Companies with strong sales and marketing alignment grow revenue at a 64% greater rate than those a little more fractured. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. In order for a company to be truly successful, you’ll want everyone – from HR to IT to Marketing – to be on the same page. If each department has separate goals, how can they work cohesively towards the company’s vision together?

Marketing and Sales, in particular, rely on each other heavily. Marketing’s communications lure the customer in, and Sales ensures they commit to the final purchase. Without Marketing, there are no leads, and without Sales, there are no transactions. Because of their close reliance on one another, it’s important that they work together towards the same final end goal – securing conversion for the company.

What Does Sales Want from Marketing?

Sales and Marketing departments seem to think they work together – (71% from Marketing; 66% from Sales). This may be true, but there’s always room for improvement. Fortunately, Sales identified what they want from Marketing.

What Challenges are Preventing Sales and Marketing Alignment?

Although many marketers and salespeople seem to think they’re working well together, there is some disconnect. Only 54% of Sales believe that marketing is an effective investment in their organization. What might be causing the not-so-perfect relationship?

  1. Lack of Regular Communication: Communication is key, and it shows. This is a factor that many salespeople seem to believe the relationship is lacking.
  2. Differences in Ways Success in Sales and Marketing are Measured: Although Sales and Marketing may have different responsibilities, their ultimate goal should be similar; and accordingly, so should their measures of success.
  3. Lead Qualification Process: Low quality leads can just be a waste of time. Leads should be relevant and have some reason to buy.
  4. Different Values: If Sales and Marketing aren’t on the same page about what’s important, how can you expect them to work effectively together?

What can Marketing do to Help Sales Close More Deals?

Although Marketing and Sales alignment seem to face a few challenges, Sales offered some solutions to these concerns.

  1. Better Messaging: It seems that Sales wants to see the overall message from Marketing to improve. This is fair, because the better quality the overall message, the better the response should be.
  2. More Qualified Leads: Of course, for Sales, it’s all about the leads, leads, leads; marketers will need to not only focus on providing many leads, but ones that will conceivably turn into actual qualified sales.
  3. Better Marketing Materials: These are a resource for both the salespeople and your customers. Improving these makes it easier for Sales to keep the conversation going.
  4. More Case Studies and Testimonials: Customers are increasingly skeptical; they want to see that your product or service works. Having proof to verify yours and Sales claims will greatly improve Sales’ chances of finalizing the sale.

What Tools/Activities/Assets from Marketing are Most Useful to Sales?

Getting more specific, Sales identifies which Marketing activities are helpful to them.

  1. Industry Events: Credibly, they produce high quality, extremely relevant leads. Continue attending (and even creating!) industry events as they seem to be extremely beneficial.
  2. Value Proposition: Demonstrating value is what sets you aside from competitors and, ultimately, convinces them to choose your business over others.
  3. Case Studies: We’ve already touched on this previously, and for good reason! They seem to be extraordinarily effective.
  4. Sales Presentations: This is more thorough than most other marketing activities, but the payoff can be significant.
  5. Product Sheets: A great tool for both customers and salespeople to use to understand your offerings.
  6. Social Marketing: It’s the digital age, and social marketing is incredibly affordable and effective.

What Additional Steps Should Marketing Take to Align with Sales?

We understand Sales perspective on any misalignment, so how can Marketing ensure better future alignment?

  1. Share a Common Goal: Both departments should be on the same page. What does the customer look like? What is a qualified lead? How do you measure success?
  2. Marketing Automation: Marketing should generate the lead and Sales should finalize the sale from the lead. The two should collaborate on where the customer entered and where they are currently in the sales funnel, as well as what communication they’ve received from both Sales and Marketing. Together, the two can work to truly understand their customer, increasing the likelihood of closing a sale.
  3. Inbound Marketing: Case studies are included in this umbrella, but so are blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, and social media. You want the customer to find you. These resources also act as persuasive material for the sales team to share with customers.
  4. Think Outside the Box (External Sources): Sometimes, the solution may not come from within, but rather from outside your business. Industry analyses and customer feedback may help you identify solutions neither Marketing nor Sales could think of. Interpret this information together to develop the best response.

Both Must Work Together for Business Harmony

Although the focus of this blog was on what marketing should do to help sales (this is written for the marketers after all), it’s going to take effort from both sides to ensure cohesiveness. The relationship might not be easy, but it’s undoubtedly vital to the company’s overall success.

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