Sales and marketing both play vital roles in business growth and brand image. With the rise of the next black swan events, businesses are striving to adapt in the face of changing circumstances and need to rethink their strategy for getting all parts of the organization aligned.
In theory, sales and marketing are working hand-in-hand toward the same goal, but in reality, they tend to have a great number of claims against each other. During this chaotic time, strong ties within the two crews will help keep lead generation on track, increase revenue and create a more consistent brand image and strategy.
Throughout my career, I have been lucky to play both sides of the fence, which has given me insight on how to align sales and marketing units for maximum effect. Though there is no silver bullet for making this as quick as thought, here is what you should know about building effective teams.
Connect The Dots
There are two major parts of a successful interaction between sales and marketing. First, you must be flexible and be ready to adjust on the go to the current market situation. Second, you should uphold a working strategy that promotes effective communication and problem-solving.
Make sure that everyone within your company supports the concept of a sales and marketing alliance. Pull together an initial meeting where both managers and team members can voice their questions and discuss areas of opportunity that will come from building better communication.
During that meeting, you should determine the workflow and identify:
• Specific point people or a point person: Having a specific person for various communication facets will help guarantee that the right information gets to the right place.
• KPIs or metrics the teams will focus on to meet new company goals: Including this in your workflow will help guarantee that the KPIs align across both teams and that everyone understands their purpose. To avoid misunderstanding and conflicts, make sure both teams know what your ideal customer looks like.
• A method for sales to participate in the content creation process: Sales often wants to communicate with customers earlier on, and this is their chance. Turn content creation into a collaborative effort.
Determining the rules to follow is critical for successful business operations. Don’t leave room for interpretation or deviance; make the flow of communication and the schedule involved as clear and straightforward as possible.
Build Positive Communication
I can’t say enough about the importance of regular communication with both teams to discuss things like brand presentation, market trends and insights. Frequent weekly meetings are a good way to come up with a strategy and brainstorm ideas on how to catch the wave.
To have efficient and effective gatherings, devote a couple of minutes to make up an agenda. It saves a lot of time upfront and helps avoid awkward silence. Share the agenda prior to the meeting so all participants can get ready with ideas, questions and thoughts.
Sales and marketing can work together to decide on the critical KPIs that they will focus on or determine a more straightforward process for handing leads off to sales reps.
Identify Obstacles That Complicate Cooperation
Once you’ve set goals and KPIs, take a closer look at the obstacles your teams have right now. Marketing and sales serve similar purposes but work in very different manners, and over the years, it can lead to some strife and cause many strained bonds. There’s no better time than the present to survey and discuss these common obstacles:
• Communication problems, such as publishing documents or support information in hard-to-find locations, are common. It’s even harder to control and manage knowledge-sharing when teams are working remotely. From sharing company updates to discussing issues over status calls, ongoing and — most importantly — open communication is vital. To avoid frustration, allocate special storage places where you can easily find important items. Confluence, Dropbox, Asana, Airtable or even a simple Google Sheets file can help you streamline knowledge-sharing and update distribution.
• Lack of recognition is a major cause for concern because of how closely these teams interweave when it comes to recognizing success. Sales relies on marketing for leads, and marketing looks to sales numbers as a sign that they’ve done a good job. To keep up team morale, it’s vital to celebrate any achievement, whether it’s big or small. Ask sales to follow up with marketing on how lead conversion is going. This is a good way to ensure that marketing did the right job. You can encourage back-and-forth updates to help tweak your marketing strategy to changing market demands.
Resolve Significant Issues
Though a couple of years ago companies could successfully function without any CRM solution in place, now it’s often impossible. The market has a ton of CRM offerings that can suit a business’s needs, regardless of its size and industry focus. Your first CRM doesn’t have to be the most expensive and have a rich set of available features. Start with the most essential things: organizing contacts, lead management and distribution, sales reporting, and so on. Later on, it will be clear what features or integrations can increase your team’s productivity.
Regular updates of sales and marketing records can foster positive communication, as both teams can easily stay in sync. Updated data is a hidden clue that can help marketing trim its campaigns and support sales with high-quality leads.
Put Your Communication Plan Into Action
It’s difficult to make major changes, especially when they affect two teams that have been working separately for so long. But bringing your sales and marketing together can allow them to collaborate and align on product releases, sales opportunities and using their shared resources efficiently.
Lay the foundation for creating positive communication by bringing management on board and scheduling regular meetings. Then be sure to transmit values within the two teams that help encourage open communication and set a focus on win-win scenarios. Values like knowledge-sharing and freedom of thought about roles and goals can lead to long-term harmony between marketing and sales.