Sales and Marketing Alignment: Are You Doing It Right?
Historically, there has been a lot of gripe between sales and marketing departments. Sales often feels as though marketing doesn’t provide them with the resources they need whereas marketing feels as though sales isn’t communicating their needs well enough. If we were to talk about sales and marketing from a literary standpoint, their trope would be “enemies to lovers.” It’s a classic, really! Well, spoiler alert — the happy ending is sales and marketing alignment.
While sales and marketing often experience roadblocks that prevent them from working together, they also have very similar goals. From garnering new leads to converting them into customers, sales and marketing alignment is key to driving revenue and better business outcomes. According to LinkedIn, 87% of sales and marketing leaders say collaboration between both departments enables vital business growth.
But the question remains: is your sales and marketing alignment optimal? We’ve put together four strategies to help you better align sales and marketing to improve productivity, performance, and profitability.
1. Developing and Agreeing on Buyer Personas is Key to Sales and Marketing Alignment
Often, the marketing team creates buyer personas in a vacuum based on their assumptions without getting agreement from the sales team that the personas are indeed accurate. This is a huge mistake. Both teams need to work together to identify the traits, characteristics, and behaviors of each buyer persona.
Think about it like this — the sales team undoubtedly has a plethora of insight on various buyer personas because they actually speak to the buyers. Marketing can leverage the insights they generate from lead nurturing to gain a better understanding of which messaging resonates with different audiences. Sales and marketing alignment enables both teams to work together to develop a clearer picture of exactly who their best-fit customers are. As a result, marketing is better able to target buyers more effectively by demonstrating their sufficient knowledge of the buyer’s pain points and needs. From here, the marketing team can pass along high-quality leads to sales enabling them to close more deals.
2. Consistent Communication is a Requirement to Meet Shared Goals
For optimal sales and marketing alignment, it’s evident that both teams need to have shared goals. These goals can range from developing more consistent and effective content to garnering a 5% increase in revenue in the next quarter. Whichever the goals are, regular communication between sales and marketing is vital to achieving them.
Consistent communication begins with regular meetings with both the sales and marketing teams whether weekly, monthly, quarterly, or all of the above. To ensure these meetings are valuable and produce actionable tasks, it’s important to:
- Review reports and analyses of the efficacy of marketing content
- Monitor and track KPIs to strategize on how to reach a common goal
- Go over pipeline updates on an individual and team-wide basis
- Open the floor for both teams to discuss any challenges or obstacles they’re facing
By discussing all the roadblocks, looking at the metrics, and collaborating to develop effective solutions, sales and marketing alignment strengthens with each meeting.
3. Both Sales and Marketing Must Work Together to Create Effective Content
One major obstacle that hinders sales and marketing alignment is a lack of clarity and visibility into which content is most effective in marketing and sales interactions. Respectfully, marketing often has little insight into the sales pipeline to understand which pieces of content are resonating with buyers. Similarly, sales is often unsure of which marketing content is attracting and bringing in new leads.
To combat this phenomenon, it’s key to have a steady stream of feedback from both sales and marketing teams to ensure marketing is developing the right content for sales to share with buyers at the right time. Thus, it’s necessary for marketing to get feedback from sales about what content is working in their sales interactions, what resources they may need more of, and which types of content could be improved.
4. Sales Enablement Needs to be a Priority
Gartner defines sales enablement as, “the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help salespeople sell more effectively.” According to recent research, 76% of content marketers forget about sales enablement, even though it's a process owned jointly by sales and marketing. This is a major pitfall in sales and marketing alignment.
When the ultimate goal of sales and marketing is to drive revenue and business growth, not providing sales teams with the proper content to effectively conduct sales is detrimental to business outcomes. Essentially, both sales and marketing need to collaborate to identify the resources and content that are needed to drive sales. When in alignment, marketing is primarily responsible for creating sales enablement content and sales is responsible to leverage this content to motivate buyer’s toward making a purchase.