The conversation isn’t new but the struggle still exists, sales and marketing are still not aligned. Who doesn’t want shorter sales cycles, lower market-entry costs, and a reduction in cost of sales? One of the many reasons I like working at North Star is because we are an agency that truly believes Sales and Marketing Departments working together is Smart, Creative and the results are real! I have had the great privilege of working with some amazing Sales people over years and have been on both sides of the argument as a careers a Sales Trainer and a Marketer. Here are some insights I have learned over the years:
1 – Relationships Are Important – We all know a good sales person when we meet him/her. You instantly want to be their best friend, they are fun, they are interesting, they are knowledgeable, and they are masters at building relationships. A sales person once told me building a relationship with a customer is like growing an orchid, it takes skill, and plenty of nurturing and in a minute can die as quickly as it blooms. Sales knows that customers have to be the primary focus, which is something marketing can sometimes overlook. The key is trust. As marketers it is important to help enable sales to nurture their relationships with communications that come from them, with their voice and lens is critical to success.
2 – Always Focus On the Clients’ Needs – Whether we are talking sales or marketing the goal is the same: Solving or preventing a problem a buyer is/maybe experiencing. In both disciplines, a heavy focus on the needs of clients is going to lead to the most overall success. Marketing messages that have the customers needs at the forefront will enable successful conversions. Gone should be the days of product pushers! Successful companies approach their customers as ambassadors there to assist them through the buyer’s journey. Companies with integrated sales and marketing teams support each other with open communication to ensure the message, the tools, and the timing are all working together to achieve optimal results.
3 – Timing Is Everything Perhaps it’s obvious to say, but leads only convert when they have a need, a clear solution, and the budget to buy into it. Previously, creating this synergy was largely the domain of sales, but in our digital age Marketers now have a more critical role in the process. With detailed data-gathering and analysis, combined with personalized messaging, marketing can help sales focus on providing the right message, at the right time to aid the customer in whatever phase of the buyer journey they are in. Sales being religious in their use of CRM tools effectively to share information with Marketing, allows both teams to create those moments of perfect timing from which new sales are born. Increasingly, marketing of the future will be “in the moment,” which requires such collaboration.
4 – Respecting the Sales Process – Guiding a customer from first impression to final sale requires a lot of coordination and communication. Sales and marketing teams understand the importance of alignment, but many times there is still a feeling of uncertainty and frustration surrounding process control. In a world of automation and process improvements, clarity around what is being done, who is doing it, and who controls it is critical. A company which lacks this control is going to lose leads to other businesses, as well as potentially losing face among the leads they’re trying to cultivate. Developing a Sales and Marketing SLA (Service Level Agreement) which is basically a handshake between both teams allow for clear rules of engagement.
5 – Passion Ignites Passion – A good salesperson truly believes and loves their products or services. Having a true passion for your product creates that passion in buyers. The same is true for marketing. Every piece of messaging shouldn’t merely express that the product is superior, but that you’re excited to be promoting it. Whether is a sales pitch to a new customer or your company’s website it’s important to maintain the same level of passion across all customer touchpoints? To the customer, there’s going to be very little difference between “sales” materials and “marketing” materials, so they need to align in tone and spirit as closely as possible it’s very important.
In short, if Marketing and Sales Departments collaborate well together, they can create a far more effective overall sales-driving monster. Working together, rather than separately, they can align their goals and drive revenue across both departments. When combined with modern software and data-tracking tools, the result is a cohesive and unified sales-generating effort that highlights the best efforts of both departments.