There can be a lot of friction between Sales and Marketing teams. Both see their roles as working towards something completely different. Marketing looks more at the long term goals, establishing a brand and nurturing leads. While Sales is looking for more immediate results. They want to make a sale today.
But both teams are ultimately looking to achieve the same thing: to generate revenue for the company, so they need to be on the same page. Aligning the two so that they are focused on their common goal, and how each of them can work to get there, is the best way to achieve it.
Here are some tips on how to turn your Sales and Marketing teams into allies and stop the bickering.
It’s important when implementing the alignment of the two teams that there is constant communication. This will make sure that both teams know the importance of the other and what they do. Both Sales and Marketing should be keeping up to date on the goals and quotas of the other so as to know what is and isn’t working when generating and nurturing leads. There are a number of ways to help encourage this communication.
- Weekly meetings: Hold a weekly meeting between the two teams so that they can see how the other is performing. The sales team can share their quotas and how/if they are meeting them, while marketing can share upcoming campaigns and content so that sales knows what they should be focusing on when talking to customers.
- Content input: The Sales team speaks to customers on a regular basis, so should know exactly what they’re looking for, and the questions they usually ask. The point of the marketer’s content is to solve customer’s problems, and answer these questions. So it makes sense that Sales should have some sort of input into the content that gets share. It’s worth a Sales rep writing some content for the marketing team, or if they’re not comfortable doing this, have the marketing team ghostwrite something under their name. This will give the rep credibility in the eyes of the customer. Since the rep is the face of the company that the customer sees, seeing their name on the content that drew the customer to the company in the first place will build trust between them and make them more likely to buy from the rep.
- Encourage feedback: Make sure that both teams are giving each other feedback to help understand what is working and what isn’t. Sales should be able to give feedback on lead quality so that Marketing knows what kind of leads are more likely to generate sales, and therefore know which leads to focus on when tailoring their content. It’s important to make sure that this feedback is constructive and has data to back it up. Marketing should be measured on the quality as well as quantity of the leads it generates and Sales should be measured by how many of these quality leads they work and turn into sales.
- Shared documents: Have a common area that Sales and Marketing can access that has all the information that they both need. Use a shared Google document for Sales to suggest content ideas. Have a shared calender that Marketing can update with the dates of upcoming campaigns and promotions. Have a shared email alias so that both teams can communicate freely with each other and so everyone is getting the same information at the same time.
- Train from the beginning: It’s important to make sure that these ideas are being shared from the start, so any new team members to Sales or Marketing need to be trained in this way from the beginning. These methods need to be instilled from the off.
- Out-of-office events: It’s worth Sales and Marketing attending events together. Whether it’s conferences or office lunches, spending time outside of the workplace environment will help build camaraderie and trust between the two teams.
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
You want to be able to keep both teams happy while also having a level of accountability between them. The best way to do this is through a Service Level Agreement. This is an agreement in which the level of service is decided and agreed upon by both sides.
Certain things need to be defined before they can be agreed upon.
- Marketing qualified leads: MQLs are leads that Marketing has deemed ready to pass onto Sales.
- Sales qualified leads: SQLs are leads that Sales sees as good enough opportunities to follow up. If Sales don’t think a lead is ready to become a customer yet, they will pass it back to Marketing to be nurtured for longer.
Both teams need to be focused on generating good quality leads so that as few leads are passed back as possible. Marketing should agree to generate a certain number of quality leads each month, while Sales agrees to work a certain number of these leads. These goals should be measured each month so that neither team can complain that the other isn’t pulling their weight.
Sales Development Representative (SDR)
It’s worth having a Sales Development Representative on your team to assist with the alignment of Sales and Marketing. They are the people who know about both sides of the story. They are the part of the Sales team that is less focused on selling now, and more focused on getting qualified leads down the pipeline.
They are the people who figure out if an MQL is also an SQL. They follow up on information they get from Marketing about leads, which stops Sales from wasting time on unqualified leads, which in turn leads to better conversion rates and more revenue generated.
Collaboration between Sales and Marketing is the key to getting more qualified leads through the pipeline. Marketing needs to score and nurture leads and Sales needs to turn them into customers and close the deals. With the two teams working together this process becomes more efficient and therefore generates more sales and revenue for the company.