Aligning sales and marketing teams has always been important, but in the digital age this alignment is more important than ever. As Salesforce noted, many organizations still believe in the clearly delineated cycle of marketing to sales generation: the marketing team generates leads which the sales team then qualifies and turns into revenue. However, the process is no longer straightforward. Social media and constant access to information have disrupted this traditionally understood timeline of lead generation to revenue creation. Now all the steps are connected and intertwined, and therefore the sales and marketing teams must be too.
The modern customer now has unlimited information at their fingertips. They know more about your competitors and the other options available in the market, thus your job of convincing them to buy your product becomes even more challenging. Now, in order to win the customer over, the sales and marketing teams must pool their skills and knowledge to see the big picture and understand the customer’s needs.
The alignment of sales and marketing has the potential to dramatically boost a business’ performance, improving efficiency, sales productivity, and shortening the sales cycle. Most companies spend 30-40% of their revenue on sales and marketing. Improving the efficiency of both teams could mean big savings and performance improvements. So, now that we’ve covered the importance of sales and marketing alignment, how do you actually achieve this alignment?
Leverage Social Media Information
One key channel for understanding the customer is through social media. Social media provides a wealth of insight into the customer’s behavior, identity, and relationships that can be leveraged by the sales and marketing teams together to generate more successful leads. The marketing team should use social profiles and content marketing to increase visibility and assist the sales team in social selling. Social selling has become a necessity for any successful company and should be treated as a core competency for which there is in depth training on best practices and potential benefits.
Communicate and Collaborate
The most important feature of an integrated sales and marketing team is open and frequent communication and contact. As Marshall Leger, Managing Principal at Third Idea Consulting said, “you can’t serve the customer right when your best people are working blind.” The sales team frequently interacts with prospects, providing them with information that they will respond well to. This information would be valuable to the marketing team as it would help them create effective content. Conversely, the marketing team needs to keep the sales team in the loop on the valuable content that the prospects will be receiving. Hubspot provided a series of practices to help facilitate this communication. These include biweekly sales and marketing meetings, having marketers listen in on sales calls, and making marketing content accessible to the sales teams. These practices can lead to tracking important performance metrics such as lead generation, MQL, percent of leads worked, and lead-to-customer conversion rates. With the knowledge of both teams, more efficient solutions and practices can be reached.