5 Ways to Improve Sales and Marketing Collaboration
Imagine yourself in a kayak frantically paddling down the river. You’re in a race and need to cross the finish line faster than anyone else.
But you’re not alone: you have a fellow kayaker behind you, a teammate. Together you sweat blood and paddling fast striving to be the best. You pursue your shared dream — to win the 1st place in this race at all costs.
Suddenly, your partner starts to paddle against the current. You’re dazed and confused. It seems that he’s gone mad! All that’s left is to say bye to your dream and let it sink in the murky waters.
Know where we are going with this?
This scenario will likely never happen to fiercely competitive kayakers. However, it conveys very well the absurdity of the situation that is often the case among the sales and marketing teams. Instead of collaborating on the issue, they get involved in a senseless (or even devastating for the company) game of tug-of-war.
Unlike athletes, these two departments lose their ground and forget that they are in the same boat. And the finish line of the race is the success of their company.
It’s not unusual for sales and marketing departments to act as rivals. According to The American Marketing Association, 90% of marketing materials are never used by sales teams. Other research shows that business-to-business (B2B) companies lose over 10% of their revenue as a result of misalignment between sales and marketing processes. It sounds, erm, a bit scary.
Do you suspect your sales and marketing teams aren’t getting along as much as you’d like? Or, on the contrary, do you find their collaboration is quite effective? Let’s do a quick test: we’ll provide you with five ways to align sales and marketing teams, and you determine what you’ve been already tried within your organization. Each answer like “yes, they cooperate in that” is worth 1 point.
Well, here are the areas where effective sales and marketing teams work better together:
1. Defining the same goal
At first glance, the primary goals of sales and marketing are entirely different: sales reps have to drive revenue, while marketers are responsible for promotion and lead generation. But look: the primary goal remains the same for both teams — to help the company succeed in their industry and be customer-centric.
Because of this, they must share information with each other to align their goals. Small departmental objectives can’t interfere with the principal targets, so it’s important to clarify details before you start acting. Acting as one.
2. Sales content creation
You need to have a high-quality content on your website, landing pages, social media and beyond to get leads in the top of your sales funnel. That’s one of the primary things the marketing team focuses on. At the next stages of the pipeline, the sales team uses specific content to retain a lead and turn him/her into a prospect.
All the content you use to move the client down the funnel should be made by each team working together. Let’s define great collaboration utilizing the creation of a marketing proposal template as an example. But of course, a marketing campaign template will also work.
Marketers usually write proposals. They know how to engage your audience but when it comes to the personalized marketing proposal — their methods fail. Here we can’t ignore the fact that sales reps are closer to the client. They know what questions the prospects usually ask and how to answer them correctly. A working scheme looms: sales reps learn the most common pains and needs of the clients — sales and marketing teams discuss their findings — marketers write a compelling proposal which addresses every potential issue.
3. Buyer persona development
Guess what will happen if sales and marketing teams decide to map out buyer personas separately. Yes, you’re right: they will come up with two different kinds of personas. Who to trust? You should trust everyone and anyone at the same time. Each team is right in its own way, but it doesn’t provide a full-blown insight into how to develop your buyer personas.
Both teams need to keep each other in the loop for more accurate targeting. Combining the two sides of one coin, you’ll outline the most comprehensive buyer personas everyone can benefit from.
4. Turning leads to MQLs and SQLs
In some companies, the funnel is divided into two parts: the marketing funnel (wider part) and the sales funnel (the next stages which involve direct communication with a customer). But where do you draw the line? Does the line even exist?
We recommend you to let both teams be present in the entire customer’s journey. However, there are two sections in a pipeline where the collaboration between sales and marketing should be particularly close. Turning leads to marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs) are their shared responsibility.
After nurturing the leads, marketers need to put them in sales rep’s hands. Any delays in this process — and you’ll be running out of clients very soon. Leads are not going to wait for a sales rep to reach out to them in 3 days, they will leave and buy from your bona fide rival.
Still, turning an MQL into SQL too soon can hurt your business. To avoid this, set the exact number of MQLs needed for a sales rep to start engaging with a prospect. Also, determine the response speed and the frequency of attempts to engage the lead.
These parameters vary from company to company. The only way to build up a robust strategy of lead scoring is a trial. The single key to the successful trial is communication.
5. Socialization and personal relationships
The 5th and bonus tip to encourage the two departments to conspire is to engage them in informal socialization. Let them go out of the office and talk to each other about something besides a company’s interests.
A friendly environment in the workplace makes people happier and, as a result, more productive. The strong personal relationships between marketers and sales reps will transform the selling process into a fun game. Everyone loves games so your company will close deals faster than ever. Long live friendship!
Sales and marketing collaboration in your company
The collaboration between sales and marketing is one of the key business directions. After all, what are the primary goals of any business? To deliver high-quality content, target the right customers matching buyer persona, personalize the post-click experience and generate marketing and sales qualified leads. These are exact areas in which sales and marketing show much better results when working together. By just merging your marketing and sales activities and improving the collaboration, you can expect your marketing to start converting more leads into opportunities and the sales team to hit their quotas faster.