For a company to experience growth and increase revenues, sales and marketing alignment is critical. Without this dynamic, miscommunication, gaps in responding to market changes, and a misunderstanding of the customer journey can be detrimental to fiscal health. Sales and marketing should be integrated and collaborative, but that’s not always easy. Many challenges impact the relationship. The good news is that there are practices and strategies to align your sales and marketing teams.
Why do sales and marketing have challenges aligning?
Misalignment between sales and marketing is a common issue for organizations. It’s sometimes a systemic problem rooted in culture and leadership. That’s often a starting point for bringing them into alignment. Let’s look at some of the challenges:
There’s an us-versus-them mentality. Reminding teams that they are on the same side seems trivial, but it’s essential. You should reaffirm you have the same goals and build on that shared objective.
Sales and marketing also have different priorities and motivations. They can have significant clashes over these. Getting on the same page is necessary to reach common objectives and drive revenue for the business.
A lack of communication can be a problem as well. When these two groups don’t communicate, it can impede the success of campaigns. Feedback and interaction between sales and marketing—instead of simply making assumptions—lead to clarity.
Finally, if no centralized technology tools are available to support the relationship, productivity and efficiency can suffer. If the sales team doesn’t have access to what they need, team members can become disillusioned. Conversely, if salespeople aren't using the content marketing creates, they become frustrated.
Take these steps to empower sales and marketing alignment.
To achieve more harmony between sales and marketing, leaders of those groups should work together to develop a strategy. That strategy can include these seven steps.
Step 1: Assess where you are.
Before you can start cultivating a new balance, you should know where you are in alignment and what your biggest challenges are. Diving into data can help with this. You’ll want to assess key performance indicators (KPIs) that involve sales and marketing performance. Analysis of these should point to some gaps and opportunities.
Additionally, you can get a more subjective look at the issue by anonymously surveying sales and marketing teams. Ask them about the difficulties they face and what they believe to be the barriers to better alignment.
Step 2: Get leadership buy-in.
Before you can move further up the ladder, sales and marketing leaders must present a unified front and walk the walk. Without leadership buy-in, all the other players may not take it seriously or respect the process. If team members see friction from leadership, they’ll be less likely to adopt alignment.
Step 3: Meet regularly.
Next, you need to get everyone together to meet regularly. If your teams aren’t doing this now, get meetings on the calendar. You can start by explaining what you discovered during the assessment phase. Address the elephants in the room initially so that both teams realize these meetings are a step toward better collaboration.
Your meetings can include an agenda moving forward, which both departments develop. Conversations should include things such as:
- Talking about content needs
- Getting feedback from sales on customer pain points or competitor intelligence
- Discussing market changes or industry news presented by marketing
- Sharing best practices on how to do routine tasks or processes
- Going over current campaigns that marketing is driving and what value they should bring to sales in the form of lead generation
Having candid and honest conversations between the groups can further build trust and respect throughout. When colleagues trust and respect each other, it makes alignment so much smoother.
Step 4: Make sure everyone has the training they need.
One reason employees suffer from disengagement or leave is they feel they don’t have the tools or training to support their efforts. You don’t want to foster this kind of culture. Instead, you want to be educators and illuminators. There are three key areas of training:
- Technology: Do all team members know how to successfully use platforms such as CRMs, marketing automation, and sales enablement software? Improve their knowledge by implementing onboarding training from the start then having refreshers throughout the year.
- Sales processes: Many organizations have documented best practices for sales activities. If you don’t have them, you should consider making those informal ones formal. If people consistently complete processes in a standardized way, they’ll be more productive.
- Product or service knowledge: Sales and marketing need to know your product or service intimately. They should understand the mechanics, practices, features, and benefits. This is another area to train on early and often. You should deploy new information when products or services change too.
Step 5: Share strategies.
Sales and marketing have their own strategies, but there’s tremendous overlap. You’re both attempting to attract and convert customers. Having a deep dive into each group’s strategy can be enlightening. Without insights into both, teams will remain in silos.
Step 6: Create communication channels.
Besides regular meetings, you should also continually develop avenues to communicate, such as Slack channels or other tools. These modes of communication help with everyday questions and needs. You can get specific by creating channels focusing on product/service, industry, competitors, and so on. Constant communication strengthens the bond between teams and alignment.
Step 7: Deploy sales enablement software.
A sales enablement platform is the single best tool for sales and marketing alignment. Such a solution isn’t one-sided. It delivers benefits to both groups and keeps everyone on the same page. Some of its benefits are closing the feedback loop, solving access issues, and tracking and measuring performance. With a centralized hub to store content and manage documents, it bridges all the gaps in sales and marketing alignment challenges.
Experience the power of sales enablement software to ensure sales and marketing alignment.
These steps and tools can help you align sales and marketing in a way that benefits all parties. With a strong strategy and technology platform, these two teams can operate in harmony, boosting productivity, effectiveness, and revenue. See how sales enablement software can work for you by requesting a demo of vablet.