It's no secret that there is often a disconnect between corporate marketing and sales teams. Sales feels like marketing does not effectively support their needs to achieve revenue targets, while marketing thinks that sales does not appreciate the amount of work they do and content they build to generate leads and nurture prospects. While each side shares the same end goal of growing the business, there is a great risk to business development efforts when marketing and sales are not fully in concert. As Hubspot cites, organizations with good alignment between sales and marketing teams achieve 20 percent annual revenue growth, compared to a 4 percent decline for those with poor alignment.
Sales and marketing teams need to forget about their differences and ally for improved revenues and the strategic direction of their organization. Between modern sales enablement tools and the amount of educational content marketing teams are producing, bridging the divide is easier than it was previously. Here are four things you can do to help your marketing team align with sales:
- Empower them. Marketers live off data. We want to collect as much of it as possible so we can analyze it, segment our audience for tailored messaging, and cater to each segment differently as we appeal to and nurture them. This approach, typically bundled with marketing automation, can work very well when dealing with an early-stage prospect. In seeing this works well early, it's natural to continue it as prospects move down the funnel. But by doing this, we come to view salespeople as data enterers. From them, we are able to determine the needs of prospects, what stage they're at in our funnel, and if they're still active—more data to better tailor our campaigns! What we forget while poring over data, though, is that during this time the salesperson is building a relationship with the prospect. They now know their motivations, interests, company structure and more. So what's better? Tailoring content based on someone who knows them, or sending a campaign based on abstract data? Empower your sales team to use your content when they feel it's most needed and will provide the best education to prospects.
- Educate them. Does this sound familiar? "If one more salesperson asks me where the most recent version of the brochure is, I'm going to freak out." Disconnects can occur because we're heads-down, pushing through our next piece of amazing content. When it's done, we move on to the next piece. The problem is, marketers typically don't tee each piece up well for a salesperson to use it, much less tell them where to find it. Educate them on where content is stored, how it's organized, and why/when they may want to use each piece.
- Organize for them. It's a best practice to organize your content around topics that make sense to your sales team. This could mean content is grouped based on sales stage, customer industry, customer need, use case or similar classifications. Once you set up your categories, and your salespeople are empowered and educated, you need to put your trust in them that they're going to use and personalize your content when needed. If you've done a good job of empowering them with the content they need and educating them on where to find it and how to use it, trust that they will use it properly.
- Listen to them. Be sure to work with your sales team and build in a feedback loop so you can know if what you're doing is working. Push past the anecdotes and discover what's at the core by asking the five whys. You'll be able to find trends this way, assess if the content you've built so far is on target, map content to each stage of the process, and determine what else you need to develop to assist with sales efforts.
The final step is to make sure these tips are just the start of an ongoing dialogue with your sales team. The Corporate Executive Board recently found that 87% of the terms marketing and sales use to describe each other are negative. Repairing this takes time, but for the betterment of you and your company, you need to get started.