Sales and Marketing teams both want to achieve the same goal; acquire new leads and convert them into customers to sustain a successful business. However, they often clash, crossover and generally misalign meaning that processes and relationships become strained and leads may be lost.
Most of us will have experience of the frustrations of working in a business where teams conflict on what's best for a business. All the while missing the opportunities to work together and navigate through the mist of egos and accountabilities that so often stifle progress.
Agility, communication and creating the right processes with the right tools are key to building the bridge that will unite these sides. We understand the vital relationship between these two disciplines, so we wanted to give you some tips to ensure your sales and marketing teams are aligned for success to get you started.
What's the problem?
Let's start by looking at why there is so often an issue between the misalignment of the sales and marketing teams to begin with. The evolving roles of these teams due to the digital revolution means that there are some blurred lines that can cause ownership frustrations. The below image shows how marketing teams are now far more involved in the sales process.
Image Source: https://uk.marketo.com/marketing-and-sales-alignment/
Therefore, we need to break down the barriers of separation and align the teams as sales does not start when marketing ends but instead we need to deliver a smooth customer experience from first contact until close. Our businesses and branded content/channels are more visible than ever before. CMI and LinkedIn research on B2B prospective buyers found:
- 92% of B2B buyers start with an information search
- 53% of B2B buyers find that researching online is superior to interacting with a salesperson
- 75% of B2B buyers depend on social networks to learn about different vendors
- 90% of B2B buyers won’t take a cold call
Aligning the sales and marketing process can generate up to 208% more revenue from your marketing efforts and resulting in an increase in sales of up to 38%. If that doesn't motivate you to get 'Smarketing', nothing will.
It's all about the customer!
That's why we're all here isn't it? You want to change strangers into customers , it's as simple as that but if your sales and marketing teams don't work collaboratively towards this goal you could be missing out on new leads, new customers and maintaining your existing customer base. So, how will changes in the way you work together result in quick wins for your customer experience? Here are three advantages you'll see once you align your teams:
1. Customer centric content – working together so the marketing team can create a content strategy that really fits your customer profile will provide the sales team with invaluable assets during their sales process. Useful, educational and engaging content will not only hook in new leads it'll also help convert and retain customers. If the sales team share their conversion targets, then the marketing team can create blogs, emails, campaigns that are tailored to those goals while gathering precious prospect and lead data.
2. Customer feedback - the sales team have a close and trusted relationship with their customers. This means they have access to really get to know them so they can tailor to their needs, wants and desires. By utilising this relationship and running regular customer feedback campaigns with the marketing team, these insights mean the whole business can better provide for what the customer wants in product, price and experience.
3. Strategy – Start with customer mapping and customer journey. If you really want to serve your customer you need to ensure you understand the process they go through with your business. You can't do this without both sales and marketing working together. This means you map a customer's WHOLE journey with your company so all teams can be aligned with what is needed and when rather than focusing just on what they consider to be their segment.
How to build an aligned future
As a HubSpot Agency Partner, we use inbound methodology to help our clients improve and streamline their sales and marketing processes by using the right tools to help them achieve their goals.
Lead scoring - once you've got leads into your sales funnel you need to be able to identify who is more likely to convert and who are still just starting to have a look around. Implementing lead scoring will allow your teams to assign a value to each lead based on the information they've given you and how they've interacted and engaged with your website and branded channels across the internet. This process will help your sales and marketing teams prioritise leads and increase efficiency.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) - traditionally used to define what a customer expects from a company, creating a sales and marketing SLA is an important tool to ensure team alignment. The agreement should detail both marketing goals e.g. number of leads or revenue pipeline alongside the sales activities that will follow and support them, e.g. following up on leads qualified by marketing. This document will allow both teams to support each other while having numerical goals to work towards. 81% of marketers whose companies have this type of SLA have an effective marketing strategy.
Regular and clear communication between teams is priceless to maintaining alignment so an effectively planned and executed regular sales and marketing alignment also known as "smarketing" meetings. These will focus on goals, content, expectations, and strategy. There are two meetings you'll want to add to the diary:
1. Management Smarketing Meeting - The purpose is maintaining SLAs and goals for both teams and keep your focus on your goals. You will also plan your agenda for your full team meeting.
2. Full Sales and Marketing Team Meeting - The purpose is to clearly communicate your strategy to the wider team to execute. E.g. confirmation of SLA, defining your performance metrics and how you'll measure success, actions and deadlines, content strategy review, industry trends, and ensuring the relevant support is set up for the teams to continue this alignment outside of this meeting (some group events and team bonding is always a good ice breaker).
We hope this blog has given you some useful tips and set you on the right track to creating a harmonious Smarketing team. If you want to find out more about Inbound methodology, organisational design and growth marketing subscribe to our updates below.