Sales and marketing collaboration, or alignment as the popular buzz has phrased it, will be a crucial component of B2B sales success in 2018. The “why” of the matter is something that has been well discussed in outlets such as Forbes:
“Gone are the days of marketing bringing in leads with clever headlines and unverified promises and then throwing them over the wall to sales.”
But what specifics should leaders focus their teams alignment efforts on for increased efficacy? This article address a few of the ways in which sales and marketing teams can come together for the greater good.
1. Creating a “Smarketing” Culture
Sales and marketing collaboration can’t occur if the teams don’t share the company’s values and vision. Cooperation begins when both teams understand what they accountable for, the other team’s perspective, and the overall brand mission. The first step is getting sales and marketing in the same room to hash out these pertinent details and create a consistent culture of ownership and teamwork.
2. Lead Generation
In supporting one another’s efforts, sales and marketing teams can increase quality lead generation. Working together, they can define the parameters for a good lead and determine the point at which leads should be handed off from marketing to sales. Beyond that, teams can refine their system by having sales communicate which leads became customers and what techniques worked in securing them.
3. Lead Conversion
After generating leads, sales and marketing can continue collaborating to convert those leads to sales. Two-way feedback between sales/marketing on successes and failures is key in this area, as is external feedback from customers, prospects and leads about what is effective. Examples of key questions to ask include:
What prevents some sales qualified leads from converting into real sales opportunities?
What causes certain marketing qualified leads to break off the negotiation process?
What specific factors caused a lead to close on a deal?
4. Sales Calls
For marketing efforts to have an impact, marketers have to understand the audience they are targeting. With sales professionals on the calls, marketing teams can often miss out on important buyer’s journey data. No marketers want to sit in on sales calls, but the sales professionals can use their CRM to track the valuable data and share it with marketing.
5. Sales Content Creation
Sales teams need content to help sell their message. Sales professionals can work with marketing to explain the types of presentations and data that push a sale along the funnel. Marketing teams also must know the right questions to ask their sales teams to be sure that marketing is providing what’s most impactful in a sales meeting.
6. Developing Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are a great way to form a picture of the ideal customer. The data revealed in each buyer persona then allows teams to create targeted ads/pitches and increase acquisition. Through collaboration, sales and marketing can bring their expertise together in crafting said profiles — sales brings the frontline experience from interacting with customers, while marketing supplies overarching industry insights.
7. Formulating KPIs
Not all KPIs need to remain the domain of a single team. Sales and marketing can collaborate to create crossover performance indicators that are important to both realms. Lead generation, conversion rates, cost per lead, social media engagement and the like matter to both sales and marketing. Having them brainstorm similar areas of assessment can bring the teams together.
Moving beyond KPIs, both teams can come together to perform analysis on metrics as well. Working in tandem, they can get a better picture of what’s working while looking at lead gen data, marketing campaigns, webpage visits-to-lead ratios, and other valuable data produced in each department.
9. Optimizing the Sales Funnel
Sales and marketing teams can cooperate to fine-tune the old-school sales funnel you might be operating on with a better working revenue cycle. This can improve the visibility of leads (among other things) and give managers a clearer picture of how making changes in the customer acquisition process will influence revenue generation.
10. Showing Off the Team
Sales teams function as frontline representatives of the company. Sometimes, though, they can use some assistance putting their best foot forward, which is where the marketing collaboration comes into play.
Marketing can help promote the personalities on the sales team, with content marketing strategies designed to showcase their talent. Ghostwritten blog posts and articles are a good place to start, and with some coordination, sales/marketing pros can find other directions to help boost their visibility.
11. Creating FAQs & Glossaries
Sales and marketing teams can also work together to create quality content for a company website in the form of FAQs and glossaries of terms. Sales professionals answer countless questions throughout the course of their duties. By recording a list of the most common ones and supplying them to marketing, content creators on the team will have a robust selection of relevant material to work with.
12. Coordinating Training
Developing the teams’ skills can have direct positive impacts on ROI. By collaborating on the development and undertaking of training programs, sales and marketing can come together in a way that benefits their overall effectiveness. Have them work together on sharing best practices and learning about the processes they use to carry out their separate duties.