Sales and marketing alignment in 2018

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In recent years, power has shifted from the seller to the buyer. Traditional sales and marketing tactics are no longer effective. With buyer expectations on the rise, sales and marketing teams have to evolve and adopt new strategies to the modern buyer’s needs.

In B2B, companies focus on account engagement rather than engaging individual buyers. Capturing the attention of your target accounts requires a highly targeted, strategic approach to deliver the right messages at every stage of the buying cycle, with touch points from both marketing and sales. Sales and marketing must be closely aligned to create the right content and messaging cadence - but fostering collaboration between the two departments is easier said than done.

It should not come as a surprise that when sales are down, both the departments find each other responsible. Marketers feel that salespeople are too short-sighted, and salespeople feel that marketers are unaware of customer demands. Marketing’s role in the sales cycle is growing with increasing demand for new collateral and inbound leads. By getting sales involved in the creation and deployment of that content, marketing can better understand the customer needs and make a greater impact on revenue generation. In fact, companies with better sales and marketing collaboration have a 36% higher customer retention rate, and a 38% higher closed-won rate. 

How to align your sales and marketing teams

Step 1 -

One of the major steps in this direction is to weed out ‘irrelevant’ or ‘bad’ leads and accounts. For that, it’s important that both the departments are clear about –

  • Decide who your target audience is

  • Define your buyer personas

  • Find out what the customers are looking for

  • Discover what your customer likes and dislikes

  • Identify your customer’s pain points and how your company alleviates them

  • Determine a few parameters that will qualify a customer as a relevant ‘lead’

Keeping sales and marketing departments on the same page in these aspects will avoid scope for disagreements between them down the road.

Step 2 - 

It’s important that both sales and marketing personnel have agreed on the buying procedure. Typically the process starts by spotting a lead that seems interested. That is followed by initiating discovery, engaging the lead, developing it into a qualified lead, and then eventually moving towards the final sales process.

Make sure all the exact steps and phase are clear to both the departments and they have agreed on them! It’s also wise to document those steps for future reference.

Step 3 - 

The job of marketing should not be to just generate leads and then leave the sales personnel to convert those lead into final customers. This is the old-school way of working.

Define same success metrics for sales and marketing. Both the departments should share common goals - that is to increase the bottom line and return on investment.

Step 4 –

Become one team. Alignment should not be your end goal. The goal should be to become fully integrated. An efficient, functioning team is one that has common goals and a shared vision. As long as the two departments are acting like individual entities, there will never be a harmony in their goals and the two will not be able to tread in a common direction. When the two departments work together, companies see major improvements in sales performance, shorter sales cycles, and increased sales rates.

In the end, it all comes down to connecting the two departments and fostering healthy collaboration between them. When marketers and salespeople work together in harmony, they can achieve more and have greater success.