Did you know, there’s huge profit potential waiting to be exploited in your business.
All you need to do is create alignment between your sales and marketing departments.
Let’s explore why…
When we talk about alignment, what this means, in practice, is causing sync between two (often frictional) teams. In turn, this joined-up working allows sales and marketing to focus on a common goal – namely to generate highly qualified leads and closing the sales volumes needed to hit your revenue targets.
Now on the surface, this may seem challenging. After all, sales and marketing have very different objectives. What’s more, its not uncommon for these two separate teams to be on entirely different planets.
And yes, in the past sales was about nurturing the leads and closure, whilst marketing was concerned with generating interest and building awareness about your business and your brand.
But these definitions have shifted, along with the change in how customers buy.
Unfortunately, the change in buyer behaviour means sales reps have lost control of a good chunk of the sales process. As a result, sales teams often find themselves excluded from the early, formative conversations. Instead, customers are doing the research and fact-finding themselves – with the help of the Internet and social search.
As a result, the influence of content marketing has increased – significantly, and the value of marketing-generated leads cannot be overlooked. After all, who is responsible for producing the useful, relevant, interesting content that prospects want to read?
So what does this shift really mean?
In short, if sales and marketing fail to align, your business will lose leads, sales and revenue. Therefore, it’s critical these departments join forces to ensure you have the best chance of hitting your revenue targets.
And to help, here are three proven sales strategies you can adopt now to help encourage marketers and sales reps to work off the same page.
#1: Define and Agree a Shared Buyer Persona Definition
This first point is so simple, but so critical.
Sales and marketing need to agree exactly who they want to target. And you can achieve this by closely defining your buyer persona.
Now it’s not unusual for sales and marketing departments to have different views about who their persona is. And here’s what happens as a result. If marketing attracts prospects who sales know (from field experience) will never convert, your bottom line will be affected. What’s more, sales will be reluctant to put their full effort in trying to close marketing-generated leads. As a result, sales opportunities will be missed.
This problem is very easy to overcome. Simply get both parties working together to agree a closely defined buyer persona. It makes sense to use a combination of market research and first-hand field experiences. Do this, and you’ll almost instantly create a more joined up approach that will result in increased sales.
#2: Communicate – and Agree Common Metrics and Language
Alignment happens when both disciplines have agreed and are working to the same terminology and metrics. Once a common language and shared goals are in place, communication is enhanced.
One of the biggest causes of friction between sales and marketing is what constitutes a quality or a “sales-ready” lead.
You can alleviate this tension by ensuring both parties agree the definition and put KPIs in place to measure performance.
Then, once defined, you’ll find your forecasting ability increases. That’s because you’ll be able to work out how many leads are needed to hit quota. In turn, it will become far easier to get early warning of any problems because you’ll be able to predict likely outcomes by the current status of what currently lies in your sales pipeline. In short once you’ve set clear definitions, you’ll find that your sales process as a whole will become more accountable.
#3: Use a Shared Pipeline
CRMs were traditionally seen as a sales tool. But this is no longer the case. Modern, smart-cloud CRMs have more functionality and scope and can be used by both sales and marketing. In fact, research suggests that where there is one shared sales and marketing pipeline, results increase significantly. That’s because marketing is encouraged to generate leads that sales teams want to accept, and sales teams are more motivated to nurture and close the leads they do receive. Both teams can now manage sales accounts and contacts more effectively. In turn, this joined up, single pipeline becomes more efficient, more effective and more prosperous.
For example, if you choose a CRM that allows you to track the performance of your pipeline, everyone can see, at a glance, the tactics and strategies that are working, and those that need tweaking.
Both sales and marketing staff will be able to observe and identify:
- The impact different activities have on generating and nurturing leads
- What strategies increase pipeline velocity
- The leakages within the sales pipeline
- Opportunities for recycling “leaked” prospects
In turn, strategies can be implemented to address these observations and help the business grow.
How have you encouraged sales and marketing alignment within your organisation?
What strategies have you used to encourage sales and marketing departments to work seamlessly together? Have you enjoyed any benefits from trialling any of the three solutions described in this blog? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.