Marketing and Sales Alignment – Best Practices [GUEST POST]

Marketing and Sales Alignment – Best Practices

It’s very common in businesses and offices environments that the marketing and sales departments are kept apart, with poor communication channels, working towards their own individual targets and consequently are not producing the most conductive results for the organization.

It is not the case that they are actually doing anything incorrectly, so to speak, but that they are not assisting themselves to create a situation that enables the team to perform with greater output and achieve ultimate synergy

Marketing can be defined as the planning, awareness and first contact with prospects, exposing the key details regarding the business service via a variety of creative processes and well-organized outreach. The end goal is to generate opportunities to be endeavored by the sales team.

The Sales Process then begins. This is the coordinated communication procedure of a newly-discovered lead through the sales cycle. The sales department members are involved with the direct selling of the business’s merchandise or offering and developing the transfer of goods in exchange for money along with various progression steps.

Alignment

In business, it is not a competition between marketing and sales. It is a mutual working relationship which in order to achieve the best results, must work in tandem.

When you take a step back, you realize that the process of selling cannot start until a marketing root has been planted.

And on the flip side, the marketing techniques and strategy cannot follow through without sales follow up. For sustained results, you can’t have one and not the other.

When all’s said and done, the end goal of a marketer matches that of the salesperson. Both want a sale to be concluded.

The only difference is the part which is played in getting a user and potential customer to the end of the cycle.

It is the preparation at the top of the funnel, the planning, targeting and identification of who is going to be sold to and how to get them in front of your sales representatives.

Marketing with more efficiency will allow the sales communication to be a lot more natural and fluent because of more relevant leads. Therefore they will qualify and progress with a lot less hassle.

Ensuring that your sales and marketing teams are being directed towards a consistent goal, singing from the same hymn sheet and helping the business to learn more about regular information passing through the channels.

Engaging in an alliance, opposed to separate areas. This will help contribute to the synergy of the business, with unanimity and collaboration.

This aids to building a strong team morale on an overall level with excellent psychological as well as strategical effects.

It is understandable that there is an element of fixation towards your own working project with there being a large amount of responsibility on that.

Also, it is fair to say that not everybody is always perfectly comfortable switching spontaneously into alternative job positions which do not match their inherent qualities.

However, here are some ways introduced by the Whoisvisiting senior management to consider which can contribute towards bringing your marketing and sales departments a lot closer for more effective business output.

Related: How to Use the 3 Levels of Pain Points for Better Sales Conversations

 

Alignment Of Your Marketing And Sales Departments

  • Organise Shared Team Meetings

By organizing regular meetings which incorporate the marketing and sales staff, it can develop a routine and the integration, giving everyone a platform to share their thoughts, highlighting the key topics and issues with an instant opportunity for constructive reaction.

These can be arranged on a weekly basis as an informal catch-up and overview, reinstating the immediate targets and constructing the alignment of the company. Everyone can hear each other’s plans and can branch off those with any input.

Alternatively, or as well as, Monthly meetings can offer – great detail of the bigger picture going into more complicated analysis and creating the framework for longer-term results.

  • Shared Brainstorm Sessions

Along with having your meetings which are organized and frequently attended, when there is a new campaign brainstorm or creative mind-map session, inviting all members to contribute can add value to fresh ideas and approaches.

This helps to break down the barrier of separation and gives all involved a clear visual of the project from its absolute source. This delivers a stronger understanding of the thought process behind the marketing approach for everyone’s awareness.

By gathering some contribution ideas of the sales team, who deal first hand with the prospects and current customers and speak to the day-to-day, you can gain access to thoughts from a different angle. This leads to better results.

  • Work Social Events

To keep with the theme of the sales and marketing teams being involved and doing things together, having regular work social events can help build the understanding between both sides.

