A guest post by Andrew Gazdeck, Chief Growth Officer at Spiff
Your sales and marketing teams share the goals of driving the sales and revenue of your company. Unfortunately, these teams commonly function separately from one another. This misalignment puts your business not only at a disadvantage but can decrease your earning potential over time.
Why Do You Want to Unite Your Sales and Marketing Teams?
To substantially increase your sales productivity, marketing return on investment (ROI), and top-line growth, you must first unite these teams. Once you have successfully formed a collaboration, you are certain to see marked improvements and remove friction points in the customer experience that otherwise were slipping through the cracks.
Fortunately, there are several easy ways in which to unite your marketing and sales teams and boost the performance of your business.
Acknowledge That the Customer Comes First
Your marketing and sales teams can get so caught up in the nitty-gritty of the workday that they forget that customers are real people on the other end of a marketing or sales pitch.
Acknowledging that the needs of the customer are more important than what a singular department may think should happen is a significant first step in getting these groups to work together in pursuit of a common goal.
Working toward this goal may require a significant shift in thought processes for your company, so it is essential to put time and effort into executing this step.
Establish and Maintain Lines of Communication
Determining how the marketing team will work to support the sales team requires regular meetings, and continued lines of open communication. A report by the Content Marketing Institute and LinkedIn found that nearly 73% of highly aligned companies hold daily or weekly meetings for sales and marketing teams to collaborate.
Touching base frequently is all the more important when establishing new dependencies within your organization. The established heads of these departments should touch base every week to plan the information that is to be disseminated at the team meetings and keep the goals clear for everyone involved.
During weekly meetings, your sales team should utilize this time to take note of forthcoming content, campaigns, and upcoming offers from the marketing team. The marketing team, in turn, can use this time to establish a baseline of sales performance, and whether they are on track to achieving goals and filling quotas.
Editor’s note: At Encharge, we use a Go-To Marketing Roadmap to identify the most pressing goals, align product, sales, and marketing efforts, and provide a general continuity of purpose.
Monthly meetings should be used to share Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), lead generation, and what percentage of leads resulted in success.
Often marketing teams are focusing on the customer journey and how to attract leads into the business, while the sales team can become more focused on the customer experience once they have been acquired. Both of these viewpoints are valuable and feed into the revenue cycle when they are appropriately aligned to produce pleasant transition and overall experience.
Set aside time to have discussions not only in person but through calls as well. You can choose to have your marketing and sales teams block off time each week, month, or quarter for these phone calls. Emails can be utilized to deal with immediate situations that occur and cannot wait until the designated meeting or call time to be resolved.
Consider shared office space when possible, as this is often a fantastic way to get a feel for what each team is experiencing! Marketing teams get a chance to observe the sales process firsthand, and the sales team can contribute their experiences to the marketing team’s knowledge base. Being in close can also help improve working relationships and reduce friction between teams.
Frequent events together
Attend conferences, industry meetups, or designate time to spend together in a non-work-related setting. This time allows the marketing and sales teams to establish connections and develop a better understanding of one another while improving communication. These connections will make for a more conducive work environment.
Create defined goals and strategize together
Establish lead generation metrics, lead scoring, and service level agreements (SLAs)
Lead generation metrics
A highly likely potential buyer, as determined by the marketing team, with a marked interest in what your brand has to offer, is known as a marketing qualified lead (MQL). A potential customer whom the sales team acknowledges and commits to act on is known as a sales accepted lead (SAL). A prospective customer whom your company has analyzed and audited and has deemed almost ready to buy is known as a sales qualified lead (SQL).
Your marketing and sales teams must work together to determine what definitively qualifies a lead as an MQL, SAL, or SQL. Both sides must understand what is and isn’t working for the other team. When this understanding is established, there is an overall increase in the level of performance and growth.
If the marketing team has not surveyed the SQL information then the result will be a frustrated sales team who doesn’t understand why leads are being qualified when they fail to meet basic standards for the product. You don’t want to end up with leads who either can neither afford your product or make efficient use of services due to being too large or small of a company. This can only serve to waste the resources of both teams in terms of time, effort, and costs. It also creates disharmony between the sales and marketing teams for not enabling each other’s success.
The act of ranking leads based on the anticipated value they represent to your business, is known as lead scoring. When your marketing and sales teams come together to determine this scoring system, it will bolster your revenue cycle.
