Getting your marketing and sales teams into alignment is a great way to make the most out of your sales and marketing strategies. Having an effective sales enablement strategy is vital.
Whether your firm has two distinct teams, one focusing wholly on sales and the other on marketing, or the bulk of your ‘sales’ work is done by fee earners or advisers, getting your marketing and sales strategies into alignment is key.
What are the stereotypical characteristics of an out and out marketer? I would say that they are innovative, focused on long term goals, creative and highly observational of trends.
This is wildly different to the stereotype of a pure salesperson. A pure salesperson is generally highly confident, goal driven, competitive and tenacious.
These two types of people can, at first glance, appear incompatible. At work, they might be assigned to two separate departments - marketing and sales - and may have limited interaction.
In larger businesses, marketing teams generate new leads and then pass them over to the sales team who decide whether or not to follow them up. In many organisations marketing don't even see the leads - they are channelled straight into sales!
From my experience, this way of thinking about marketing and sales as separate certainly carries over into the operations of many smaller businesses, even those without dedicated sales teams.
However, if you really want to maximise your business’s potential, it is vital that you find a way to fit these two disparate strategies together.
What’s more, the modern services environment means that the rigid distinction between sales and marketing is blurred from the customer’s perspective. Nowadays, 70% of a buyer’s research is done before they talk to sales and 59% of buyers would prefer not to talk to sales at all.
This means that your sales team needs to get involved at the marketing stage. If they don’t, they risk saying something that contradicts the information that the marketers use, or marketers not providing them with enough information to get leads to the later stages of the buying cycle.
To be truly effective, your sales and marketing teams need to be in a constant feedback loop. It’s essential that sales and marketing are in dialogue about the quality of the lead and any eventual success.
If this isn’t happening, there’s a broken link in your sales strategy.
This problem often originates in a mismatch of goals between the two teams. Salespeople want marketing qualified leads they can push further down the funnel. Marketers are often focused on generating traffic for your site - this means they can often lose sight of that traffic once it’s there.
Getting in sync - sales enablement
Establishing a common goal should be top of your priorities. And ultimately, sales and marketing already have a shared priority: creating customer value and driving company results.
Bringing your marketing and sales goals into alignment is a good way of dissolving the gap in philosophies, which in the past may have prevented the two stategies from staying in sync.
By using your marketing strengths - like content creation, inbound software and campaign creation - to support your sales effort, each department will become unified around the buyer, as opposed to focusing on hard sales or increasing traffic.
This is called sales enablement, a strategy which, if properly implemented, has the potential to revolutionise your business’s marketing and sales strategies.
An effective sales enablement game plan creates a better customer experience overall by removing the aggressive edge of a sales strategy and also increases conversion rates and makes sales more efficient.
Getting your marketing and sales strategies in sync ensures that your team members who focus on sales know the context of each lead and whether their actions warrant a follow up. This should prevent obtrusive emails or phone calls that could put off potential leads.
Updating your inbound content
Of course, content creation is at the core of most marketing departments (well, those that have moved on from the dark ages of interruptive marketing, at least).
What many businesses don’t realise, though, is that content is also a powerful sales tool, one that most businesses fail to cash in on. Developing content has a purpose beyond attracting prospects and answering their initial questions.
Providing leads with relevant content is also a good way to move them further down the funnel. Your sales team can use content to address their questions and concerns as they progress through the sales journey.
Content is king for your sales and marketing teams. Ensuring all your content is top quality is vital to both attract prospects and turn them into sales.
Rethinking the sales funnel
By abandoning a model where salespeople only operate further down the funnel, you can provide clients with opportunities to buy sooner.
Is the copy on your site purely marketing focused? If so, you are missing out on the chance to implement some sales-orientated copy to advance the sale earlier in the funnel. Note - this copy is much more effective if you have some kind of inbound software to monitor its performance.
Make sure you integrate your inbound marketing software with your CRM software so you can keep track of your marketing and sales funnel. This makes communication more fluid between the two teams, without the need for constant emails.
Aligning your sales and marketing is a game changer and will pay dividends when your sales and business development teams deliver better results than ever before.
If you want to know more, read our marketing and sales alignment quick wins blog.