Often used by many forward-thinking companies is an easy-going, Friday catch-up session to wind down for the week. This involves low key and informal sharing of the good which has been achieved across the company. It provides the benefit of keeping everyone updated but allows integration where you can let your hair down.

This can often be catalyzed by an alcoholic drink or two, so everyone feels comfortable and enjoys the experience.

  • Tactical Office Placement

Having your sales and marketing employees using and working in an area where it is not any effort to share information verbally can create a situation where communication and progression can take place naturally.

There is no reason to have a barrier to communication and intentionally make it more challenging to share information.  

Small details overheard in conversation can allow others to be informed and change something in accordance instantly, rather than waiting to receive that information through an email at a later date. It is the small things which can build up over time to overall create a stronger result.

  • Marketing and Sales Message App

Having access to a group messenger application between all members is a brilliant idea and it can be useful for less immediate, or more informal communication.

You can also create a different chat for different purposes, for example, one where ideas are dumped and logged.

Slack is a very practical tool for this and it integrates with all sorts of digital solutions for the seamless flow of information, keeping everyone in the loop.

One-on-one conversations can also be conducted conveniently for more serious or private matters.

  • Documenting Visual Progress

Having a completely transparent process that allows everybody to be notified when a positive development has occurred is an excellent idea for sales and marketing alignment.

Whether that be a lead, sign-up, or a sale.  Having a hub for visualization and awareness of this brings clarity and keeps the motivation high.

A useful software for this procedure could be Pipedrive, which simply allows you to log deals in separate ‘Pipe’s’ or channels which you can custom create for each stage of your business sales cycle.  

Within this platform, a marketing executive can log in to see whether or not their referral has been able to get results, or where the stumbling block in progression is happening.

Ultimately they can be reactive to this, rather unknowingly allowing sales to continue with poor quality leads.

In order to create more responsibility and positive pressure, everybody should be able to openly view each other’s results and having email reports of the KPI’s (key performance indicators) and updates of the analytical breakdown can be beneficial.

This should create an office environment for sales and marketers where they are receiving the credit they deserve for the individual actions which action successfully.

  • Socially Interacting Through Business Events

Within the realm of sales and marketing, there are always events going on around and about. Pairing a sales and marketing executive to go along to these events and report back to the rest of the office is a brilliant way to learn new nuggets of valuable advice from presentations or by networking.

It is also a strong way to build rapport and is a good way of building your public relations. Meanwhile, the sales and marketing members get to share time and build their relationship.

  • Joint Department Reward Scheme

If your business is rewarding the sales representatives with a commission structure based on closing deals that is regulatory.

However, by incorporating a reward scheme whereby the whole team is involved, it can create a cohesive working culture throughout the company.

It may not have to be commissioned if that does not resonate completely fairly, but something smaller which recognizes the whole business as one, rather than pinpointing individual units as ‘more important’ in completing the sale.  

It can instigate team members to pull together to create better conversion rates.

  • Flexibility Through Switching Roles

In theory, many of the skills which marketers and sales executives possess and due to the attachment and involvement with customers and prospects, it is not completely ridiculous to say that each can’t contribute to the other’s roles now and again.

This provides ultimate flexibility and versatility within your business and can be extremely useful when there is an absence in one particular department.

Being able to get involved in simple ways such as the marketing executives getting on the phone occasionally is a great way to integrate the roles, for example.

  • Neutral Job Titles

In business, by applying the terms ‘sales representatives’ and ‘marketing executives’, you are instantly creating a divide which people will instinctively separate by.

By applying a neutral title such as a Business development professional to all of the members, it changes your approach not independently as a seller or marketer, but to be involved in developing the potential of the business as a whole through various involvement.

There has to be a clear structure built around it, but it can contribute to overall alignment.

 

Author Bio:

Ant Musker is a content writer at Whoisvisiting.com, whilst also involved in marketing activities including email, social and SEO. He has various experience in sales and marketing environments, working for start-up companies and in the PR industry.

 

 

 

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