It’s true. Sales and marketing don’t get on. In fact, 87 percent of the terms sales and marketing use to describe each other are negative, according to a recent survey. It’s bad for business and it’s got to stop.
When sales and marketing work together, ‘companies see substantial improvement on important performance metrics: ‘sales cycles are shorter, market-entry costs go down, and the cost of sales is lower,’ according to the Harvard Business Review.
Not only that, but as Steve McKee writes in Business Week,
‘It should go without saying that customers these days are too mobile, too connected, and too informed to tolerate any gap between what one department says and another does.’
When a customer reads your blog and engages with your Twitter feed, the last thing you want is a sales rep ringing up and presenting an entirely different personality and product-focus.
Instead the two teams need to work together to raise awareness of your company’s brand, tone and messaging so that leads choose to engage with, and trust it enough to become customers.
Bridging the sales and marketing gap
With such a wide and established cultural gap, it’s perhaps naïve to think that sales and marketing will ever be the perfect, friction-free match. Bill Rozier, VP of global marketing at Ciena puts it well when he says,One important thing we’ve done is to set expectations appropriately. Our senior management understands that conflict is inevitable and expects us to manage it.
So perhaps you can’t end the war, but there are ways you can call a truce and extend out a few olive branches so that the business can benefit from a smoother running ‘ smarketing‘ machine.
Understand sales and marketing have the same goals
Both sales and marketing are working to grow the company. Both want more customers, more brand awareness and more profits. While each team takes a different route, ultimately everyone is heading in the same direction. It’s a good way to find common ground.
2. Develop buyer personas
Make sure everyone is targeting their efforts at the same potential customers. For example, both teams need to understand customers’ challenges, pain points and objections to make a sale.
Buyer personas make sure everyone is promoting the same answers, targeted at the same problems and speaking to the same people. They also help to align decisions priorities and pricing because you can make decisions based on a better understanding of your customers’ needs and preferences.
3. Have regular meetings
Communication, as in every other walk of life, is key. You need to have regular meetings, with agreed topics for discussion and hard data to back up queries or gripes.
‘At other companies the primary relationship between the two teams might be between the VP Marketing and the VP Sales. This is a mistake.’ HubSpot recommends weekly meetings. Check out our guide to effective sales and marketing meetings.
They even suggest mixing up desks so that sales and marketing sit together and have a better understanding of what everyone does.
4. Create a standard hand-off process
‘You need an easy way to get leads into the right hands automatically, a way for them to report on whether they have accepted or rejected the lead, and, if they accepted the lead, what the disposition eventually was—won, lost, or not really a lead,’ says Bill Babcock.
HubSpot for marketing and for CRM. It builds a closed-loop feedback mechanism between marketing. It also manages the hand-off process from marketing to sales with lead scoring, lead assignment and a shared database of contacts.