Sales teams often complain about poor leads or not getting adequate marketing support. Marketing teams oppose the claim saying it sends hundreds of promising leads, but sales teams don’t put in the required time and effort.
Such familiar rumbles signal a deeper flaw in the business processes—misalignment of sales and marketing teams and operations.
For ages, businesses have been running their marketing and sales teams as independent silos. Marketing teams have their own methods to generate leads for the sales team, while the sales teams follow their process to recognize qualified leads for conversion.
While this type of strategy might have survived in the past, it’s no more a recipe for success considering today’s evolving consumer behavior and buying decision trends.
What’s needed is for the sales and marketing processes to work in tandem to align operations and get high-impact results and conversions.
What is Sales and Marketing Alignment?
Sales and marketing alignment refers to sharing a collaborative communication system from strategies and goals to execution and assessing metrics. It enables both teams to work as a single unit and is also known as “Smarketing.”
Sales + Marketing = Smarketing
Smarketing allows both sales and marketing teams to work on the same purpose of generating revenue. This mutual involvement focusing on a single target creates an environment of constant support, high performance, and encouragement, eventually leading to actual, measurable results.
Why is Sales and Marketing Alignment Important?
While innovative businesses actively look for greater alignment, the roots of alignment belong to the new age of the customer.
Today, customers begin their research through the interest phase and continue till the consideration phase.
According to a report, a whopping 77% of B2B buyers spend more time researching the products before purchasing. As a result, B2B leads engage with sales teams only at the later stage of the funnel.
Hence, rather than a sales-driven funnel as it was—it’s now a marketing-driven funnel.
And if you want to continue the conversations with prospects, you must hold off the sales pitch and use marketing to fulfill the information quest.
For this, sales and marketing teams need to work together to nurture leads throughout the funnel.
How to Achieve Sales and Marketing Alignment?
To help walk the path, we’ve outlined five aligning sales and marketing strategies to improve the way your brand talks, educates, and deals with customers.
1. Build a single customer journey
When bringing your sales and marketing department together, the first place to start is reconstructing your entire buyer’s journey.
Starting from the top of the awareness stage, down through the purchase and loyalty stage of the funnel—everything must be tied up as a customers’ experience.
This connectivity will give you and your teams a 360-degree view of where the prospect stands in the funnel, what they need right now, and how you can offer your solution.
But how can you build a single customer journey for both teams?
Enter technology and automation.
One of the most reliable technologies used by companies leveraging sales and marketing alignment is CRM, followed by email marketing, online scheduling, and marketing automation.
CRM software manages your customer data in one place, helping both teams stay on the same page.
Online scheduling helps auto-schedule meetings with your potential customers, while marketing automation saves time at each stage of the funnel.
Aligning all these tools together draws the bridge between the prospects’ data and their transformation into customers.
2. Keep your marketing assets consistent
Since your prospects drive through your content and use it as a reference, each content piece must fit into your overall sales story. This means you need to align your content, along with your sales and marketing efforts.
Both your teams must take some time out daily or weekly to share upcoming campaigns, content planning, and promotional offers. For instance, they can share blog post ideas, plan content distribution, and recommend future offers.
Remember, the language and messages used in content must be similar throughout the sales process to keep the prospect’s journey as simple as possible.
3. Centralize sales process
A sales process is a set of repeatable activities a salesperson takes to turn leads into customers.
Now it’s time to make the marketing team a part of the sales process.
A single sales process acts as a roadmap for sales and marketing teams, ensuring you never miss a critical step in handling customers.
Each step in your sales process must clearly define the roles and responsibilities of both teams so members have a proper understanding of what they’re doing and how they fit into the sales and marketing mix.
Allotted tasks also allow teams to create more room for improvement. If certain parts of the sales process fall flat, you can quickly pinpoint underperforming factors that need to be changed.
4. Coordinate your sales prospecting methods with marketing
Sales reps often promote new offers via calls or emails. It’s essential to update the marketing team with such communications to learn how leads are interacting with each offer and where to improve.
You can accomplish this by building a shared calendar allowing your sales and marketing teams to add the date and time of implementing each sales prospecting strategy —it can be email marketing, social media campaigns, webinar, key talking points, and a summary of each offer. This will give your teams a thorough idea of conversations with prospective customers and how to make them more engaging.
5. Measure joint KPIs
Apart from syncing your sales and marketing teams, you must join their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Businesses measure sales teams by the number of deals closed or renewals. Meanwhile, marketing teams are evaluated by brand awareness, lead quantity, and quality.
When both departments have joint KPIs, you can analyze the synergy between the teams and, as a result, how your business is performing. Through this, you’ll also be able to detect the weak spots of your customer acquisition funnel and fix them.
Also, taking some extra time out to evaluate where to improve and applying powerful strategies can unlock proven methods for sales process optimization.
Schedule regular meetings with marketing and sales teams for active collaboration and settlement on shared metrics tracking for assessing revenue growth.
By relocating sales and marketing teams into a unified “Smarketing” department, you can unlock unique insights into the sales funnel, fine-tune your sales process, and optimize your marketing strategies for results. All these contribute to your business growth, bring new opportunities, and increase revenue.
Start your journey today with the best practices in place. If your business benefits from them, let us know through the comment sections below.
Eduard Klein is an International Digital Growth Marketer, Blogger, and Entrepreneur with a global mindset. He guides people through the process of starting and growing a digital business, and to ride the wave of digital technology and marketing without getting swept away.