Marketing and sales have more success when they’re truly in alignment. Without this, both sides of the relationship can crumble. One of the most important roles of a marketing team is to support sales by developing relevant content that speaks to buyer needs, challenges, and solutions.
So, why does marketing often fall short of this tall order? There are several reasons, and uncovering and working to remove them will invigorate both teams and lead to more wins and revenue.
1. Sales and Marketing Suffer from Misalignment
Sales and marketing teams often live in silos, which means they’re not in alignment. They often don’t connect in a way that invites harmony, which seems counterproductive considering the interdependency of the relationship. Beyond orbiting their own worlds, the relationship can be antagonistic, which serves neither team.
For a variety of reasons, sales-marketing alignment is a hard objective to achieve for many organizations. Unfortunately, this situation is common. A LinkedIn survey found that 60 percent of respondents believed there was misalignment between the groups.
So, what’s the problem? Much of the time, it’s a lack of visibility. Without insight into strategies on both sides of the coin, it’s challenging to deliver on group goals even when many of them are shared.
What’s critical in fostering this relationship is to create alignment that ensures both groups get what they need in the relationship and collaborate instead of competing. That means creating a true partnership that defines how they’ll work together. Getting on the same page means being transparent and having a culture that cultivates this type of teamwork.
2. Communication Between Sales and Marketing Is Minimal
Without clear communication lines, it’s impossible for marketing to support sales consistently. Without it, marketing can’t know what sales needs and expects. They can only guess, and many are doing just that. Research suggests that only 35 percent of salespeople think marketing knows what they need.
But this problem isn’t solely on the shoulders of marketing. Communication must be a two-way street. Sales must provide feedback to marketing on the content they are using in the sales process and what is resonating with prospects.
Marketing then needs to take that feedback and develop more meaningful content. Further, marketing should advise sales of the analytics behind content so that everyone has the same information. That’s a tricky proposition without the right technology tools to track it.
In addition to analytics shared among the teams and creating processes to facilitate feedback, regular meetings can clear up communication challenges. If that’s not currently on your calendar, you should make it a priority, at a minimum of once a month.
3. Sales Enablement Content Is Missing the Mark
Even in ideal situations in which communication is occurring, marketing still may not be able to support sales with the right content. Fulfilling this obligation is difficult without analytics available.
In the study referenced above, 55 percent of marketers responded that they don’t know which assets salespeople use most. Additionally, 44 percent of salespeople lack this knowledge as well. Those are concerning stats that represent a great deal of wasted time and resources. It’s just a guessing game without the data.
When your teams have access to this, it should facilitate higher quality and more relevant content, addressing every stage of the buying cycle.
The context of the content isn’t the only concern, especially for highly regulated industries. Sectors such as life sciences and finance must adhere to regulations regarding how they present content. These can change, which requires vigilance.
If sales and marketing don’t stay on top of this, sales has only outdated content. In the worst-case scenario, sales reps use it anyway, which could expose the organization to risk. Even if that’s not the case, inaccuracy regarding products, pricing, or policies isn’t something you want when you’re trying to build trust with customers.
4. Sales Support Is Floundering Due to Access
Sales may not feel the support of marketing because there isn’t a central repository of content, and they spend too much time trying to find what they need. That creates feelings of frustration and resentment. It’s hard to quell these emotions, and they can do permanent damage to the sales-marketing relationship.
Additionally, there may be restrictions on content usage in presentations or meetings because reps need an internet connection or can’t use rich media formats. As a result, sales reps may feel unprepared and unable to make the most impactful pitch. Solving access issues and other limitations is fixable with sales enablement software.
What Happens When Marketing Supports Sales Effectively
What does success look like in supporting sales? It’s a streamlined, connected ecosystem that provides:
- Analytics on content usage
- A central document hub that always has the most up-to-date content
- An ability to access content that isn’t dependent on Wi-Fi or specific devices
All those features and more are part of robust sales enablement software. When you have the technology to support your efforts, you can experience big gains. Some interesting stats on sales-marketing alignment that illustrate the potential of such a relationship include:
- Businesses with aligned sales and marketing are 58 percent more effective at retaining customers and 67 percent better at closing deals.
- When marketing supports sales, organizations can save up to 30 percent on customer acquisition costs.
Retention and profit growth can accelerate, while costs to acquire can drop. Additionally, handling objections is easier because you have content geared toward this. Sales reps can then make the most of their limited time with prospects with ready-to-go, personalized presentations.
Explore More Ways for Marketing to Support Sales
Supporting sales is critical for any marketing team. However, it can be a challenge. With the right processes, tools, and culture, marketing can better complement the efforts of sales. You can learn more about how marketing can be more proactive by downloading our e-book, Secrets Revealed: How Marketing Can Help Increase Sales Using a Sales Enablement Platform.