"What does marketing have to do with sales?" This is a common question that many IT professionals are asking. The answer? Marketing and sales need to be aligned in order for an organization to get the most out of its resources, improve customer satisfaction, and generate more revenue. While this can be quite confusing for some organizations, it is important to understand the difference between the two and how aligning your marketing and sales teams can do wonders for your business.
Having said that, in this blog post, we will discuss how you can align these two important departments within your company and how your organization can benefit from the best practices in IT marketing and sales.
What do Sales and Marketing Teams Do?
Marketing is responsible for developing brand awareness and increasing market share. Best practices in marketing rely on data to drive decision-making processes, which includes the collection of customer feedback so that product improvements can be made and customer needs can be met.
In essence, the marketing team is responsible for building relationships with the right customers and helping to ensure that they have a successful experience when interacting with your company.
On the other hand, sales are focused on converting qualified leads into opportunities and then moving those opportunities closer towards closing deals. The sales team relies heavily on effective communication. It is responsible for increasing revenue by focusing on customer acquisition and closing deals with key customers that will benefit the company's bottom line.
Best practices in sales require close collaboration between marketing, product management, and engineering to determine target prospects and identify customer pain points to gain new customers.
What is Alignment Marketing & Why Does It Matter?
A study by the Aberdeen Group shows that many companies with highly aligned marketing and sales departments generate 50% more revenue than organizations without alignment.
Alignment provides a streamlined approach for customers throughout their buying process - from awareness through post-sales support. The goal of closely aligning your marketing and sales teams is to provide top-notch customer service at every point during the sales process.
Why Does Alignment Matter?
The benefits of aligning your marketing and sales teams are endless when done correctly.
For one, aligning both sales and marketing teams ensure that the company messaging is consistent across all touchpoints and that your organization delivers value by providing resources such as webinars, eBooks, case studies, etc., which can be used to generate new leads.
Nurturing leads before making contact with them ensures that they are prepared when it's time for sales teams to engage them one-on-one, resulting in increased close rates leading directly back to revenue generation.
Fill in Gaps in the Customer Journey and Support the Sales Funnel
Alignment also allows your company's entire sales and marketing teams an opportunity to focus their efforts towards accomplishing key business objectives instead of working against each other, so there are no gaps during the customer journey.
Improve Lead Quality & Cost-per-Lead
By focusing on top-of-funnel lead generation, you'll notice increased website traffic, high-quality leads, and lower cost-per-lead due to more targeted and personalized marketing efforts.
Increase Customer Retention and LTV (Customer Lifetime Value)
Alignment is a great way to decrease customer churn by improving the overall experience for customers at every touchpoint. Best practices in CRM will allow you to build strong relationships with your customers and enable sales teams to close deals faster.
Best of all, when marketing and sales teams work together, your organization will experience an increase in customer lifetime value due to increased average deal size and revenue per client.
What does sales and marketing alignment mean?
According to Harvard Business Review, "aligning sales and marketing means that the companies' objectives are closely linked. Each group collaborates on developing a plan for bringing in new customers."
For instance, both teams should have a mutual understanding of the overall marketing strategy and how it fits into your organization's sales goals. Sales and marketing alignment means that both departments have sales and marketing strategies that complement each other.
How do you align email sales and marketing?
The truth is that there is a lot of overlap between the sales and marketing departments beyond the marketing campaigns and the sales calls. While the individual functions might seem quite different from each other, the objectives are relatively the same.
However, it's important that both teams clearly understand their roles and responsibilities and how to collaborate best to support sales and marketing endeavors.
Here are some tips on how you can better align your marketing and sales department:
1. Be clear with describing your buyer personas and their buying journey in detail
Both sales and marketing teams need to understand the different stages of a buyer's journey and how they fit into your overall marketing strategy.
In addition, it is helpful if you can provide insights on what type of content resonates with specific buyers at which stage of the sales process. This will help your team members to define their sales strategy and tailor their message.
2. Set up weekly meetings
Set up weekly meetings with your sales account executives and marketing team leaders. During these meetings, evaluate current campaign progress as well as discuss other upcoming campaigns.
Having regular meetings with your team will keep everyone on track and ensure that both teams are in tune with one another.
3. Utilize closed-loop feedback
A closed-loop feedback system is a simple yet effective method where everybody shares feedback with each other. Hold brainstorm sessions on how you can improve existing marketing efforts and share feedback on how the sales department can be more efficient in generating qualified leads. This particular process allows for both teams to be accountable for the end results that are generated.
4. Establish content creation guidelines
Best practices in content creation should be established to ensure that the two departments are both on the same page regarding messaging and workflow processes.
Having these standards in place from the start allows for less time spent fruitlessly redrafting or updating communications with one another during various phases of lead generation.
5. Align your salespeople with your marketing campaigns
Marketers are constantly launching new products and materials, so the sales team must stay up to speed on these offers so they know what new offers their leads are receiving or what promotions they can leverage.
Here are some of the ways that you can align your salespeople with marketing department initiatives:
- Cascade marketing-generated leads with your sales reps
- When a lead is generated, your marketing team can share these leads with the sales department through email or a CRM system.
- Email weekly digests to sales reps that outline what efforts have been made so far and if any new offers are being launched as well as other recent news from both departments
- Outline key messaging points for each campaign so that sales reps can leverage this messaging when speaking with leads
- Create dedicated landing pages for each campaign, which your sales team can use to track campaigns and generate more qualified leads.
6. Invest in sales enablement tools
Sales enablement tools are great for helping your salespeople focus on lead qualification and moving leads through the sales funnel. Best of all, most of these types of platforms can be accessed with an internet connection. So your salespeople don't have to spend time at a computer when out in the field meeting prospects.
7. Strategize together
Going over key campaign details such as which prospecting channels will generate leads, what types of offers you'll make during outbound campaigns, and who is responsible for reaching out to these leads can help your teams be more efficient in their efforts. Best practices here include:
- Use both targeted online marketing campaigns and traditional print advertising methods (such as direct mail) when generating new leads or updating segmented audiences.
- Utilize a combination of email outreach and phone calls via inside sales reps depending on whether it's early discovery stages or later in the buying process.
8. Share and evaluate reports and analyses
Analytical reports should be shared with both teams to allow for better decision-making regarding the direction of marketing initiatives and uncover new opportunities.
For instance, if your email campaigns are generating higher than average response rates, this information can help determine future offers and prospects that you will target.
Conversely, sales team members may notice certain recurring buying themes based on the types of leads generated through your marketing efforts.
By sharing both quantitative and qualitative feedback, you can improve future campaigns while allowing for better alignment between sales and marketing teams.
Put Your Marketing and Sales Teams Together for Greater Success
While there's no "one-size fits all" approach in aligning the two departments together, it is critical that you consider the best practices for IT marketing and sales alignment to ensure that you and your team maximize marketing initiatives while also making it easier to close more deals.
Best of all, following the above tips and leveraging marketing technology platforms can help you streamline your efforts, increase customer engagement, and spur revenue growth.