Entrepreneurs

4 Ways To Get Your Marketing And Sales Teams On The Same Page

Customers are bombarded with advertising messages day in and day out. In an oversaturated digital landscape, they’re starved for meaningful interactions. Audiences crave deeper relationships with brands. So, if you want to catch customers’ attention, you must curate a purposeful, seamless experience that addresses their individual needs.

It’s impossible to create these experiences without sales and marketing alignment, and the chasm between sales and marketing teams continues to widen. It’s costing businesses more than a trillion dollars a year, according to Super Office. One study reveals that 85% of companies believe marketing and sales alignment is their largest opportunity for improving business performance today.

If you’re experiencing misalignment between sales and marketing, don’t worry. You’re not alone in facing this challenge. Here are four key steps you can take to bridge the gap between your teams:

1. Create the right organizational structure.Oftentimes, the disconnect between sales and marketing teams starts with structure. In today’s marketplace, much of the buying journey happens digitally. With customers doing more independent research, sales messaging needs to be more intertwined with marketing. But who’s responsible for what elements?

“A consideration for leaders to drive the proper alignment between sales and marketing is to create the right organizational structure, defining roles, governance, accountability, and capabilities required to accomplish the goal,” says Thomas Manders, founder and managing director of Coffee + Dunn, a connected experience partner that focuses on delivering customer-first engagement solutions that drive growth. “This will help to manage the customer lifecycle and ensure that every signature part of the buying journey is being accounted for and managed, including demand generation, customer service, content, business development, and product management.”

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By clarifying the structure and responsibilities of your sales and marketing teams, you’ll help clear up any confusion. Everyone will understand their responsibilities and know how their joint efforts contribute to your company’s bottom line.

2. Align key performance indicators.

Vanity metrics have always been a problem in the marketing industry. No one wants to look bad, after all, and multichannel marketing ROI can be hard to track. Sales teams, on the other hand, usually set revenue goals that reward outcomes. This instantly creates a rub between marketing’s quantity-focused metrics (e.g., likes, shares) and the quality-focused metrics (e.g., average deal size, customer lifetime value) of sales.

“More often than not, the issue is that the two functions are measuring different kinds of things,” says Jeffrey L. Cohen, director analyst in the Gartner for Marketing Leaders practice. “For example, many marketing teams are responsible for delivering a specific number of leads (or marketing-qualified leads). This is a quantitative metric. Sales is responsible for delivering on pipeline and revenue numbers, which are primarily qualitative metrics. If someone is not a good fit for the solution, it is hard to close the deal. When both teams are measured on their influence on revenue, they can seek results against the same types of metrics.

By agreeing on specific shared metrics and how to report them, you’ll align your teams and save time and effort down the road when comparing performance reports.

3. Establish communication processes.

Once you establish your organizational structure and determine KPIs, you can focus on activating deployment strategies and improving communication. As a McKinsey study showed, employees who feel included in workplace communication are nearly five times more likely to report increased productivity. By improving communication between sales and marketing, you set up both teams for success.

For some companies, this might mean scheduling regular check-ins or brainstorm meetings. For example, Meghan Flannery, director of revenue marketing at Drift, says her company holds weekly collaborative meetings for the marketing team, sales development representatives team, account executive team, and partner team.

“These are the four teams that are mapped to the revenue goal, which are broken down by segments,” says Flannery. “Each of these vital teams reports on growth and compares its performance with the other groups. This constant communication and collaboration helps ensure processes are working together and address any potential discrepancies.”

4. Create customer personas.

Just as you might pitch the same camping trip differently to three different friends (e.g., emphasizing the gorgeous sightseeing, the short walk to the campsite, or Instagram-worthy photo opportunities), you should understand which aspects of your business appeal to different audiences. An effective way to do this is by creating buyer personas so you can understand the specific needs, preferences, and personalities of different target segments.

“Many business owners skip this step to save time, but blowing this step off will ultimately hinder your success,” says Abby Miller, DMNews editor. “Developing data-driven customer personas for your business will help both sales and marketing to step back from ingrained presuppositions. Personas also help your team members present contradictory opinions and ask questions in ways that depersonalize the conversation. Instead of your leading sales rep saying, ‘That won’t work’ to your marketing team, the objection can be stated in a more non-confrontational manner.”

By leveraging customer personas, you’ll improve your marketing team’s targeting, help them understand the correct channels and formats with which to share their messages, and discover insights into audience behavior. This information can then be shared with your sales team to further personalize the buyer’s experience.

Getting marketing and sales on the same page is never easy, but it is possible. Follow these four tips, and you’ll be surprised at just how quickly and effectively the two teams realign.

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