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In most organizations, especially large enterprise organizations, there tends to be a disconnect between marketing and sales. Some common pain points are that marketing teams feel like they can’t get sales to align with their process and initiatives and sales teams often get frustrated and don’t feel like marketing actually helps their efforts.
An important and easy solution to these various types of pain points is to open up a communication and feedback loop between the two organizations. We tend to see extremely valuable insights come from a simple working session between the two and will highlight some common themes, initiatives, and lessons in this post.
Identify broken processes that can lead to strategic organizational optimizations
Whether it’s a new hire, an organizational change, or the onboarding of larger marketing technology solutions, major company investments often reveal the need for greater communication across sales and marketing teams. One exercise that has proven to be very valuable to companies of every size is to simply conduct a whiteboard session, mapping out the interaction and handoff of information between marketing and sales.
A simple visualization exercise like this, with key stakeholders involved from both the marketing and sales teams, can quickly lead to insights and a-ha moments. These often include: identifying a gap in tracking; understanding where miscommunication is happening; and recognizing where an extra step of communication needs to happen. These insights can lead to solutions as simple as establishing a channel for more frequent communication or as complex as larger organizational optimizations, such as identifying a need to enhance and implement improved marketing technology solutions.
We’ll tackle a few of the common solutions and lay out some steps for implementation.
Create a quick, frequently used feedback loop to share insights between marketing and sales for optimizing campaigns and initiatives
Conducting sales team interviews or surveys from time to time is an extremely valuable tool for marketing. Having these planned in a more regular cadence can help a marketing organization get close to real-time feedback on various types of insights and create consistent buy-in between the two teams.
Common insights that sales typically will have access to that marketing won’t include:
- Common questions prospective clients are asking
- How certain content is resonating and potentially leading to conversions
- Where there might be content gaps or opportunities for optimization
Getting this feedback from sales then directly helps marketing understand where to improve: key decision criteria of prospects and critical information to convey; how to enhance messaging and positioning; new topics for content; and overall enhanced user experience. This qualitative method to acquire information and feedback from sales is crucial for marketing and sales success.
Leverage sales within marketing to continue to manage & build customer trust
While this is more relevant on the B2B side, especially considering Account Based Marketing tactics, it’s important for marketing teams to think about the relationships that sales teams cultivate with key customers or clients. Leveraging these relationships for existing accounts that marketing is hoping to upsell can be extremely valuable to continue to build customer trust and showcase alignment between marketing and sales.
Whether sales, marketing, product, or client services identify the upsell, all teams can create tremendous synergies to understand how to leverage paid marketing efforts to target existing customers. A great example of this could be to customize and align marketing experiences that lead clients to talk with their existing account representative. This level of customization is now expected and would be difficult to achieve without sales and marketing alignment.
Another example more relevant to B2C is simply ensuring that the handoff from marketing to sales is a smooth process for the user. This will more effectively convert prospects to customers who are willing to advocate for the business or product over the long term.
Create greater buy-in and collaboration on larger marketing-led initiatives
A simple solution to marketing getting buy-in from sales for a major marketing initiative is to bring them along at key milestones in the process of building the initiative. One easy way to do this is to allocate more time for sales leads to review of key milestones in the creation process prior to launch. Allocating more time in the planning stage to gather feedback from sales is an easy way to gain buy-in to set any new initiative or campaign up for success.
On the flip side, sales teams will naturally be more open to getting marketing support on updating sales language and battle cards. Creating marketing one-sheeters for sales teams on specific campaigns can also be an easy tool to guide sales and prepare them to talk about specific messaging, positioning, and content for new campaigns.
These are just starter strategies that any organization can use to better leverage the strengths between marketing and sales so that there is a more cohesive process and feedback loop between the two departments. The most important and fundamental step is to build a feedback loop and communicate expectations that enable deeper collaboration between the teams, which ultimately leads to easier scalability. Ensuring there is alignment between the two organizations is crucial to company success and unlocking opportunities for growth over the long term.