It’s an age-old problem, the friction between marketing and sales. In most organizations, they are like oil and water. With marketing feeling like they are doing all the heavy lifting – developing campaigns, strategies that tap new prospects and taking market awareness to a whole new level.
While sales feel like marketing gets in the way of the important work – the actual sale, believing that deals only happen when salespeople make the calls, engage the customers, and they ask for the business.
When the truth is, they’re both right. In today’s marketplace, it takes both sales and marketing working together, as a team, to take your business to the next level.
Working together they can:
- Shorten the sales cycle
- Retain more customers
- Improve their forecasts
- Their market entry costs go down
- Cost of sales are lower
- And when the sales and marketing team work in tandem, companies report that they grow faster than those who don’t.
The result? When marketing and sales work together, your market share expands, and your bottom line gets fat.
However, even with all the evidence, all the benefits gained when they work together, most marketing and sales departments function in their own silos — working instead on their own individual goals and their strategies.
The fastest path to growth and profitability is through the alignment of your sales and marketing teams. Here are six strategies you can use to make that happen:
6 Strategies to Transform The Marketing and Sales Relationships
- Share The Vision – the vision for your company that is. Ensure that marketing and sales are designing their strategies, aligning their actions to support the overall vision of the company. Your company vision gives each department their purpose. It reminds them that the work they are doing is bigger than the department and silos in which they exist. It also reminds them that their success reaches beyond what they are doing impacts the overall success of your company.
- Unify The Goal – If marketing and sales are each measured, held accountable to, and given different goals; then it shouldn’t be a surprise that they don’t work together. If you want to increase collaboration and communication with sales and marketing, then the next step is to unify their goals. Never underestimate how powerful a goal is in driving behavior, and determining what actions your team members invest their time and energy in. A unified goal will fast-track the alignment of your sales and marketing teams.
- Force Communication – the more your sales and marketing teams, talk, the more time they spend together, the more they will understand each other. So with understanding comes collaboration and alignment. So you need to force that communication – department meetings, impromptu huddles, and feedback sessions. Find ways and opportunities to get your marketing and sales teams to talk and share ideas. Besides, ensure they each spend some time seeing things from a different perspective. Ask marketing to shadow sales, and sales to shadow marketing. Walking a few miles in their shoes will give each new perspective on one another’s roles and challenges.
- Reward The Right Behavior – if you want sales and marketing to work together, then ensure that is the behavior you are rewarding and recognizing. Team members do what they believe leadership values and places priority on. So if you are talking about sales and marketing working together, but rewarding individual behavior, then you are undermining your efforts. Redesign your recognition efforts to show what you value and what you want – an increased collaboration of sales and marketing.
- Shine The Spotlight – on the areas that are working. People learn through examples and stories. The more you do to highlight stories that show sales and marketing working together, the more efficiently your team can transition. Begin team meetings, send emails, shoot quick videos that shine the spotlight on examples of the areas where marketing and sales are not only working together, but where they are succeeding. So focus your efforts on creating the story of marketing and sales working together and watch those efforts grow!
- Get Their Ideas – People support what they help create – period. So if you want sales and marketing to work more closely together, then you need to ask them how to do it. The more you explain why it is critical to work together, and ask for their input on how to do it, the more support you’ll get from both sides of the aisles – sales and marketing. Asking them “how” gives them ownership in the plan. It will ensure they take responsibility to make it happen.
If you want to drive sales and grow your business, then look to the alignment of your sales and marketing teams. Ask yourself is there is room for improvement? What can we do to take it up a notch?
In a perfect world, sales would respect what marketing does, and marketing would respect sales. However, the world is not perfect, and if you want to transform the relationship with sales and marketing, then you need to take the lead. Take the lead and follow these steps. Your return on investment will be ten-fold. Far more alignment of your sales and marketing teams that result in an improved growth strategy, and better bottom line results. What could be better than that!