The importance of joined up marketing and sales activity
To understand why it’s important to join as closely as possible the marketing and sales teams in your business, it’s important to appreciate that they have very different roles.
For the avoidance of doubt, your marketing team’s job is to deliver leads and enquiries. Those leads and enquiries then belong to the sales team whose job it is to convert them into revenue.
Sales and marketing require very different skill sets. A telemarketer whose job it is to make appointments requires the strength and the stamina to be told “no” one hundred times in a row. They need to keep their spirits up so that, when there is a chance of making an appointment, they have the presence of mind and the quickness of response to capitalise.
Sales reps are often very different. There is a lot of pressure on them when they go to an appointment – pressure to hit sales targets and pressure to persuade the customer to go ahead.
Telemarketers and sales reps rarely transition well into each other’s roles. And it’s this misunderstanding that leads to many frustrated reps complaining about the quality of the appointments they’re being sent on.
Conflicts between sales and marketing teams are one of the most significant factors holding back the growth of businesses. There is no perfect way to combine together the efforts of two different teams with different targets and priorities however focusing the efforts of your marketing and sales departments delivers:
improvements in the quality and quantity of leads generated,
overall company efficiency, and
improved growth prospects.
The process is called “sales marketing alignment” and the most significant advantages to embarking on this process is that it:
builds client relationships, and
reduces wasted marketing expenditure.
The need for alignment is stronger than ever with HubSpot Research reporting that 72% of companies with fewer than 50 new opportunities per month didn't reach their revenue goals. This is 57% less than those who generated between 51 and 100 opportunities per month.
So, are marketing teams delivering the wrong types of lead to reps? It’s not quite as simple as that but it’s not that far away from the truth.
In this article, More Than Words examines:
the benefits of aligning team goals,
how sales team feedback can produce a more effective lead general funnel,
how to improve communication between teams,
company-wide benefits of alignment, and
difficulties you may face in the sales marketing alignment process.
Sales and marketing team alignment
Because the sales team deal with customers at the point of sale, they know the typical customer, their hopes, and their pain points better than the marketing team. Sales teams are rarely encouraged to share this with their marketing colleagues though.
Marketing teams need to understand the customers with the highest return on investment (ROI). Otherwise their efforts will be misplaced and they may not be targeting the highest yielding customers.
In this situation, the sales and marketing teams are misaligned. Neither understands the other’s needs and, as a result, the work that each do is inefficient. You can reduce this inefficiency by developing a system of communication which allow the sales and marketing teams to understand the target client better.
Developing a lead generation funnel
Lead generation is designed to attract expressions of interest from people and companies which may have an interest (immediate or delayed) in your company’s products and services.
There are many ways to get people to indicate their interest, including blog posts, email marketing, product discounts, and event appearances – the so-called “lead generation funnel”.
A lead generation funnel focuses on harvesting, prospecting, and qualifying leads. The marketing team will in general know which type of customer they’re targeting however their efforts can be refined and better targeted by the information provided to them by their sales team.
Agreeing on a joint strategy
Better communication between the sales and marketing teams leads to improvements in conversion rates and customer retention levels.
If the exchange of information between the marketing and sales teams on a prospect isn't as complete as possible, sales staff may struggle to convert some potential customers through a lack of insight.
Conversely, if the sales team do not tell the marketing team in as much detail about the type of customers they want to work with (and why these customers need a particular product or service), the marketing team will more often than not deliver the wrong leads.
Benefits of alignment
Alignment delivers significant revenue generation benefits because the marketing team is given the opportunity to target the customers the sales team are best placed to convert.
What about more complex sales? Depending on the organisations you are targeting, it's important to understand who will be involved in the buying decision in each company. The sales team can give the marketing team pointers on individual targets within these companies and, when a target is engaged, that information can be shared across both teams.
In research by LinkedIn, 70% of their respondents reported that sales and marketing collaboration delivers a better buying experience for the customer.
Difficulties in alignment on complex sales
There are a variety of difficulties when configuring your alignment strategy which come from the complexities of modern business.
Businesses are now larger than ever with presences in multiple countries each with their own language and corporate culture. The process of discovering who you should target is made much more difficult for these types of companies because you need not only to understand the internal structure of a company in one country but in multiple countries and how those structures interact with each other.
This makes the job of producing marketing content and knowing where to focus outbound marketing efforts much harder. Certain types of content may need to be altered for different types of decision maker and for different countries.
In these situations, your sales teams may need to be far more proactive in identifying prospects feeding the information through name by name when decision makers and influencers are identified.
Content for your sales marketing alignment
More Than Words Marketing has a dedicated team of copywriters and campaign planners who can produce marketing content for your company to attract buyers, decision makers, and influencers at different stages of the buying cycle.
We can communicate directly to each team and help manage the workflow. To find out more, call us at 0330 010 8300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org