How Sales and Marketing Teams Can Work Together and Play to Win
In many organizations, sales and marketing teams aren't even showing up at the same game let alone playing on the same team. Today, more than ever, sales and marketing must be aligned in order for organizations to succeed. Your business can't play to empty seats. This is the bottom-line reality for every organization, and should be at the core of initiatives for every department. It's not enough for sales and marketing to take ownership of their share of the customer process. They must accept accountability for creating and improving the entire workflow, from lead generation to conversion.
A better scoring system
Sales and marketing have different objectives and are measured by different scoring systems. This disparity results in teams watching their own performance without respect to how it impacts team play. Marketing may be tasked with and measured on generating a specific total number of leads and/or achieving a specific cost per lead, while sales is held to the fire on converting those leads into customers. Measuring on a cost-per-acquisition basis aligns sales and marketing objectives and puts the focus on quality of leads rather than quantity.
Don't drop the baton
Olympic relay teams have experienced heartbreaking defeat when they failed to smoothly pass the baton from one runner to the next. It doesn't matter if you have a team of top performers if they can't connect their efforts and hand off the baton without dropping it. Marketing teams run the first leg of the race. They set the pace by creating and implementing messages that drive prospects into the lead funnel. Sales teams are charged with the anchor leg and crossing the finish line with new business. If your organization has no idea what happens when the baton is handed off, it runs the risk of wasting money and resources.
Recruit the right fans
When sales and marketing teams aren't working together, you risk having a stadium filled with people wearing another team's jersey. Marketing can spend a lot of money to attract the wrong type of prospect, resulting in wasted money, time and effort. On the front end, make sure that marketing has a clear profile of who you're targeting. Have sales and marketing work together to develop client profiles to ensure that you put effort into generating high-quality leads.
Watch the playback
Sales and marketing teams can improve game-time performance when there's a system for reviewing wins and losses. Create a standardized process for input on leads that goes beyond sales "liking" or "not liking" a lead. When sales teams provide quality feedback, marketing can quickly make adjustments or changes in messaging or lead channels. Define your market with sales and marketing on the same page and make sure that sales follows up on every lead so they can provide feedback on where they win deals. This will be a lot of work initially as you look to clearly define your profiles. In the long term, you'll improve the quality of your leads and lower the costs to acquire them.
Beyond the victory lap
Once you have sales and marketing aligned, develop a playbook for ongoing success. Use a common interface so that sales and marketing teams can share information. Unify sales and marketing by clearly defining best practices that function as a standard playbook for all. Leverage automation to ensure consistency and repeatability.
For example, use your CRM system to automate your best practices and sales workflow. Doing so can provide a common interface so that teams have access to the same information (e.g., lead channels and prospect behaviors), ensuring that there's the opportunity for feedback and a cohesive plan. Finally, make sure that your teams meet as a group on a regular basis so that you can be nimble and respond to trends. Sales and marketing alignment really comes down to each team understanding the other's role and working together to drive overall success. Your teams will be stronger and the results will show in your bottom-line scorecard.