Marketing and sales may feel like two distinct departments, with different functions and goals. Marketing is responsible for generating leads and creating awareness about the brand, while sales are responsible for converting leads into customers. It’s common for sales and marketing teams to shoot friendly fire at one another - marketing needs to bring in more leads, while sales need to close more. But the truth of the matter is, marketing and sales are on the same team, and it does a disservice to the organization when these two teams work independently.
By aligning marketing and sales teams, businesses can ensure that both departments work toward the same goal: increase revenue and drive customer acquisition. This can lead to a more efficient sales process, increased customer satisfaction, and ultimately, increased profitability.
The first step to aligning marketing and sales teams is to define a common goal. You may even opt to utilize your organization’s North Star which also aligns with other departments like product and engineering. This can be as simple as increasing revenue or increasing customer acquisition. When both, or all teams, have a common goal, not only do they work together to achieve it, but the teams can leverage each other’s momentum to push initiatives faster, and better.
Communication is key to any successful relationship, and the relationship between marketing and sales teams is no exception. Sales need to be overly communicative about what they hear in the field: what messaging is resonating, what are common pushbacks and pain points. While marketing should be giving insights into which campaigns are working, updates on high-performing email marketing campaigns, social media successes, etc. By fostering communication between the two teams, businesses can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there are no misunderstandings. Even more important than aligning with each other, this way, both marketing, and sales stay aligned with the needs of the prospects – and can ultimately deliver more value to them.
Sharing a common goal isn’t always enough to motivate sales and marketing to align. Establishing shared KPIs can help align marketing and sales teams and hold them accountable (especially when tied to an MBO or spiff). When both teams are measured on the same KPIs, they are more likely to work together towards achieving them, exchanging ideas to propel the organization forward, and strengthening the quality of outreach.
For example, if marketing has a KPI of generating MQLs, they are likely to be more lenient in the criteria for qualifying leads. And then sales may complain that the leads aren’t good enough, which is why they aren't closing.
But if both departments share a KPI of MQL to SQL conversion, marketing will more carefully consider qualifying leads that have a higher conversion potential and sales will push to convert more of them. This gets them on the same team, contributing to the success of the whole organization.
Using technology can help streamline the collaboration between marketing and sales teams, and automate actioning. For example, if both teams are using HubSpot to track customer interactions, identify patterns, and gain insights that can inform decision-making, they both have the ability to leverage each other’s insights, and make decisions about the next automated email workflow, or perhaps how to improve the site’s chatbot based on interactions. If marketing notices that sales are quicker to close deals with companies of a certain size, they can double down on campaigns targeting those businesses.
Encouraging collaboration between marketing and sales teams can help improve the efficiency of the sales process. For example, marketing teams can provide sales teams with valuable insights about the customer, such as their interests and pain points, which can help sales teams tailor their approach to each lead.
With a renewed emphasis on efficiency in 2023, we’re not only thinking about the number of MQL, SQL, and deals/opportunities required to meet our goals, but re-evaluating the tactics that reduce time in pipeline and costs of acquisition, and convert more leads.
Aligning marketing and sales teams is crucial for achieving KPIs and increasing profitability. By defining a common goal, fostering communication, establishing shared KPIs, using technology, and encouraging collaboration, businesses can improve the alignment between these two departments. With a shared vision and a coordinated approach, marketing and sales teams can work together toward driving revenue and increasing customer acquisition.
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