The gap between sales and marketing teams is a common problem that many companies experience. Quite often there are people aware that communication needs to be improved, but no definitive action is ever taken. Aligning marketing and sales is crucial to the success of any company.
Marketing and sales have been treated like they are mutually exclusive elements for a long time. However, more and more companies from various niches and industries are starting to notice this as an issue. They have found that the two departments have more success if they work together.
Marketers often don’t take advantage of how much experience and knowledge sellers have interfacing with customers. Sales professionals have a hands-on approach and an invaluable closeness with the target market. Marketing personas are great but, you should also learn from your sales team if you want to succeed in the challenging modern marketing climate.
The inverse is true also, sales can learn a lot from marketing. Often, they don’t trust the marketing department to guide brand awareness conversions. Strong marketing helps sellers focus on priorities and be more productive and efficient.
Tension Between Sales and Marketing
There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition between departments, in fact it can help with innovation. Aligning marketing and sales is a serious challenge, but it’s one worth meeting. The world of digital marketing and social media has changed the buying process.
Conflict is a huge issue. Marketing Pulse Survey surveyed about 500 CMOs in the United States to get to the bottom of what was causing CMOs today to have such short tenure. 40% said that the organization couldn’t rally around the agenda to change what they were hired to and intended to change. 37% left due to inability to connect what they were doing with tangible business outcomes. It’s an age-old marketing challenge isn’t it? We all know marketing is important to business growth, but it’s still sometimes difficult to pinpoint how CMOs are contributing to the bottom line.
“Even though there is a lot of talk about CRMs and the social selling, sales people often win clients over the old-fashioned way – through phone calls, brochures and PowerPoint presentations. Marketers, by contrast, have been strongly disrupted in almost all aspects of their work by digital technologies and internet,” says Brian Renda, brand builder at Revieweal and BoomEssays. Sales hasn’t need to evolve as quickly as marketing has.
Starting the Dialogue Between Sales and Marketing
So, we know that the dialogue between sales and marketing is important, but where do we start to improve communication?
- First, the two departments should begin by agreeing on their roles in the customer journey.
- Agree on a system for communication about leads. Where does the marketing begin and the sales end? Regular follow-up meetings on campaigns will help keep both departments aligned.
- Hold each other accountable for outcomes.
- Marketers should actively engage their sales colleagues in the content development process. Not only will marketers create richer content, but salespeople will be more familiarized with the content when it comes time for prospecting.
Why Alignment is So Important
Some interesting new research has found that sales and marketing alignment is key to growth. But, how do you get there? Content marketing is a good bridge between the departments. Marketers are much more likely to cooperate with their sales colleagues when marketers are utilizing content.
We also know that highly aligned companies are much more likely to have a documented content strategy (75% of the companies with aligned departments have documented content strategy versus 41% of companies that don’t have alignment.) Highly aligned companies much more frequently have a centralized content repository (79% of the companies with aligned departments have centralized content repository compared to 55% of the companies without aligned marketing and sales.)
Alignment is not just a buzzword it’s essential to creating a growth culture. You need to cover the full funnel.
Customer Experience is Changing
So why now? Frankly, you can’t afford to ignore this alignment issue anymore. The future of customer experience is going to mean that the lines between marketing and sales will blur even more than they already have. Customers are inundated with email, and hard to reach. You don’t get as many chances as you once did to capture their attention. Engagement is going to be fast, which means you must get it right. Marketing and sales will have to work together and put their heads together,” writes Savanna Keenan, content marketer at Essayroo and Academized.
Clients are expecting to get great service and an amazing experience – they want to feel special and treated well. The experience needs to be seamless and memorable for each client.
There are opportunities for content marketing and lead nurturing so the seamless transition from sales to marketing – back and forth – needs to be as smooth as possible. This is the way of the future – it’s how your company will succeed and grow.
Marketing and sales departments may not be so well known for their cooperation, but the future is telling us it’s necessary. Companies would get more sales and much better business results if these two fronts were united. If you are satisfied with how everything works right now, just imagine what could happen if your marketing and sales became exponentially more collaborative.