When Sales and Marketing are on the Same Page

When Sales and Marketing are on the Same Page

Salespeople criticize Marketing teams for sending over weak leads, while Marketers chastise Sales teams for not following up on the leads they generate.

Interdepartmental breakdowns lead to missed opportunities, squandered effort, and frustration. And, as businesses grapple with a sagging economy, these flaws are becoming even more apparent.

But, regardless of how teams assign blame, the truth is that both teams rely on one another because they are all working toward the same goal: generating revenue. When sales and marketing teams work together, they can accomplish incredible things.

Increasing Sales and Marketing Alignment

SimpSocial conducted a short survey early last year, asking Marketing and Sales leaders about their teams’ relationships. The vast majority of sales and marketing professionals (87%) and marketers (93%) rated their relationship as “important” or “very important.”

While two-thirds of respondents said the team relationships were good, they also thought they could be better. This raises the question of how Sales and Marketing leaders can actually improve things.

Rashmi Vittal, SimpSocial’s CMO, said of the nine-square grid that combines people, processes, and technology to most effectively coordinate a go-to-market strategy, demand generation, and enablement, “This grid is something I always find myself coming back to.” “In terms of what Marketers can do to better align themselves with Sales, this is absolutely from a Marketing mindset.”

When Sales and Marketing are on the Same Page

People, Processes, and Technology are all important.

People, process, and technology can all be found on the left-hand side.

It all begins with individuals. Your team members must possess the necessary skills to critically evaluate the market, educate and communicate with potential customers, and motivate buyers. Business leaders must hire the best employees and give them the freedom to do what they do best.

“No matter what department you work in, you will always have to deal with people in any organization. “People are always a part of the picture,” Vittal explained. “But there are also processes to consider. How do you get things done within or across groups, and what are the expectations?”

Any organization’s ability to create and maintain proper processes is critical. Unfortunately, many of these processes are developed in a Marketing silo and then passed to Sales as directives. This causes mistrust among salespeople, who believe that marketing doesn’t understand what prospects really want. To improve processes, marketing and sales leaders must work together on market research and playbooks to generate (and hopefully convert) high-quality pipeline.

The final piece of the puzzle is technology, which aids in the acceleration of human resources and provides insight into how well processes are performing. Analytics, reporting, and enablement tools, as well as CRMs and Marketing Automation Platforms, are all examples.

“Reporting and analytics are critical, from your marketing automation tool to your CRM tool, to even come to the table with sales and have that conversation to answer the question, ‘How are we doing, and what can we do better?’” Vittal said. “Then there are other technologies, such as what we offer—Intelligent Virtual Assistants—that actually help optimize the funnel at various stages to have a higher contribution into your pipeline and higher contribution into your revenue.”

Through scalable two-way, human-like conversations, Intelligent Virtual Assistants for Sales and Marketing help drive top-line growth, accelerate hot leads, and autonomously collect up-to-date lead data (such as contact information). This type of intelligent automation helps teams become more profitable and efficient by automating many redundant processes.

As things stand, neither team has enough capacity to provide the experience required to gain more opportunities. This issue manifests itself in Marketing’s inability to provide a personalized touch to large numbers of inbound leads. But, strictly speaking, your companies do not want to contact more leads. What you really want is to be able to attract more clients.

In a recent podcast, Drew Neisser, founder and CEO of Renegade, a New York-based marketing agency, mentioned how his father would encourage him during sports practice by saying, “If you can touch it, you can catch it.” We can practice turning more misses into close-calls and more close-calls into catches, even if we don’t always catch a new opportunity.

However, in order to do so, salespeople and marketers must align and expand their sense of responsibility all the way through the funnel to the point of closure. The age-old marketing excuse, “Hey, we filled the pipeline and sales just didn’t close,” won’t cut it, according to Neisser.

Demand Generation, Enablement, and GTM Strategy

Examples of what Marketers can do to better align themselves with Sales can be found across the top.

The first is a go-to-market strategy that boils down to one question: Where do you get your revenue? Before Sales can be given leads and prospects, Marketing must collaborate with Product Marketing to define a go-to-market strategy.

The second step is to carry out the plan, which results in demand generation. What methods do you use to pique people’s interest? And how much of that interest should be generated by Marketing rather than Sales? What is the significance of this collaborative relationship?

“Everyone needs to come together at the demand generation table,” Vittal said. “It’s all about generating pipeline and revenue, which we all know and love.”

Enablement is the third area. It’s worth noting that the right-most column refers to “enablement” instead of “sales enablement.” It’s critical to recognize that Marketing has an impact across the board, from nurturing and educating leads for Sales to cultivating customer relationships to create brand ambassadors.

“You should be enabling the company if you have the right people on your team,” Vittal says. Marketing’s role is not to educate and influence the market at large from the outside. It should also help with influencing within the organization.”

One example is establishing a regular education cadence, knowing that education is critical to the success of your Sales team. When you combine this with the right technology to assist people in doing what they do best, you have a winning combination.

Collaboration is the key to establishing trust.

So, how can Sales and Marketing teams work together more effectively?

“There isn’t going to be a big reveal. There isn’t a ta-da moment here. “It’s about collaborating to build trust,” Neisser explained.

Business leaders must overcome the siloed thinking that Sales has a job and Marketing has a job in order to better align Sales and Marketing teams. They must recognize that they are both responsible for generating revenue for the company. To empower their revenue-generating teams, business leaders should strive to bring together the best people, processes, and technologies.

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