Disconnect between sales and marketing teams is an all too common problem for many companies. However, sales and marketing alignment is key to your business’s success, and the secret ingredient to that success is excellent communication. We’ve developed these five strategies to keep the dialogue flowing, the ideas forming, and the leads moving down the sales funnel.
Collaborate Through Every Stage Of The Funnel
We tend to think of marketing and sales as sprinters running a relay race on the same team. Marketing carries the baton while building brand awareness, creating online and offline campaigns, and generating leads, then hands the baton off to sales, who finishes the race by closing deals. But what if marketing and sales ran the race together, side by side, start to finish?
To make this happen, sales, marketing, and leadership must change the way they think about marketing and sales communication. The two departments should collaborate at each stage of the funnel to ensure marketing produces the content sales needs to drive prospects down the pipeline, and sales effectively uses that content every step of the way.
Define Terminology Together
Buzzwords… You know them, you love them (maybe), and sometimes you have absolutely no clue what they mean. But let’s face it. They’re pretty hard to avoid, especially in sales and marketing departments. And with new terms constantly emerging, it’s more than likely that some miscommunication will occur between departments.
Host a brainstorming session with sales and marketing to clearly define the terms that you use on a daily basis, and be especially aware of phrases your marketing or sales counterparts may not be familiar with. This session should apply to classic terms as well. You may think you all share a clear understanding of what constitutes a “marketing qualified lead” or an “opportunity,” but you may be sorely mistaken.
Create a Marketing and Sales Service-Level Agreement (SLA)
Once you’ve clearly defined your commonly used terminology, put that language to good use by drafting a service-level agreement (SLA) to establish your common goals.
An SLA is a document (or contract, if you will) that clearly establishes the quantity of leads marketing should provide to sales, the role that both sales and marketing play in collecting those leads, how quickly sales will follow up, what sales will do to nurture those leads through the sales funnel, and how marketing will support sales with engaging and relevant content along the way.
No matter what you choose to include in your Marketing and Sales SLA, be sure you’re answering these questions:
- How many leads should marketing provide to sales and when?
- How quickly will sales follow up with leads?
- What information should marketing include with sales qualified leads to ensure sales can effectively push those leads through the funnel?
- What data should be recorded in the customer relationship management (CRM) system and what common metrics will you use to measure success?
With clearly defined answers to these questions, you’re in for a beautiful sales and marketing union.
Seat Sales And Marketing Together
What’s one way to break down silos and improve marketing and sales communication?
Physically break down the silo by mixing marketing and sales desks together.
When sales and marketing employees sit together, they hear all parts of the process from the other side, can easily ask and answer questions, and holistically improve their understanding of the sales or marketing process and how the two align.
Build Your Tech Stack
With the right technology, your marketing and sales teams can share and access content exactly when they need it. Two tools that are essential for sales and marketing communication are your CRM and your knowledge sharing platform.
A CRM is a tool to store and manage customer and prospect data, such as contact information, records of communication, and past purchases. It helps sales and marketing teams get a clear picture of their customers and develop an informed plan for engaging them.
A knowledge sharing platform is a tool that helps you centralize and search for content that exists across your company. It can help sales and marketing teams stay aligned around content that the marketing team has produced for different use cases and stages of the sales funnel, best practice playbooks the sales team has developed, win alerts that show what messaging is resonating with customers, and more.
Hold multiple trainings to ensure each member of sales and marketing is well-versed in your company’s knowledge sharing platform and CRM. Marketing can use data in the CRM to optimize their efforts and be sure that they’re targeting their content to the right prospects. Sales can use the knowledge sharing platform to instantly search for and deploy the content that marketing is producing. Your teams will eliminate bottlenecks and communicate much more efficiently when you provide them with the technology they need.
Communication isn’t easy in any relationship, but it’s always worth the effort. By building genuine relationships and facilitating marketing and sales communication at all levels, you empower your employees to improve their alignment and drive bottom line results.