When you boil it down, a sales team and a marketing team have the same basic goal: To increase revenue. Both teams focus on bringing in new business, retaining existing customers, and spreading the word about your products and services. That’s why so many leading businesses concentrate on sales and marketing alignment.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, we’ll break down why it’s a useful strategy, and outline the CRM software solutions and other items you’ll need to get your sales and marketing team to work together.
What is sales and marketing alignment?
Simply put, sales and marketing alignment means these two departments share the same strategy and support one another. In many businesses, sales and marketing are siloed, and will only communicate with each other on an as-needed basis.
What does sales and marketing alignment look like? Members from both sides of the equation will have frequent and structured communications. They’ll also support each other toward the same larger goal of increased sales and revenue.
Some businesses take what’s known as a “Smarketing” approach. This means that rather than having a separate sales and marketing team, they merge the two departments.
What are the benefits of aligning sales and marketing?
You can expect major benefits both internally and for your customers when you align sales and marketing.
Here are some examples:
According to a study by MarketingSherpa, 79% of generated leads never convert to sales. Though there are many reasons a lead may not convert, a big part of the problem for many businesses is the lack of nurturing. To properly turn a lead into a full-fledged customer, businesses need to provide them with useful, relevant content and touchpoints to help them down the funnel. This is very hard to do if the people focusing on the beginning of the funnel (your marketing team) aren’t communicating well with the people responsible for the end (your sales team).
Improved customer retention
Bringing in more new business is only half the job. It’s equally important for businesses to retain their current customers. Both sales and marketing have a role to play here. The marketing team must continue to offer new benefits, updates, and value to keep customers on board; the sales team, however, has a deep understanding of existing customers (as they are the ones bringing them into the business). By working together, your sales and marketing experts can come up with a strategy that prioritises retention.
A streamlined customer experience
The best businesses out there offer a streamlined experience for customers, with no disruptions as they move from cold lead, to warm lead, to a client. As a result, customers now expect businesses to have a smooth transition period, and they’ll take their business elsewhere if they feel neglected. By aligning your sales and marketing team, you can give your customers this same streamlined experience, leading to more conversions and a longer customer lifecycle.
Improved internal collaboration
When kept siloed, it’s not uncommon for the sales and marketing team to be at odds. Because they are working toward the same goal, it’s hard for teams to know where their responsibilities start and end, which can lead to tension. By aligning the sales and marketing team, this tension will dissipate, and your internal staff with experience new cohesion that will help them function better as a team.
How to start aligning your sales and marketing team
Does sales and marketing alignment sound like something you want for your business? If so, here’s how you can get started:
Outline and assign the roles and tasks needed
The first step toward sales and marketing alignment is to take stock of the existing roles you have on both teams and decide how they can begin to complement each other. For this process, involve leadership from both sales and marketing. Start by outlining every role on both teams, looking for places where roles may overlap or complement one another. Once you’ve done this, you can determine whether you want to move to a fully integrated “Smarketing” team, or simply align certain aspects and members of either department.
Organise a series of strategy sessions
Next, it’s time to get all the key players in your newly aligned department(s) together to build out a growth strategy. The teams may already have some in place, which means you simply need to work to align the strategies, or you can build one from scratch. Start with the goals you want to achieve—set these clearly, and make sure that the overall goals are the same for everyone. Next, have team members discuss the best methods for achieving those goals. As the two teams discuss their plan of attack, they’ll likely discover new ways to support each other and work together.
Enhance your communication methods
Your team will need to make sure they are communicating effectively and frequently going forward. You’ll need to put standards in place for communication. It’s also a good idea to arm them with technology that makes the process easier. For example, you may want to install a new internal chat system to make it easier for people to communicate no matter where they are.
Don’t be concerned if you hit some road bumps in the process of aligning your sales and marketing efforts. Changes often cause friction, but as long as your team work together and align their goals, you’ll see long-term success.