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How to Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams

Marketing and sales are meant to be two sides of the same coin in every organization, so they are often referred to collectively as smarketing. However, the reality is quite different. Studies show that the absence of coordination between sales and marketing teams in the US costs companies $1 trillion yearly. As a result, the average B2B company loses as much as 10 percent or more of its revenue.  On the other hand, organizations that have achieved smarketing alignment will generate 208 percent higher marketing revenue and 27 percent faster profit growth. Below are some tips you can implement to do so successfully.

Doing Smarketing Right...

Have Regular Smarketing Team Meetings

Businesses should organize regular sales and marketing team meetings where they brainstorm ideas, sharing work challenges, and providing feedback to each other based on marketing and sales experiences. 

Companies are also encouraged to organize regular fun get-togethers to help employees bond and discuss the common issues they face in more relaxed surroundings.

Identify Common Goals

While marketing and sales teams perform different functions, they all work for the same business. 

Smarketing teams should be on the same page concerning their organization’s core value proposition. That is especially important  for B2B organizations, because values are one of the significant things that clients consider when selecting vendors. If your marketing and salespeople need help understanding what sets their brand from the competition, how can they convince potential clients to buy your brand products and services?  Knowing the organization's value proposition will help everyone stay focused in the long term, even if the short-term marketing campaigns don't bear the expected fruits. 

They should also agree on the shared Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that they can use to measure their overall performance. Typically, only 41 percent of sales reps consider the leads acquired via the company's marketing efforts high quality. 

Both sales and marketing teams should first agree on what constitutes a marketing-qualified lead (MQL). In addition, they should find common ground concerning lead values worth paying attention to and the required conversion rates at each stage of the buying process. 

A smarketing service-level agreement (SLA)  is an agreement that will provide a constant reminder of the shared goals and the lead quantity required at each stage of the buying process. 

Clear Communication

It’s not enough for sales and marketing teams to meet and agree on common objectives. Everyone must communicate and share the relevant information that they have.

It might help to have a smarketing team email, shared calendar, and shared strategy documents containing relevant information, brainstormed ideas, and schedule of events, such as marketing content and promotions. And that is where messaging tools like Slack and CRM tools like HubSpot come in handy. There must also be clarity on who is responsible for qualifying, nurturing, and converting leads to enhance accountability. If a problem arises, team members can pinpoint the source and deal with it.

In addition, these teams must share their reports concerning sales quotas, upcoming content and promotional offers, customer feedback, and other unshared KPIs. While one group may struggle to make sense of some of their KPIs, the other group may have more insight into the data based on their unique experiences

Marketing Content Should Enable Sales

While 68 percent of marketers create content for specific stages of their buyers' journeys, only 39 percent of salespeople can find the right content for each buying stage.

Clearly, sales and marketing teams have different views of the right content for each buying journey stage. 

It could be because 76 percent of marketers forget about sales enablement when creating content, ignoring that when marketers align their content effectively to the specific stages of the buyer’s journey, they can increase their conversion rates by as much as 73 percent.

For alignment to happen successfully, it would be wise for the sales and marketing teams to collaborate on defining buyer personas and target segments.  The marketing department can use existing customer data to create a buyer persona. And the sales team can refine these personas by sharing their sales feedback.

Marketing teams could shadow salespeople and their process  to gain deeper insights into customer behavior.

During the meetings, consider marketing team members sharing the upcoming marketing messages with sales and ask for feedback. Marketing could then create email templates for follow-ups based on the buyer behavior the sales team has observed and shared on. In addition, they can provide the sales department with talking points to help improve sales.

Smarketing is a team effort. And for sales and marketing teams to be effectively aligned, they must work together like parts of a well-oiled machine.


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