You can use a marketing automation platform like Encharge to set up a scoring system. With Encharge, you can increase or decrease leads score points based on their activity on your website, in your app, and in your email communication — for example, when a user visits a page, submits a form, completes an event in your product, opens an email, and so on. Get your marketing and sales teams together and design your automated lead scoring system!
Service level agreements (SLAs)
Throughout each phase of the revenue cycle, SLAs must be established. Putting these systems in place enables marketing to demonstrate the process of how an individual became a marketing qualified lead and provides sales a history of interaction with the specified individual.
Re-envision the sales funnel as a revenue cycle
The sales funnel is a simplified process that sorts a broad audience into leads, prospects, and lastly, clients. While MQLs are integral to the sales funnel, it is primarily focused on the sales experience. Re-envisioning your sales funnel as a revenue cycle consolidates marketing and sales throughout the process.
This consolidation works by combining the critical elements of each team’s process and seeing how they feed into each other directly and using end-result sales to narrow down the MQL parameters for increased revenue. When marketing and sales are aligned with one another to form a data-centric method, and a long-term vision, both groups are better able to solve problems and offer support to one another when needed.
Utilize Voice of Customer (VOC) Data
Voice of Customer Data (VOC data) is data gathered directly from customers, to gauge possible motivations to purchase, or pain points they may have. This information can be inferred from sources such as sales calls, surveys, and social media.
A vital and initial step once you have coordinated your marketing and sales teams is to discern VOC data. Together your marketing and sales teams can utilize this information to determine why your customers like your product or services, as well as create more effective marketing messages in areas of weakness.
Reviewing this feedback and establishing better marketing efforts will lead to increased sales, customer retention, and customer loyalty.
Use Encharge to Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams
With integrations like email, HubSpot, Slack, and lead scoring, Encharge allows you to orchestrate your whole marketing and sales funnel and design flows that facilitate the alignment between marketing and sales teams.
The possibilities are endless. Here are some of the automation flows we recommend exploring if you want to improve the alignment between your sales and marketing teams:
Capture Leads From a Form, and Segment Based on Value
Capture lead information in a form and segment leads based on their Budget input. Send low-value leads an automated email sequence. Assign high-value leads to a sales rep and ask them to book a demo.
Identify a Hot Lead and Act Proactively
If a person visits your pricing page, check the email of that person: If an email is recorded -> send a Slack notification in your #sales channel to get a sales rep to follow-up manually via email. If no email is recorded for that person, send an in-app message to book a demo.
Identify Sales Opportunities In Pre-sales Live Chat Conversations
Turn your support team into a lead-generating machine. When having a conversation with a person on live chat, a representative may identify a hot lead. With Encharge you can push all Intercom leads automatically to your HubSpot sales pipeline and add them to a Facebook Ads audience.
Create a 14-day free trial with Encharge to try these and many other marketing automation templates right out of the box.
Uniting your marketing and sales teams is a great way to take your business to a new level of growth and success by attracting better leads. It is also an excellent way to reduce conflict and friction within the customer experience and revenue cycle to turn leads into loyal customers. This new standard would not have been possible with teams that were misaligned and lacking communication.
Overview of steps to succeed in uniting your marketing and sales teams:
- Acknowledge that the customer comes first
- Establish and maintain lines of communication
- Create defined goals and strategize together
- Re-envision the sales funnel as a revenue cycle
- Utilize Voice of the Customer (VOC) Data
- Use a marketing automation platform like Encharge to automate the sales and marketing processes across your organization.
Uniting your marketing and sales team may seem difficult at first; however, by utilizing these steps, you can streamline the process. Once established, this guideline will enable your sales and marketing teams to develop a better working relationship. In an article, by Harvard Business School professor Ben Shapiro states:
“If marketing and sales do not cooperate, the company’s strategy will be inconsistent and weak” — Ben Shapiro
About the author:
Andrew Gazdecki is the Chief Growth Officer at Spiff – the leading sales commission software. Gazdecki has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes Wall Street Journal, Inc.com, and Entrepreneur Magazine, as well as prominent industry blogs such as Mashable, TechCrunch and VentureBeat. At Spiff, he’s on a mission to help companies automate commission calculations and motivate sales teams.