We're pleased to present this guest post by Sam Narisi of Frost & Sullivan. Read on for concrete tips to help unite sales and marketing.
All business units are under increasing pressure to show the real value they provide to the organization, and marketing is no different. That means marketers are no longer being asked simply to deliver a bunch of leads – they’re being held accountable for making sure those contacts turn into actual revenue.
What can marketers do to meet those new demands? One of the keys is to work more closely with the sales team to ensure marketing strategies and sales goals are aligned.
Doing so will help both marketing and sales improve their operations and ultimately boost the company’s bottom line.
Break down the silos
In too many organizations, marketing and sales teams operate separately, with little collaboration beyond marketers stuffing leads into the sales pipeline. However, there are some steps marketers can take to break down the silos and open up the lines of communication.
Here are five tips outlined by Rob Butters, Principal Analyst
with Frost & Sullivan, during a recent webinar:
- Align schedules – A lot of benefit can come from a fairly simple change: Get marketing and sales operating on the same cycle, with all planning geared toward the same goals. However, in many companies, marketing and sales do their planning and hold their big kick offs at different times of the year. Aligning those schedules will help get everyone on the same page.
- Get sales reps involved – Marketers can gain a lot by including members of the sales team in their planning sessions. And that means not only the sales director or VP of sales, but also the “voices on the street” – i.e., the sales people who are interacting directly with customers. Those people can share valuable opinions and insight that will help marketing do a better job at nurturing leads until they are “sales ready”. For instance, they can shed light on potential customers’ top concerns, what types of content attract the best prospects, and what kinds of feedback they’re hearing straight from customers.
- Share information – Likewise, marketers have access to a lot of information that can help the sales team improve its results. For example, marketing should be able to know what actions leads have taken before they’re contacted by a sales rep, for example, what white paper they downloaded, what video they watched, etc. Knowing those details will help sales reps conduct their conversations with prospects more effectively.
- Speak the same language – If marketing and sales are going to share information back and forth, it’s important that both sides keep track of the right data. The two teams should meet to decide which metrics to track as well as decide on a common terminology so that everyone can understand each other.
- Review and refine the strategy – Getting marketing and sales aligned doesn’t happen with one quick meeting. It’s a never-ending process that requires continual effort by both sides to stay on the same page and working toward the same goal. That’s why it’s critical for leadership on both the sales and marketing sides to be on board and put in the effort to keep the collaboration going.
What is your experience getting sales and marketing working in tandem? Please share your successes and struggles!
About the Author:
Sam Narisi is the publications editor for Frost & Sullivan’s Integrated Marketing Solutions practice. For more information on how marketing teams can improve their results and create more real value for their organizations today, download the Executive Summary of Frost & Sullivan’s eBroadcast, Marketing’s New Paradigm: Show Us the Money!