The battle between sales and marketing is a old one, and while the tables keep turning, it’s the customer who’s left in the wings and the organisation who bears the scars.
Despite a shared goal to grow sales, market share and loyalty, the divide between these functions at a structural or activity level has often caused more harm than good.
Every battle is won before it is fought. – Sun Tzu
Today, with the growing shifts in the buyers journey and the explosion in content marketing to influence the sales process, it is more critical than ever that sales and marketing are aligned. However research by Sirius Decisions shows that sales teams don’t use an overwhelming 60-70% of marketing content! Aside from the tangible costs to time and budget, this waste is also an enormous opportunity cost to prospective customers and business growth in general.
With this view in mind, as a senior leader or member of the sales or marketing team, you simply can’t afford to let this age-old war between sales and marketing continue. Here are some things you can do to ensure these two critical functions within every business work hand in hand to drive growth.
1. Get on the same page
At a broad level, sales and marketing may be working to the same growth goals but often the activities to achieve these targets don’t support each other. Ask yourself these questions:
Have you narrowly defined your priority target markets (location, vertical, demographic, etc) and are these the same across sales and marketing? Ideally these should be defined and agreed together.
Do you know the core needs and pain points of this market, their sales triggers, and how they go about researching information (buyer personas are a valuable tool for uncovering this)? Are your sales and marketing activities aligned to what this buyer needs?
Do you know what good looks like? It’s important to agree on your measures of success so that you’re moving forward in the same direction, and can pivot together where required.
2. Communicate often and well
This seems obvious, but surprising how little it happens. Regular, effective communication builds trust and respect which helps bridge the divide between sales and marketing. It’s not enough to agree who does what, and how you’ll measure it, you need to work as part of the same team to really excel.
For marketing, your internal processes should allow you to quickly capture information from the coalface and use it to refine and improve your activities and content for greater success – be open to change and constructive challenge. Offer to go on sales calls and hear the conversations first hand.
For sales, share customer response (good and bad) with marketing. What’s working, what isn’t? What questions are being asked? Which competitors are proving to be the strongest threat and why?
3. Be accessible and flexible
In the dynamic world of sales and marketing, being accessible to each other is critical if you’re to be agile and responsive to market needs. Do you need to co-locate for one or two days a week? This can be useful to build solid relationships and pick up the nuances of one another’s work that’s often impossible with meetings alone.
Sales and marketing need not be a battleground – to win the customer and competitive war, start bridging the gap and align your priorities, activities and direction for growth, or you may be left by the wayside.