Sales and marketing alignment is critical to the success of any business. According to Forbes Insights, 75% of top-performing organizations have strong alignment between sales and marketing. In contrast, 87% of companies below revenue targets report poor sales and marketing alignment.
However, while businesses recognize that sales and marketing should be working together, most struggle with actually executing sales and marketing alignment strategies. Even organizations that have a solid strategy could use some realignment now and again.
Here are three key practices to align sales and marketing.
Focus on Communication
I always think about siblings fighting when I picture the communication between marketing and sales. There is usually the classic finger pointing when sales doesn’t meet its goals. “We didn’t get enough leads from marketing,” they say, followed by “Sales didn’t follow up on all our qualified leads.” A great way to steer things away from the blame game is to establish routine communication.
Start by scheduling a recurring weekly meeting with the two departments. Taking the time to discuss projects, deals, and updates on a weekly basis can prevent misunderstandings and countless other communication issues.
Focus on Measurements, And More Importantly, Share The Results
Most department heads are already measuring marketing’s lead flow and sales’ percent of leads worked and closed. These metrics keep people honest and accountable. But there is less open discussion about these numbers across sales and marketing teams.
At the weekly meeting suggested above, each department should discuss where they stand in relation to their goals, and if they are struggling, both teams can brainstorm ways to solve the problem. For example, if marketing isn’t attracting enough qualified leads sales could offer to engage and share more on social media or suggest a piece of content that they think would be popular based on prospect conversations. The point is to have goals and the status of those goals out in the open between departments so teams can assist each other in achieving the goals. Of course this also includes celebrating together when departments reach their targets.
Use Technology To Refine Communication and Measurement
Good sales enablement technology can help you communicate more effectively and measure your goals. Though many communication issues can be resolved by meeting weekly, having a place online where sales and marketing can easily share documents, find information, and ask questions is critical to ongoing communication. Sales enablement technology with strong analytics and insights also helps to improve measurement accuracy.
Sales enablement solutions can reveal things both departments don’t know without it. For example, sales may believe a deal didn’t close because of price but insights may reveal that prospects who didn’t convert were sent a particular piece of content that did not address their need. Marketing and sales can then determine what content would better meet the need and ensure its delivery to the prospects in future deals.
All of these key practices work together to align sales and marketing. And it takes all three to make an impact. It’s a balancing act that requires planning and cooperation but is well worth the reward.
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