In a perfect world, the marketing team creates content that generates prospects, and the sales team converts those prospects into customers … the epitome of sales and marketing alignment, yes? But, when new opportunities aren’t generated by marketing, or sales isn’t converting enough prospects, whose fault is it? Of course, it depends on whom you ask.
We know that a lack of sales and marketing alignment results in a lot of finger-pointing. We also know this disconnect between the two teams can seriously impact a company’s sales numbers.
Often the company itself cannot see the forest for the trees — they’re so used to doing things a certain way and they don’t expect much of an alignment between the two teams. Often it takes a third party to point out the problems and put a solution in place. I especially see this in most distribution companies.
Chances are, this is a situation with which you are intimately familiar. If so, it’s time to get it turned around. Here’s how:
A good plan, along with a reminder of the end goal — more sales, larger sales, and more significant sales — will keep the two teams better unified and working together toward that end goal. By the way, having sales and marketing alignment in your company isn’t a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have.
Your Question: How do I align the two teams after all these years of operating separately?
My Answer: Start with their spending more time working together as a team; and remind them that the future of the company, and quite possibly their jobs, depend on it.
Here are some steps to follow:
Get together and establish an ongoing line of communication.
Marketers should attend regular sales meetings to learn where things are going right (or wrong). And, the sales team can give up some of their meeting agenda so marketers can discuss upcoming branding or content that the sales team can use in the future. In the beginning this may not go over well — your salespeople will want to get out of these meetings and back to selling. But, if these activities result in more sales, then it will be worth them sticking around.
Show the teams how the other half lives.
Both teams have their struggles, and your people will understand the other team’s issues when they see these issues first hand.
Send your marketers on calls with sales staff to meet with customers and prospects so they can see some of the challenges the sales team faces. Your marketers may discover new topics or hot buttons to cover in their marketing pieces that they may have previously overlooked or not known existed.
Similarly, invite a sales rep to sit in with marketing when they plan new content. If the marketing team is missing their mark in their messaging, instead of complaining about it, sales can contribute their input to make it better.
A Final Tip to Help with Sales and Marketing Alignment
One more tip: keep the lines of communication open between the two teams. If each team keeps their worries to themselves, nothing will change. Be prepared for pushback — this could be an uncomfortable change for some.
It’s important to know, too, that a plan like this usually results in more work for the marketing team, or at the very least, a bit of a learning curve that may not sit well with them. Be sure everyone understands the importance of the work involved.
Lastly, consider rewarding the marketing team for their extra effort. You’ve seen incentives motivate your sales team. A similar incentive program set up for the marketing team may be just as effective and equally deserved.
Let’s Do This … Together!
Right now, you can have an entire marketing agency available to fulfill your marketing needs – for a fraction of what it would cost to hire and manage your own team.
Have Next Level iMedia work alongside your existing marketing team to create a unique marketing plan tailored to your company.
Learn more about how Next Level iMedia can be of service to your organization.
Call us at 203-312-9707 or email info2@NextLeveliMedia.com.