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It is not uncommon to find a company, no matter how large or small they are, that's dominated by either the sales or marketing team. However, it is rare to find a business that's dedicated to both and think of the two functions as an equal, integrated team. Although evidence suggests that organizations with strong marketing and sales alignment generate nearly 40% more revenue than companies lacking it, most marketing and sales teams remain in constant conflict.
Here are six simple ways to start building unity between your marketing and sales teams:
1. Align your goals
In the end, both marketing and sales have the same end goal -- earning clients and contracts for the company. However, the metrics that they're evaluated on can be quite different. For example, marketing might be evaluated on pure lead generation numbers, leading them to implement strategies and tactics that inbound a large number of prospects who are low value. If salespeople have goals on converting a certain percentage of these leads, it's clear that there's a misalignment.
Instead, it's important to ensure that the two teams have goals that are in sync. For example, marketing success should be measured against the value of the leads marketers provide in addition to the volume of leads. This leads marketing to have more skin in the game and a good reason to support their sales team in closing high-value contacts more frequently.
2. Exchange information & meet regularly
A recent poll taken showed that 7 out of 10 marketing professionals believed that they needed to meet with their company's sales teams to make sure their goals were aligned. Having sales meetings for the sake of having meetings isn't effective, but it's clear that the meetings you do have need to include both teams. This encourages them to keep in touch with each other and discuss whether or not the leads being generated by marketing are valuable, and what the most valuable customers care about.
3. Invest in the right technology
An aligned marketing and sales team has the same goals and metrics, which means they need a way to view progress together. A strong marketing automation software or customer relationship management system will be able to handle this. A shared dashboard allows both teams to understand pipelines and real-time metrics, allowing them to shape their strategies together. They can instantly share information, send notes back and forth, and pull reports from the same database. In fact, studies reveal that a vast majority of the highest performing companies provide marketers with access to the sales team's CRM system.
4. Get management support
Results in an organization trickle down from the top, so if you want marketing and sales to align it needs to be important to the highest ranking executives in the company. Beyond that, the sales and marketing managers need to be onboard with the alignment, too. Ideally, both of these managers will report to the same director. By having so much support from senior executives, tension between the two teams should diffuse and they can focus on working towards accomplishing shared goals together instead of operating separately.
5. Create content together
One of the most important tasks sales and marketing can work together on is the creation of branded content and sales collateral. Sales needs great content to generate organic leads and push their current leads further down the funnel. Whitepapers and case studies can be the final piece of information an interested customer needs to pull the trigger. Marketing, on the other hand, usually creates content that is aimed at improving search rankings, website engagement and traffic.
Instead of creating this content separately, marketing and sales must work together. Keeping the message and tone consistent on all content is the key to keeping leads engaged throughout the entire process. Instead of spraying and praying, they can make targeted, useful content together, generating better results for everybody involved.
6. Invest personal time together
Sometimes the only thing you need to foster alignment between marketing and sales is allowing them to get to know each other. Instead of just attending joint sales and marketing meetings together, set time aside for the two teams to mingle outside of the office. Organize a group lunch for both teams or a post-work happy hour. The more comfortable and friendly everybody is with each other, the more likely they are to work together effectively and lean on each other when necessary.
Aligning your marketing and sales teams can be an enormous task, especially if they've operated independently for a long period of time. The only way for each team to reach its potential and provide maximum value to the organization, however, is to integrate with the other by following the tips listed above.
Danny Wong is the co-founder of Blank Label, an award-winning luxury menswear company. He also leads marketing for Conversio, an all-in-one ecommerce marketing dashboard, and Tenfold, a modern phone intelligence platform. To connect, tweet him @dannywong1190 or message him on LinkedIn. For more of his clips, visit his portfolio.