“You have to tell a story before you can sell a story.” – Beth Comstock
Marketing tells your story and Sales sells your story. According to a 2016 survey, 21% of the companies said that their marketing and sales teams are closely aligned, and 61% gave an indication of “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.” Well, the bridge is here, it’s real, and it needs to stay.
Why is marketing and sales alignment necessary?
The need for the alignment of marketing and sales teams is not just a shared revenue of the organization that they belong to, but because the prospects/potential buyers expect it. They do not want inconsistencies and grey areas in the marketing to sales process, which in turn, could hamper their trust and confidence in the brand. The fix is simple and doable: A united front, which can be achieved through effective communication, clarification of the roles and responsibilities of each department and synchronization of the resources via a centralized knowledge base.
How does the statistical picture for marketing and sales alignment look?
We looked into data collected by Wheelhouse Advisors to get a magnified view of the statistical picture of this alignment that’s so essential. Misalignment of marketing and sales teams is a plague on businesses. With wasted marketing outlay and lost sales, it crucially impacts revenue. It leads to a waste of 60-70% B2B content and a snafu of 79% of marketing leads that never convert into sales. It costs businesses a whopping $1 Trillion a year. On the flipside, there are a few uplifting statistics too and that could only be achieved through marketing and sales alignment. For businesses that chose to do so, showed an impressive average growth of 20% in annual revenue as opposed to a 4% decline of the companies that didn’t. Businesses that focus on marketing and sales alignment, are up to 67% better at closing deals, achieve 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates. If your marketing and sales teams are in sync, you could potentially generate a 208% more marketing revenue.
What is the fool-proof modus operandi for marketing and sales alignment?
It’s no rocket science, just an art, and art calls for a few steps to be followed. These are:
1. Sales Enablement Tools: Sales teams need to be more open-minded about the sales enablement tools, like presentations, leaflets, infographics, brochures, etc that marketers work day in and day out for. For sales to leverage these tools, marketing needs to ensure that they are easily accessible to them. This would make the sales reps ‘sales-intelligent’.
2. Lead Hand Off Agreement: Marketing and sales must have an agreement in place, as to when a lead handoff is in order. The sales funnel stage, where a lead is handed off by marketing to sales, could vary depending on your product/service, market, region, or sales representatives. Since sales folks are persistent and persuasive, it’s important that they receive well qualified leads before marketing engages them in the sales hunt.
3. Collaboration: Communication is key to make sure marketing and sales teams are aligned. More often than not, sales folks complain that marketing doesn’t understand their needs, and marketing folks complain about the unrealistic expectations from sales. Kill this hurdle. Genuine collaboration happens when there is mutual knowledge sharing through regular meetings and catch-ups.
4. Social Media: This is one of the most powerful platforms for marketing and sales. 72% of prospects use it to research products and services, and 82% of them are active on social media, anyway. By studying this customer activity, marketing teams can put highly personalized content out there and drive engagement, and sales teams can utilize social selling to their advantage to build trust, drive sales, and nurture customer relationships. Therefore, empower and encourage your teams to use social media, thus, raising the personal profiles of employees, as well as your brand.
5. Content Marketing and Sales Co-ordination: Since sales operatives deal with prospects on the front line, getting ideas from them works wonders. You’d know what actually works to win and retain customers and your content marketing team can craft tailored content for specific target audiences. A combination of the sales team’s insight of the customer’s interests and the marketing team’s expertise of fashioning relevant and attractive content, would turn ideas into revenue.
Most of all, let your marketing and sales teams breathe easy, and give them the liberty and opportunity to get to know each other so that they’re comfortable leaning on each other for support. This would make marketing and sales look beyond their differences, listen to each other intently, and collaborate. And collaboration equals revenue. Define a meaningful and practical end goal – all for one, one for all!