Sales and marketing teams have very similar responsibilities. Marketing departments are tasked with raising awareness of products and services and creating leads for sales teams. This is usually done through a range of different digital marketing strategies, from content marketing, email marketing, and social media, to SEO and PPC. For sales teams, the top priority is of course to turn those leads into a sale, with a great experience that keeps customers coming back time and time again.
When sales and marketing departments work closely together, the customer experience improves dramatically. And the whole business benefits. But in far too many cases, sales and marketing teams end up working in isolation, focusing solely on their own specific goals and metrics, blissfully unaware of how much faster they could reach their potential if the two departments were working as one.
Research conducted by Hubspot revealed that one in four companies would describe their sales and marketing teams as either “misaligned” or “rarely aligned.” When LinkedIn surveyed marketers, they found a similarly alarming picture. Having surveyed marketers in a wide range of different industries, LinkedIn revealed that just 46% of marketers would describe sales and marketing as “highly aligned” at their company.
There are huge advantages to aligning marketing and sales. The automation of key processes and a focus on collaboration and common targets invariably improves results for both departments, and helps to drive growth in the business as a whole. Here are a few simple ways of bridging the gap between sales and marketing teams.
Automate data gathering
Both sales and marketing departments will be responsible for gathering data, but if this data is being measured in different ways, or recorded in different formats, it’s far more difficult for departments to share information and learn from these insights.
It’s well worth setting common guidelines for data reporting across the two departments, and encouraging transparency as much as possible. But automation makes it far easier to keep track of data reporting, leaving no room for error. Data can then be gathered in a way that makes sense to both departments.
Automate digital marketing data gathering and reporting, and make use of user-friendly CRM systems designed to keep tabs on the interactions between customers and sales teams. This avoids any reliance on teams having to remember to input key information, ensuring that all data is as accurate and useful as it possibly can be.
Different departments tend to have their own ideas as to which analytical platforms are most effective, and how their data should be analysed and recorded. But this leaves businesses open to a common pitfall: the lack of collaboration between key departments, and ultimately a loss of hugely important information.
Equip your sales and marketing teams with access to platforms that fulfil the needs of both departments, and check that responsible members of both teams are able to access these to analyze data being recorded by each department. Encourage teams to share their findings and take advantage of the unique skill sets of different departments, to make the most of analytical insights and projections.
Set common targets for sales and marketing
One of the biggest challenges that businesses have to overcome when they set themselves the goal of syncing sales and marketing teams revolves around targets, and how these differ for the two teams.
Quite often, sales and marketing teams will have their own distinct targets. They will measure their own successes in relation to these specific targets, with little regard for the goals that other teams might be working towards.
Unfortunately, this tends to mean that successes are measured without consideration for the impact that these achievements had on the businesses as a whole. So there’s a chance that opportunities to build on the successes of specific teams through better teamwork and shared insights might be missed.
If targets are more unified across sales and marketing teams, the advantages of improved collaboration are immediately clear. And this isn’t a difficult change to make, because many of the metrics that will need to be recorded to measure success across the two teams will already be in place. It’s just a case of shifting the mindsets of the two departments, and encouraging teams to think more about the fact that they are working on a common goal.
Give teams space to discuss problems
The similarities in the key objectives of sales and marketing teams can leave them faced with the same problems, from time to time. But when teams work well together, these issues can quickly be turned into new opportunities.
Bring sales and marketing departments together regularly, to share common problems and work together on solutions. Focus on the sales funnel, paying careful attention to any weaknesses in the funnel, and give teams time to talk about any interactions which might not be performing as well as they could be. Encourage the two departments to share their knowledge and experience to help iron-out these issues.
While both groups will likely have been working on these problems independently, the solutions may well become far clearer when the two teams put their heads together and combine what they already know.
When it comes to aligning marketing and sales, it really is a case of sync or sink. Today’s businesses are having to go above and beyond to deliver outstanding customer experiences, and that can’t happen unless sales and marketing teams are united.