Sales and marketing teams often live in silos and sometimes have an adversarial relationship. Any successful company soon realizes that this isn’t sustainable for long-term growth. Nor is it favorable for the culture or long-term retention of employees. To align sales and marketing teams, you’ll need consensus and trust. Getting to this place can be a challenge.
While there will always be competing priorities and different perspectives, there’s one thing all parties can believe in, and that’s data. By leveraging analytics, you can more easily get both groups on the same page.
Moving to this type of structure can be tricky, but you can take specific steps to ensure solid sales and marketing alignment.
The sales process is no longer linear.
The digitization and omnichannel standard prevalent in the buyer’s journey results in a nonlinear sales process. Buyers are savvy and want to do their research before ever engaging sales. In fact, B2B buyers read up to 13 pieces of content before making a decision. Most of this content that audiences seek (70 percent) is directly from the brand.
Knowing that content is this important, sales and marketing must collaborate to produce relevant content that nudges the buyer to choose your solution. To do this, you need active cooperation between the two groups and the right technology, such as sales enablement software, and a key feature of it must be an analytics engine. When you have data that shapes the content you create, it means it will likely resonate much more.
Misalignment between sales and marketing can stunt growth.
Studies show that sales and marketing alignment boost revenue and profitability. The other side is what can happen when there is misalignment. A LinkedIn survey found that 90 percent of sales and marketing professionals believe there are multiple disconnects. Further, another survey reported that inaccurate data or the inability to share it was a leading cause of misalignment.
The message is clear: It’s mutually beneficial for sales and marketing to work together, and a critical part of that is using data and technology available in a solution such as a sales enablement platform.
A sales enablement app can drive measurable, bottom-line results.
By adding a sales enablement tool to your software stack, you have a unique platform that delivers insights helpful in aligning sales and marketing. When considering software that directly correlates to analytics fostering sales and marketing connections, there are key features to prioritize.
These are the steps you can take to use analytics to align sales and marketing teams. While every organization is different, these can stand as pillars to bring everyone to the table with equal footing.
Step One: Determine the gaps.
If you want to move forward with analytics driving alignment, you must discern how you’re collecting, analyzing, and using data. You likely have data from multiple sources, none of which may answer the question of how sales reps use content. The best way to remove this challenge is with a sales enablement platform. It should have the functionality to record very granular details about content use and activity in the field.
Step Two: Define your strategy for using analytics to cultivate collaboration.
Simply deploying a platform won’t drive the results you need and want. Neither will merely collecting the data. You’ll need a plan.
All parties need to come together to talk about how the sales enablement platform delivers analytics. You’ll also need a process to turn data into insights. Once you have a strategy in place, it’s time to look at the unique features within the sales enablement app to power revenue growth.
Step Three: Employ closed-loop marketing tools.
When you don’t close the loop, you have blind spots. For example, marketing may produce ineffective content if you don’t have feedback from sales. Sales enablement software captures content usage by sales in the field, so your marketing team has analytics on what they are using and if it led to a conversion or sale.
You now have digital intelligence, which is the ability to capture, manage, and analyze data. Without this, sales and marketing lose out on critical analytics that can improve the content and enable sales to win new customers.
Step Four: Optimize sales pitches.
A sales pitch is never one-size-fits-all, but most don't include personalization because of a lack of time or resources. However, when you have access to sophisticated data analytics, you can optimize your pitches to be more custom to that specific buyer.
If you can customize these pitches, it could have a profound impact on conversion rates.
With sales and marketing working together and understanding the data, your sales presentations become more compelling and deliver value for the recipient. It’s not a sales spiel—it’s a consultative approach.
Step Five: Use sales intelligence tools.
You can track and discover contextual insights regarding a customer or prospect and their business. For example, sales reps often waste time with inaccurate prospecting processes. A sales enablement platform integrates with your customer relationship management platform and ensures that contact information is up to date. Sales professionals can then build custom lists, update records instantly, and identify opportunities with sorting functionality to narrow down targets.
Step Six: Be consistent and keep measuring.
Analytics can be a strong bond for sales and marketing. If you go through the first five steps, you’re taking specific actions to get results. But it doesn’t end there. Your teams have to use sales enablement tools and keep measuring consistently. After all, things will change. Disruptions will occur, and you need to be ahead of them, not behind.
Sales and marketing alignment could hinge on analytics.
Analytics can act as a liaison between sales and marketing. It’s objective, not subjective. It tells an accurate, complete story of how content, pitches, and intelligence tools are performing. If you want to grow and make data-driven decisions, you’ll need a robust sales enablement platform.
If you would like to dive deeper into how sales and marketing can use such a platform, download our e-book, Secrets Revealed: How Marketing Can Help Increase Sales Using a Sales Enablement Platform.