Sales & marketing alignment
Whatever you want to call it, joined up thinking, alignment, omni-department approach, smarketing, same page/ song sheet… Can we all at least agree that a successful business model is one that unites sales and marketing for the greater good?
A matter of trust
We often speak to businesses that see the benefit of alignment but there is resistance from both parties.
Sales can mistrust marketing and be protective of relationships they have nurtured. Marketing can be seen as fluff and waffle.
Marketing talks of sales teams stuck in their ways and in need of spoon feeding to embrace change.
Where we do see it working, there is harmony and a shared vision that makes for a much more pleasurable experience.
5 erogenous zones for business!
Why is sales and marketing alignment important?
Bringing everyone together to focus on key areas will reap reward, fundamentally, all businesses’ need 5 things to happen:
- Get more, better leads
- Build the relationship
- Shorten the sales cycle
- Increase the deal value
- Get repeat business
Navigating these zones in partnership will see the business reach its sales targets faster and more efficiently and that means rewards all round, which in turn means and happy, productive team that will stick around!
Is 3 a crowd?
Who needs to be involved?
Sales and marketing also need the business leaders to see the bigger picture! Quite often there is a need for the entire organisation to understand the big picture the business has.
- Why does your business exist?
- Why should people care?
- What are the long-term plans the leadership team harbors?
How do sales and marketing as teams or individuals make that happen and how will the business support or reward them in return? And yes, don’t forget the other areas of the business but today, we’re all about the S & M.
Disseminating information invigorates a team and individuals, they get it, they feel part of the process and not just an individual – now they’re on the team bus!
Once you have the vision…
Do you need handcuffs?
How hard is sales and marketing alignment to do?
To bring both sides together and make sure they stay together, you must foster an environment of communication and collaboration. You can start with a smaller focus group to gauge opinion and identify hurdles and pain points. Or speak to them individually to encourage open and honest conversation. Not all feedback will be positive, but you have to know the bad to be able to overcome them and turn them around to the good.
Organise regular sessions to keep things fresh.
Whipping into shape
Sales and Marketing alignment best practices
So now you have the pain points you need a plan to overcome them. Some suggestions for how to put that plan together, together – work with sales and marketing to agree:
- Understand your target buyers and their customer journey – if you all agree on the stages and the process for your buyers, things get a lot simpler!
- Agree goals and objectives – what metrics can you use to help signpost success and failure?
- Clearly define roles and responsibilities – who and what own which stage and how will you ensure a smooth handover?
- Perfect your messaging – make sure it works across all stages and departments, there will be a higher level of company-wide usage if everyone believes in it.
- Sales training and enablement – who needs to what to achieve the goals?
By agreeing to all of the above, there is less wastage of time, effort and budget.
Once you have all of that you can move to killer content!
Six tips for smooth S & M
6 things you can do today to improve sales and marketing alignment?
- If you’re in marketing – attend some sales meetings, listen in to some calls
- If you’re in sales – share real-world customer experiences, take part in some of the creative process
- Attend some events together
- Create a shared folder or document that everyone can add ideas to
- Meet regularly, share feedback
- Celebrate successes together
Do you need a dominant?
Do you need to appoint a chief revenue (or customer) officer?
Harvard Business Review say this about it…
The main rationale for integrating Sales and Marketing is that the two functions have a common goal: the generation of profitable and increasing revenue. It is logical to put both functions under one C-level executive. Companies such as Campbell’s Soup, Coca-Cola, and FedEx have a chief revenue officer (CRO) who is responsible for planning for and delivering the revenue needed to meet corporate objectives. The CRO needs control over the forces affecting revenue—specifically, marketing, sales, service, and pricing. This manager could also be called the chief customer officer (CCO), a title used in such companies as Kellogg; Sears, Roebuck; and United Air Lines. The CCO may be more of a customer ombudsman or customer advocate in some companies; but the title can also signal an executive’s broader responsibility for revenue management.
A business that has a single, clear vision and all efforts are focussed on that will not only win more business, faster but the teams and individuals will have a positive attitude and understanding that foster a strong, healthy and fun working environment.
I can’t quite bring myself to call it ‘Smarketing’ but sales and marketing alignment is a smart thing to do!
Challenge us to help?
It may sound obvious but once the left and right hand of your business are pulling in the same direction, everything gets that little bit easier! If this is an area you’d like to focus on but are not quite sure where to start, you can read more about how we approach best practice sales and marketing alignment or get in touch and let’s talk about your specific challenge.