It’s a problem that comes up again and again in any survey of B2B marketing – there’s little or no coordination between sales and marketing, and that ultimately impacts the bottom line of the company. Marketing and sales need to work closely to make sure marketing strategy and sales goals are aligned. Marketing can’t just be handing off leads to sales and hoping that things go down as planned – you need to lay out a series of steps to get marketing and sales to talk to one another.
The first and most important step is to make sure both teams are using the same metrics, the same performance indicators and the same terminology. It’s often the case that marketing and sales get set up in their little silos, and the two sides don’t talk. They end up using different metrics to determine success, and may even introduce their own buzzwords and jargon. As a result, you end up comparing apples and oranges, rather than apples with apples, every time they get together to talk.
You also have to make sure that both marketing and sales have the same schedule and the same cycle. If marketing is running its business on a monthly basis, and sales is running on a quarterly basis, you can see the problems that can occur because of misalignment. You want your organization to be a smooth, well-integrated machine. There needs to be a seamless trade-off between sales and marketing, not just when the two cycles happen to overlap.
Thirdly, you have to maximize the sharing of data between marketing and sales. A common problem is that leads come into sales, but without any real data about how that lead was generated, why that lead is a high-quality lead, and what interactions that lead might have already had with the company. That’s a recipe for disaster, if you consider how important leads are for generating sales. If the leads are being squandered away, that’s not a winning formula. Data is the key here – even something as simple as knowing that a prospect found you because of a whitepaper or e-book can be vitally important.
Fourthly, you have to get sales reps involved earlier in the process. Invite them to sit in on a marketing meeting. This is not just a clever attempt to introduce knowledge osmosis at the corporate level – it’s a way to get the first-hand insights of the sales team – the people really working the phones and attending the sales meetings – into the marketing strategy at an earlier stage. That way, the marketing strategy gets aligned with the sales goals.
Finally, think about ways to make that feedback from sales a constant process rather than a one-off event. There should be mechanisms in place to make sure that any and all sales insights find their way back to marketing. What if some messages just don’t resonate with prospects? What if the key selling points of some product offerings just aren’t clear? It’s better to know sooner, rather than later!
With those steps outlined above, it’s possible to ensure a seamless integration between sales and marketing. That’s good not just for your peace of mind — it’s also good for your organization’s bottom line!
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