Why Sales & Marketing Go Hand-in-Hand

“If Sales would only get off their bums and go after the leads we give them, maybe our numbers would improve. They obviously don’t know how to close a deal.”

“If Marketing would only give us real, qualified leads, maybe our numbers would improve. Last week they gave me a deceased person’s name and two companies that went out of business.”

Marketing and Sales sometimes don’t get along. There’s a definite disconnect between the two, one that can sometimes become quite disparaging when the finger-pointing starts. Historically, Marketing would look at the long-term potential of customer interaction, nurturing the relationship along the sales pipeline. Sales, on the other hand, would be more focused on making a quick sale and then turning to the next prospect. Think of Marketing and Sales as hunters/gatherers. Sales are the predatory hunters who focus on one kill at a time, while Marketing is more of a gatherer, nurturing plants until it’s time to harvest.

But in today’s consumer-driven environment, the hunter/gatherer profile is becoming obsolete. Customers have access to a vast amount of information from which to make decisions, and sometimes don’t see a sales person until they’ve decided to buy.

The focus is now on the customer and finding out his or her wants, needs, desires, and fears. And both Marketing and Sales are on a collision course to learn the intimate emotions of their customers. With this common goal in mind, it’s time to learn to play nicely.

The marketing research firm MarketingProfs conducted a recent study and found that “Organisations with tightly aligned sales and marketing functions enjoyed 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates.”

Here several tips to get Sales and Marketing personnel to work together on the quest to reach customers at their core needs:

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Marketing personnel need to go on sales calls. And Sales personnel need to sit in on the planning for a social media campaign, for example. Learning how each functions in the sales funnel is key to understanding how the entire process works to nurture and move customers to a sale and beyond. Sales needs to understand today’s consumer demands for information and how that gets fed, and Marketing needs to understand what exactly happens on a sales call.

Determine the metrics. With today’s analytics and data mining capabilities, metrics are easy to use to gauge performance on both ends of the sales funnel. Sales and Marketing should sit down as one team and determine what metrics to measure to follow customers through the sales funnel. Terms such as “sales qualified lead” should be jointly determined so there is no ambiguity in verbiage.

Automate communication channels. Make sure that your systems “talk” to each other. Marketing needs to see where a lead goes when they hand it off to Sales, and Sales needs to see what’s been done up to the point of their receiving a lead. With the greater picture in focus, changes in processes can happen in real time, leading to better information and more targeted efforts. Feedback from both Sales and Marketing should be built into the system so that each can see how the other is affected throughout the sales funnel.

Management should coach Sales and Marketing like a sports team. Each has a function that is key to winning and retaining the client. When the ball is handed off from one element to the next, the transition must be smooth and effective. Motivate personnel to see how their part on the team fits into the bigger picture. Make sure Sales and Marketing personnel know how to work and play together. Go out for a beer together. Mix it up. Nothing is more effective than a well-coached sports team.

Education is key. Cross train your Marketing and Sales teams. Have Marketing personnel attend sales training courses to understand the process, and have Sales personnel attend marketing training on how to set up an email nurturing series, for example. And make sure both sides get together regularly to exchange ideas and feedback.

The Aberdeen Group found “Highly aligned (sales and marketing) organisations achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth – while less well-aligned companies reported an average 7% decline in revenue.”

Where would you like to be positioned in 2015?

Natural Training can help you arrange training sessions for both your Marketing and Sales personnel to build your team into a powerhouse of customer-driven experts.

Call one of our experts today to discuss your training needs.

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