Introduction - Sales And Marketing Collaboration
It is not a secret that getting sales and marketing collaboration around common goals is a big challenge for most organizations. The process of getting them to cooperate is called "smarketing". It might be difficult but it's worth it. In fact, companies with a strong collaboration between sales and marketing get 20% more annual revenue growth. In this post we will teach you how to set the stage for smarketing in order to improve your overall performance and wellbeing of your teams.
Why does this matter?
If your teams are fighting like two kindergarden kids in a playground sand box. Don't feel bad. Research shows that sales and marketing teams use mostly negative terms to describe each other - 87% of the terms are negative to be exact.
You might find terms such as lazy, incompetent and simple minded, familiar with regard to how your marketing refers to your sales. On the other end sales tend to describe marketing as irrelevant, academic and arts and craftsy. Don't feel bad. It happens in the best of families.
Why can't we all just get along?
Somewhere along the way we forgot that sales and marketing are part of the same team. Here are some best practices to get your smarketing wheels going:
1. Both teams should be aligned around the same goalsProvide access to real time information. Get your teams to share info with each other and learn how they can benefit of each other's experience. Sales can provide valuable information about your companies' ideal customers' needs and challenges. They can also educate marketing on common objections and guide them as to what prospects are most likely to turn into customers. Marketing can teach sales about the process the prospects go through before becoming a sales qualified lead. They can provide valuable insights as to what info the prospect has encountered before becoming a lead and what level of trust to aim to establish before transferring the lead over to sales. A holistic approach and a coherent understanding of the marketing promise that the sales have to follow up on, will result in higher quality leads and higher conversion rates from leads to customers.
Evaluate and set combined goals that each department should strive to achieve in order to reach your company's business goals together.
2. Tie the marketing pipeline to the sales quotas
Generally speaking, marketing deals with the top of the funnel. They try to convert visitors to leads. Turning leads to marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads should be looked at as a joint goal both teams strive to achieve. Then once the leads are nurtured they can be smoothly transitioned to sales who will take the lead trying to convert them to customers.
It would help to have clear definitions of each stage of the funnel. What's your company's definition of a sales qualified lead? Most companies don't have one. That's a mistake.
Establish the number of quality leads required for sales to be able perform and the response speed and proper follow up process required to convert the leads to customers (follow up should be an integral part of your work procedures. Sales reps that follow up with leads are 60 times more likely to qualify them than sales reps who wait 25 hours or longer) for example:
Marketing should deliver 5 monthly leads per sales representative. Sales will make 1 attempt to engage in 6 business hours, with 4 attempts in 12 days.
3. Compensate teams based on shared goals
If your sales and marketing teams are rewarded differently based on different goals, you are essential generating rivals. Instead of a divide and conquer approach. Get your teams to work on the same goals and compensate them in accordance. A mutual interest can work wonders.
4. Evolve the conversation around your company personas
It's important that both marketing and sales understand who your company's target customers are. Make sure you have a clear understanding of who your buyer personas are, and make sure that everyone on board are crystal clear on this matter. Marketing might be surprised at the amount of info sales can provide regarding each persona. Conduct joint meetings in order to map out your buyer personas and then set off the reach them, together.
5. Communication is key
Make sure to have weekly smarketing meetings. Get teams to work together in an ongoing feedback loop between then. 2 Pitfalls to avoid:
- Avoid a situation whereby your marketing team is sending leads to sales and never hear back with feedback. It's always nice to know that a lead become a customer, and it's crucial to know what went wrong if a lead did not convert. Was he irrelevant? How long did it take sales to get back to him? They are important issues to look into on an ongoing basis.
- Don’t enable a habit whereby marketing sends leads to sales with basic contact information, but without intelligence about what they already know about the contact and their stage in the buyer's journey.
Aligning marketing and sales can work wonders to your performance.
When done right, marketing can learn what works and what needs to be re-evaluated. This will lead to increase in marketing ROI. Sales will be able to prioritize leads, make warmer calls and increase closing rates and sales ROI. It is a win-win situation that all will benefit from. Good luck and happy smarketing.