Peanut butter and jam.
Puppies and the park.
Beach days and ice cream.
Some things obviously go together – but what if I put sales and marketing together on this list? Would you still think they would work better as a couple?
Most likely, you didn’t see your sales and marketing as your company’s “peanut butter and jelly”. However, the alignment of sales and marketing is more important than you think.
Put simply, the alignment between marketing and sales is really about focusing on the customer – and today, customer buying behavior has changed significantly.
Fortunately, the better you can align your sales and marketing teams, the more likely you are to delight a prospect. In fact, companies with closely coordinated sales and marketing teams are 6% more likely to exceed sales targets.
Here we’re going to explore why sales and marketing are important to a company – and, equally important, why they are important together.
Definition of sales and marketing
Marketing is the process of getting people interested in your company’s product or service, while sales includes any activity related to selling that product or service to a consumer or business. One cannot exist without the other. You can’t sell without first getting consumer interest through marketing, and you can’t be a marketer without a team ready to sell the product once you get a consumer’s attention.
First, let’s examine the benefits sales and marketing can bring to your business.
Sales are ultimately crucial to the bottom line of your business. You cannot achieve scalable growth without an impressive sales team. At its simplest, the goal of your sales team is to qualify prospects, build relationships with them, and ultimately deliver a solution that will benefit prospects. When a sales transaction is successful, it results in a sale, happy customer, and revenue for your business.
For sales teams to excel, your salespeople must invest in your customers’ success. You need to understand the weaknesses and barriers of your prospects and show how your product or service provides a solution – the best solution – to these problems.
Alternatively, marketing is about creating interest in potential consumers and letting the world know that your business and its products or services exist. Marketing uses both emotions and analytics to reach an audience and convert curious viewers into qualified leads.
Here’s the thing though – today, a buyer doesn’t follow the traditional marketing to sales to customer funnel.
Instead, every single prospect follows a unique path. A prospect may know they want to buy your product before they even speak to a sales rep because they have already been convinced of your Instagram account.
Alternatively, another prospect may speak to a sales rep first and then need additional marketing in the form of webinars or blog posts before closing the deal.
Your shopper has unlimited information at hand – she can review your Facebook page, blog posts, website, and customer product reviews before even speaking to a sales rep.
When a prospect who has already read thirteen customer reviews contacts your sales rep, they’ll need a different conversation than a prospect who only heard about your company through a Facebook ad.
Because of this, your marketing and sales teams need to be closely coordinated – because your buyer needs to communicate with and be sold to them anywhere, anytime. The traditional sales and marketing tactics no longer work.
To achieve scalable growth, it is important that your marketing team give your sales team all of the information about a prospect before a salesperson even calls.
Sales and Marketing Strategy
To really excite your customers, it’s important that you reduce the friction by implementing a strategy to align your sales and marketing teams. For example, your sales and marketing teams can work together to create a buyer persona or document content gaps on a buyer’s journey. While it looks like the two teams have different measures of success, they should ultimately share the goal of being customer-centric, even at the expense of their individual processes.
By aligning sales and marketing, your company can get 67% better closing deals and 209% more sales from marketing.
Failure to align your sales and marketing teams is not only unhelpful to the customer, it also hurts your bottom line.
But it’s easier said than done. Aligning sales and marketing, especially in a growing company, can feel like an incredibly difficult process.
Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can implement to immediately ensure a smoother relationship between the two teams.
1. Ask your marketing and sales team to work together to create a buyer personality.
Your marketers have a solid drive for the consumer – they have done extensive research, engaged with prospects through social media and email, and held focus groups.
Most likely, however, your marketers haven’t spoken to these potential customers directly. You may not fully understand your prospects’ greatest weaknesses or the challenges your product or service currently cannot face. You will only get these insights from your sales team.
Ultimately, in order to get a complete picture of your consumer, it is important that each team helps shape the buyer personality. For example, your marketing team may have an initial buyer personality created through research and brainstorming sessions. However, you then collect information from salespeople to modify and refine that persona.
To ensure that every team is working with the same consumer, it is important to get initial information from sellers and get final approval from a buyer personality.
2. Document content gaps on a buyer’s journey.
Your sales and marketing teams should take the time to put together everything that both teams created to solve for the customer – including white papers, infographics, e-books, case studies, and email streams.
Then the employees of each team should openly discuss what is missing. A sales rep may notice that your marketing team hasn’t created e-books on a topic that affects the most potential customers. Alternatively, your marketing team may need your sales team to provide input for creating a more useful customer case study.
Additionally, both teams should take the time to organize and understand what content is best for which stage of the buyer’s journey. While this is likely to be a lengthy process, it will help both teams make their strategies more effective in the long run.
3. Track every interaction your customer has with your company.
Today it is one of the most critical strategies that you need to implement. It removes friction for the customer and helps your sales reps close more deals.
For example, consider how you would feel if you were speaking to a sales rep for the first time. He already knew where you worked, how long you were there, which e-mail newsletters you subscribed to, and which corporate network events you attended. You’d probably be more impressed than talking to a sales rep who’s never heard of you, right?
It’s important that you find a way to keep track of every interaction your customer has with your business – a free CRM is incredibly useful for this.
4. Be customer oriented with your language.
All too often, marketers and sellers use different languages and rely on different analytics to measure success. For example, a marketer’s success can be based on blog traffic, Facebook likes, email subscriptions, or YouTube viewers.
Alternatively, a salesperson’s ultimate measure of success is sales.
However, there is one goal that both teams share – and that is to be customer-centric.
In order to align both teams, it is important that your sales reps and marketers consider the customer first. When a marketer notifies a prospect via email, they should consider the person on the other end – and whether they would like to receive that email and how that email might be helpful to them.
Also, when a saleswoman picks up the phone, she needs to remind herself that the conversation isn’t about making a sale, but about solving a problem for a prospect.
In this sense, it is easier for your teams to blur the lines between their individual tasks and responsibilities and to recognize their very common desire to solve for the customer, even beyond their own processes.