Here’s a little script for a stage play I’ve been working on. I’ve only got two lines so far, and only two characters – but I think I’ve got the all-important conflict of the drama pretty much nailed.
Sales [irate]: These leads you’ve handed to me are absolutely useless.
Marketing [indignant]: You wouldn’t know a good lead if it slapped you round the face.
Sound familiar? I sincerely hope it doesn’t, as it happens. For although the best art is said to imitate life, this is one drama that many enterprises could do a lot better without.
Research from Aberdeen Group, quoted in a Kapost article, tells us why:
“Companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve 20% annual growth rate, and companies with poor sales and marketing alignment have a 4% revenue decline.”
These figures are worrying indeed. When sales and marketing are at loggerheads – like those dear fellows in my little play – the culture within your workforce is not only hindering growth, but actually contributing significantly to its decline. How long before it falls off the cliff edge?
Sales and Marketing Alignment
If the scene above really does sound familiar, then that’s ok – for acknowledging there’s a problem is the first step towards solving it.
So what’s the solution? Answer: a strong alignment between sales and marketing.
You may have caught our previous post – ‘10 Reasons Why Sales and Marketing Work Better Together’ – where we listed the top benefits that a company may start to enjoy with an improved company culture that aligns sales and marketing as one team with one vision.
For your convenience, here’s the short version of the advantages highlighted on that list:
- Improved lead nurturing
- Marketing gaining a better understanding of customer needs
- Marketing better identifying and targeting more cold leads
- Improved feedback processes
- Improved strike strategy for offers and discounts
- Better customer relationships
- Marketing helping leads through the bottom of the sales funnel
- Sales has better access to promotional material
- Improved company culture
- More leads, more sales and more revenue
Those are the key benefits of better sales and marketing alignment, but it should be noted that they all boil down to number 10 on the list.
Ultimately, your true business goal with sales and marketing alignment is to drive more revenue, and that means more conversions. So let’s now look at exactly how this can be achieved.
How to Align Sales and Marketing to Drive Conversions
Build a Culture of Transparency and Collaboration
The true key to unlocking sales and marketing alignment potential is to make both of your sales and marketing divisions understand that together they form the company’s revenue team. This means that a culture of equal responsibility for and commitment towards each other’s success is imperative for positive results.
Get rid of the “us against them” mentality that too often pervades. Instead, promote transparency and collaboration by having marketing run all campaign proposals and strategies through sales for input. It’s important that sales know what sort of information a lead has already been furnished with by the time the lead gets handed over from marketing.
But the same process of information sharing works in the opposite direction. Sales will have some great insights as to what sort of information prospects are usually lacking, and so will be able to help marketing start to address this in their ongoing campaigns.
Identifying areas where both teams need to improve to help each other will ultimately improve conversion opportunity rates, result in better qualified leads, and bring these two key divisions together with one goal in mind.
Turn Conversion Rates into a KPI for Both Sales AND Marketing
In a lot of companies, marketing tends to measure its successes on how many leads it manages to generate – and here is where more friction is likely to occur.
A lead doesn’t equal a conversion. So how does marketing really know what its efforts have actually achieved in terms of customer acquisition and revenue generation?
Sales will be all too aware how many leads they generally need in order to make a sale, and indeed how many leads are therefore needed to ensure they are hitting their targets. Without tracking conversion rates right throughout the whole marketing and sales funnel, it becomes very difficult for your business to set accurate and achievable goals and manage all resources to the best effect.
Your goal, of course, is to achieve sales growth over the previous year. But this process begins with marketing. When conversion rates are set as a KPI (key performance indicator) for your marketing team as well as sales, marketing will begin very quickly to realise whether or not their results are on target as part of the whole revenue team. From here, marketing can begin to adjust their strategies and improve collaborations with sales to ensure that leads are better qualified and ready for the sales team to convert.
When it comes to improving company culture between sales and marketing, the long and the short of it is that sales needs marketing to ensure that targets are met, and marketing needs sales to convert prospects and generate revenue.
Since everyone needs each other, the alignment of goals and KPIs in reality is the only way that progress can be made and meaningful growth achieved. Isolating individual marketing and sales functions only leads to a breakdown of communication, and conversion rates suffer as a result.
Align your teams, promote transparency, and make improved conversion rates the responsibility and point of celebration for every participant in the marketing and sales funnel.
Sales and marketing alignment is of course a process that’s easier said than done. In this blog we’ve scratched the surface of the changes that you will need to make to ensure that sales and marketing are working together as one team with one vision. Here at Cope Sales and Marketing we have the experience and the solutions to help you merge your departments thoroughly, quickly and seamlessly. Please take a look at our website – www.cope-salesandmarketing.com – to see which of our services would be most beneficial to you, and you can use our Contact Page to reach out. Looking forward to hearing from you.