The Aberdeen Group’s CMO Agenda Report found that companies with strong sales and marketing alignment generate 32% more revenue than those who don’t. That impressive result exists because when sales and marketing teams work collaboratively together, this will:
- Ensure prospects receive consistent messages in all of their interactions with your company.
- Enable you to give the right prospects the right content at the right times.
- Let your sales team focus on fostering connections with prospects instead of educating them about your offerings from scratch.
- Alignment begins with the annual budgeting process, when both teams should be planning in tandem for their own budgets and to support the objectives of the other teams.
- To the extent that marketing is clear on the goals for sales, they will be much better positioned to support those goals and all of the discrete activities involved in executing on sales plans.
- As the sales leader, it is incumbent on you to “open your kimono” to marketing and vice versa. It can be so easy to live in our own worlds and silos, but opening up these two silos will go a long way toward achieving goals.
In this article, I’ll share research-backed and actionable strategies to improve your sales and marketing alignment to grow revenue. Whether you are running the sales organization or the marketing organization (or both together), creating alignment between the two groups is a fundamental ingredient in maximizing the customer experience with your company, and in turn optimizing revenue.
Establish Strong Communication Channels Between Sales and Marketing
Kapost found that only 35% of sales people think marketing listens to them. That may be the case or salespeople may just be ignoring the content that marketing produces. Regardless of which side is right, if your organization has this issue, the teams aren’t communicating effectively.
Here are some ways to establish strong communication channels between your sales and marketing teams:
Getting your sales and marketing teams in the habit of communication, coordination, and collaboration will have a direct impact on your bottom line. According to Forrester, 43% of B2B companies report losing sales due to not having the right content at the right time and 77% report experiencing delays in the sales process due to a lack of relevant content.
When your sales and marketing teams communicate regularly, you dramatically reduce the risk that a lack of content will hinder a sale.
Engage in Ongoing Discussions About Buyer Personas
56% of marketers don’t plan their content based on buyer personas. Instead, they choose content based on its SEO potential, similar to other successful content, or other non-buyer specific reasons. This occurs despite the fact that marketers who focus on filling gaps in persona-based content achieve better results.
The reason most marketers don’t focus on buyer personas? They only have a vague understanding about the types of prospects their sales team is targeting.
Here’s how to remedy this:
- Have your sales team create written profiles that define their buyer personas, if they don’t have them already. Share these with the marketing team.
- Host a meeting where a couple of members of your sales team explain the key features of your buyer personas with your marketing team.
- Have your sales team get into a habit of sending your marketing team persona information and content requests. For example, sending articles about shifts in an industry they’re focused on, common questions they get from prospects, requests for one-pagers, blog posts, etc.
Ultimately salespeople sell to people, not faceless corporate entities. These people have their roles and interests, ie users, IT, Finance, Legal, Operations, etc. As such, they are personas with specific hot buttons that can and should be addressed.
Encourage Sales Teams to Make Marketing Suggestions
Research has found that the average salesperson wastes over 400 hours per year searching for the right content to share with their prospects and 65% of them complain that they can’t find relevant content.
To boost sales productivity, your team needs to be able to quickly find content that’s relevant to their prospects.
Here’s how to make it easy for your sales team to find content:
- Choose a file storage tool that your sales and marketing teams both use and create a folder for marketing communications materials.
- Have your sales and marketing managers work together to create subfolders that are easy for both teams to understand. You should create several so that your salespeople don’t have to waste time going through dozens of pieces of content.
- Tell your marketing team to add all of their existing and up-to-date content into the folders.
Marketing will always win huge support from their sales colleagues by making it easy to access all materials in a single and organized space.
Teach Your Sales Team How to Use Marketing Content
The Content Marketing Institute found that 80% of companies with strong sales and marketing alignment actively teach their sales teams how and when they should leverage marketing content.
Incorporating marketing content into your sales training boosts your sales productivity by:
- Making your team aware of where to find different types of content - this prevents them from wasting time searching for materials.
- Encouraging them to request custom content from your marketing team.
- Getting them in the habit of reading marketing materials so that they can be sure that their messaging to prospects is consistent with what’s being published.
There is certainly a risk in having a well organized, centralized hub for all marketing material – without really knowing what’s inside the content. This risk is sending your prospects material which may not support your own messaging effectively. Be sure your sales people have read your collateral before they send it out. This will ensure messaging is consistent, and thus your customer’s experience is optimized.
We cannot underestimate the importance of alignment between the sales and marketing teams, irrespective of which side you’re on. When the two groups are not in alignment, we typically see conflicting messaging, confused clients and prospects, and a waste of time and money.
On the other hand, alignment goes a long way to optimize our go-to-market strategy, competitive positioning, and overall value proposition to our clients.
About the Author: Andrew Miller has more than 25 years of global experience in enterprise sales and scaling companies. He leads Prialto’s sales and business development organization. He spends much of his time helping our enterprise accounts and their teams to better leverage Prialto’s assistance.