guide today and discover how alignment can truly optimise your selling process.