Peanut butter and jelly. Shoes and socks. Rum and Coke.
Marketing and sales?
While it seems like marketing and sales should naturally go together like everything else in the list above, the truth is that in many companies these two teams are often at odds. This is a struggle I’ve seen in business of all sizes, from million dollar companies to billion dollar companies.
Marketers are focused on branding and lead generation, while salespeople focus on closing the sale and boosting conversion rates. One’s in it for the long haul, while the other is looking for instant gratification.
Is it any wonder that attempts to align sales and marketing often fails?
And yet, when the two departments work in harmony, beautiful things happen: The sales process becomes more streamlined. The marketing team’s branding and lead generation efforts spurs more sales. Sales teams are able to piggyback on marketing campaigns to close more deals.
All of these outcomes are highly desirable to both factions, so let’s examine how the two teams can align for better communication and results.
Step 1: Get to know one another
Sales and marketing teams are usually pretty busy, each working on their own set of objectives. But taking the time to collaborate can pay off for everyone.
Start by holding an all-hands meeting for both teams to address how they will work together to achieve the company’s goals. With so many voices, the meeting could easily get overwhelmed by small details, so make this a high-level discussion. You can break out into smaller meetings to tackle specific issues later as needed.
Your chief goal here is to make sure that sales and marketing team members get to know one another, and know whom to contact on either team when they have specific questions. Ted in Sales may be glad to learn who manages the company blog, since a customer suggested a topic that he wanted to pass along. Martha in Marketing may want to know what promotions are going on so she can share them on social media.
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Step 2: Develop a promotions and content calendar
Martha was smart in wanting to hear more about ongoing promotions—employees handling social media, advertising, and content marketing benefit from knowing what promotions or sales are happening. But far too often they’re in the dark about these kinds of important details.
Work with both teams to create a calendar around sales and marketing promotions. Brainstorm on blog topics, ad campaigns, and social media updates that will support sales efforts and ensure that the promotions are spread far and wide across all marketing channels.
Marketing may take time to come around to the idea, but the sales team should have input in possible blog post topics, marketing campaigns, and promotion ideas. Salespeople are in close contact with customers and should be considered a representative of the customer internally.
Step 3: Work on campaigns and goals together
For every new marketing or sales campaign, staff from both sides should meet to discuss strategy. First, establish goals for each department for a given campaign. Sales may want to increase revenues by 5%, while marketing may want to get 200 new email subscribers. Both are valid goals, and when both sides can see and understand the other’s goals, they can work together to accomplish them.