14 Tips To Better Align Sales And Marketing Teams
Forbes Business Development Council / Expert Panel®Forbes Councils Member
Sales and marketing teams are notoriously difficult to work together although they share the same ultimate objective of converting customers. In fact, one of the key elements that make a business successful is getting marketing and sales departments to share goals and ideals while working together to attain those objectives.
The successful alignment of sales and marketing means that one department can capitalize on the groundwork the other lays. Thus, where marketing interacts with consumers and builds up their expectations, the sales team can take that hype and turn it into closed sales.
Below, 14 members of Forbes Business Development Council cover some of the methods that a business can employ to align the goals of their sales and marketing teams to turn them into a real force in the industry.
1. Set Common Goals
Common goals and heightened communication are critical. Our first step toward success was to change our strategy to do account-based targeting for the sales team and account-based marketing for the marketing team. It worked like magic and made the goals we are all targeting very clear, as well as defined what are marketing-led activities and what are lead-generation focused activities. We now have an amazing partnership!
Guneet Bedi, relayr
2. Ensure Constant Communication
The sales team needs to be providing feedback weekly, if not daily, to your marketing team. This will ensure they are sending the right message to prospective customers and that the customers are receiving it. The message should also be clear and simple. It is harder to sell a complex message or marketing ad/campaign than it is to sell a simple one.
Jack Conley, GIGG Express Inc.
3. Unite Both Teams Around Data
If data underpins the goals of both marketing and sales, this can be used as the collaborating factor that both teams come together around. Marketing campaigns that are data-driven can provide meaningful insight, enabling sales teams to become hyper-focused. The end result will be increased trust between marketing and sales with increased sales and better market understanding as the prize.
Laura Sextro, Bennufit Health
4. Ensure Consistency Of Messaging And Materials
To align the combined sales and marketing team, the messaging and materials need to be consistent. Also, the marketing staff will benefit from sitting in on sales calls and later-stage negotiations to learn more about real-life buyer objections and motivations and how to address them with more compelling marketing approaches that align with customer and sales force expectations.
Mladen Kresic, K&R Negotiation Associates LLC
5. Follow The HAlL Method
HAIL stands for honesty, authenticity, integrity and love. Following the HAlL method is a great way of aligning teams. When sales and marketing teams understand the company’s vision as a result of applying this method, productivity and morale are boosted exponentially.
Jason Shuttleworth, Woodland Group Ltd
6. Have A Shared Measure Of Success
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. The key to managing alignment is not to have independent measures, but to create a shared measure of performance success. I recommend leveraging the commercial ratio calculated as annual net revenue growth divided by annual sales and marketing spend. This productivity measure is designed to assure shared sustainable growth and break through silos.
Tom Pisello, Mediafly
7. Ensure Teams Are Familiar With The Core Vision
Sales and marketing teams should both be intimately familiar with the core vision and value proposition of the product or service they’re selling. These core values should drive how the offerings are presented to prospects. In-depth understanding of common use cases and the needs being filled help sales and marketing stay in alignment and on message.
Alexander Divinsky, RMG Media
8. Create Joint Councils To Explore Challenges
Councils with tenured and non-tenured members from both teams can be put together to explore any of the challenges. Many times there are expectations that are off or a missing avenue for collaboration between the divisions. Once these are sorted out, the synergy can truly begin!
Donald O’Sullivan, Pegasystems
9. Define Roles, Goals And Handoffs
Clearly define the roles, goals and handoffs between the organizations, and try to break up silos. Marketing people should sit in on customer calls, and salespeople should think through messaging and awareness strategies. Aligning metrics might be part of it, but real alignment comes from trust, understanding, empathy and having each other’s back.
Kit Merker, Nobl9
10. Adopt A Common Sales Methodology
The key to organizational alignment is adopting a common sales methodology, which includes a shared set of terminology and tools across the organization. When the sales, marketing, product development and revenue teams are aligned with a customer focus, they work toward a common goal of delivering value to customers.
Julie Thomas, ValueSelling Associates
11. Align Their Incentives And Metrics
Align your sales and marketing teams by connecting their incentives and metrics. Also, align the two teams’ formal (bonuses, MBOs) and informal (what the boss checks on) incentives. Give them similar, supporting metrics and hold periodic joint metric reviews. Throw in a little bit of team building and you’ll get them all rowing in the same direction.
Michael Fritsch, Confoe
12. Ensure Sales Knows How Your Clients Buy
Your sales team should know how your clients buy and work together with marketing to understand what influences the client. A one-two punch on marketing driving brand awareness in the targeted marketplace followed up with a value-driven sales approach has yielded great results for me.
Andrew Barnett, Deloitte
13. Eliminate Siloed Customer Journeys First
Start by eliminating siloed customer journeys and unite both teams around one unified customer experience. By creating alignment from the top of the funnel down to the brand loyalty and retention stage, you can create a stronger level of connectivity for both teams. This allows you to create a joint definition of success and shared KPIs that both teams can focus on as they drive toward success.
Suhaib Zaheer, Bluehost
14. Aim for Unity
The goal should be to unite sales and marketing teams, allowing them to deliver the most compelling stories throughout the buyer’s journey to accelerate growth and drive business. Understanding the needs of the customer has to be enabled through data and insights so marketing teams can provide sales teams with content and messaging that actually compels prospects and customers. Irina Soriano, Seismic