With 57% of lead conversion determined by lead quality and 43% by the sales process (Leads360), marketing and sales teams are intrinsically linked when it comes to influencing the overall success of their companies. Why, then, is there such opposition between these two teams? Maybe the better question is: what are we leaving on the table by continuing in our old divided ruts? How about 32% of annual sales?
As marketing consultants, we’ve worked with many marketing teams and sales teams over the years. And in even more recent times, with the addition of our own in-house telesales team, we sit at the same table for lunch. So we are intimately aware of the struggle that marketing and sales teams have when trying to work together. At the end of the day, though, we’ve found that if you can take the time to understand three key principals and make the most of the opportunities in front of both teams, the rewards are huge.
Focus on the Mature Customer
The first challenge faced by these two departments is perspective. Marketing teams tend to think about segments, not individual customers like the sales teams. Sales teams refer to customers by name and are the “boots on the ground” of the overall effort. When the two groups get together, it seems like they are talking about different customers. These teams need to embrace the challenge of coming together to reach a common understanding of the customer voice and the customer journey.
Sales and marketing teams need to have the same understanding of the customer journey. The disconnect between the journey that marketing uses and the experience of the sales team can hurt both dramatically. Sharing the same understanding of the journey means that both teams understand the stages, pain points, and obstacles to buying. Consistency in both departments’ ideas about who the customer is, what their journey is like, and what they need can empower both teams dramatically.
Marketing and Sales Need Alignment
The critical next step to improving the customer journey in your sales process is to achieve a new level of alignment between these two departments. Another barrier to achieving this is that many sales and marketing teams have different KPIs, or metrics. Our experience tells us that unless your marketing and sales teams share a set of KPIs, alignment will be almost impossible. If a marketing team has never had to review the funnel conversion rates, they will never know if they are providing strong leads. And conversely, if sales teams do not have a clear understanding of the USPs presented to the customer, they have little to build on. You’re playing the same game, but on different fields. Sharing KPIs and metrics allows for a constructive dialog on moving the needle together, not in separate silos.
The second alignment tactic is consistent messaging. Marketing and sales teams need to use the same language when they speak to a potential customer. If the ad mentions a “free assessment” but the sale guy keeps calling it “the test”, then a thread of incongruence is created in the potential customer, and continuity is lost. The customer journey and customer experience must be established and protected by both parties to gain the maximum benefit from all activities. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated (McKinsey). Older adults are twice as likely as younger consumers to give up entirely on a buying experience and never come back. Your messaging matters, and the misalignment is costing you more than you think. By sharing KPIs and common messaging, you start the journey to alignment between these two teams, “unlocking the value” of both teams for mutual gain.
Integration of Marketing and Sales Data
To take the reporting element to the next level is to have integration between the two data sets for full closed loop reporting on all marketing and sales activities. How many leads did that direct mailer bring in? What is the close % on all your social media ads? Integration of these two data sources can bring a wealth of knowledge to both teams, allowing them to have more dynamic conversation and produce better results. When the two departments see how their activities are linked, it can shape the shared KPIs and overall alignment of your teams. Once everyone can get on the same page about what works, what does not, and how the game is played, the company is more likely to win. Data can help you get there.
32% Annual Growth Is At Stake
So, what happens when marketing and sales are aligned? 32% annual growth vs -7% (act-on). That is nothing to scoff at, and it makes the efforts outlined above seem well worth the cost of implementation. The simple alignment of marketing and sales teams on consistent KPIs and shared goals could return millions for your company.
Where to start?
If your sales and marketing are not aligned, you are not partnered with the right firm. Let’s have a conversation.
Next, if you are looking to jump right into this alignment, you should want to start with your data and integration steps to streamline your processes and reporting. Aligning the data first can help give context to the conversations that will happen in the process. It can also help paint the picture for both teams on where the issues reside. In the process, we can help you to develop a lead scoring mechanism with your sales team, as well as integration with marketing automation to nurture those leads. Either way , the journey to increased revenue is ready to be taken for those ready to bridge the gap between marketing and sales.