For the past 20 years, I have journeyed into the lairs of countless marketers. From small startups to national corporations, what has shocked me the most is the lack of unity and communication between the sales and marketing departments.
When I first visit a marketing department, I ask its team members to describe their buyer profile as well as their customer’s interests, demographics, and pain points. More often than not, the picture feels incomplete and impersonal—the marketing team seems to have a limited understanding of its target audience.
To get to the bottom of the issue, I check in with the sales team. I frequently discover that the sales department’s target buyer is a completely different creature from the one I heard about in marketing. The two teams are speaking different languages and wasting huge opportunities. I can only imagine the amount of money and resources that companies have wasted by marketing to the wrong people.
Salespeople and marketers aren’t blind to this disconnect. According to LinkedIn, 58% of sales and marketing professionals report that collaboration delivers improved customer retention. What’s more, 54% stated that aligning had a positive contribution to financial performance.
I don’t blame either department for this problem. The two entities traditionally have spent years working in their respective silos. With such a drastic change in consumer behavior, however, it is more important than ever to take a personalized approach to marketing.
4 Ways to Reunite Sales and Marketing for Good
In a united company, true teamwork is baked into systems, processes, and goals. The sales department has an intimate knowledge of customers, and the marketing department can turn that data into stories. When these two teams share goals and work in communion, companies are able to attract more—and better—opportunities.
Here are four steps to better use both departments’ talents and optimize the resources that feed into both:
1. Make sure both departments collaborate on buyer profiles
I’m betting that each department has the information the other is missing. Marketers might have more research on anticipated buyer behavior, but salespeople are on the ground, talking with prospects and hearing their concerns.
A buyer profile should be a detailed, in-depth representation of your target customers’ preferences and behavior as they research and interact with your business. To get the best picture of who you need to target, have sales and marketing work together to build buyer personas. You might have your marketing team come up with a list of the traits, information, and values they wish they knew about their customers. Meanwhile, have your salespeople call your top customers and interview them to learn more about their motivations, pain points, and researching behaviors. If sales and marketing can combine their skills and insights in answering these questions, they’ll be able to create content based on the needs of their target audiences. This approach will help marketing know where to spend time, money, and attention for prospective clients, and it will allow the sales team to know prospects better throughout the sales cycle.
2. Schedule regular joint meetings
Sales and marketing teams are busy. If they never take the time to talk, though, they will always suffer from a disconnect. Solve this problem by arranging regular meetups with a shared agenda to help everyone get on the same page.
I suggest having your department heads prioritize this as a monthly meeting. The goal is for both teams to leave the meeting with renewed collective energy. Use this time to motivate both teams while boosting cohesion and team morale.
This meeting provides a chance to determine how sales and marketing teams can continue to work together. Ask plenty of questions: “What kind of information should be shared?” “Which channels should we use to share that information?” “What does a ‘qualified lead’ mean for Project A? For Project B?” This meeting also provides an opportunity to walk through ongoing sales or to brainstorm content ideas that would ease the process.
3. Give teams the tools to talk to each other
Sales and marketing should have shared tools to track the success of campaigns, follow up with automation, identify lead scoring, and keep each other updated on various progress.
Once both teams are effectively using these tools, they naturally will start to speak the same language of data. With your teams on the same page, you can share these insights through weekly updates sent through your email marketing platform and track how everyone is interacting with the email impressions.
There are multiple tools you can choose, but here are two must-haves:
- Analytics tools—Make sure your websites are hooked up and generating insights that are valuable to your sales and marketing teams.
- A good CRM system—Connect both departments through a common CRM that enables both teams to see the progress of leads, common objections, and profiles of successful sales.
4. After every sale, review the process as a team
The post-sale buzz is a crucial time for sales and marketing teams to stay connected; it’s the perfect moment to learn about the successes and pain points of the process and to figure out how to repeat or alleviate them.
Make sure you have a defined, shared process that allows both departments to analyze the information they need to refine their strategies better. One post-sale process that can benefit both departments involves sending out surveys for customers to review.
Work together to communicate with customers about their experience with the sales process. Are they happy with the purchase? Was the buying process enjoyable? If it makes more sense for your sales team to call the customer to debrief about the sales cycle, that also works fine. When these customer insights come in, sales and marketing can both benefit by reviewing the information together.
It’s time to encourage sales and marketing to incorporate a modern sales enablement strategy to make their jobs easier and more enjoyable. When both teams work together, they can reach more qualified leads and stop wasting money on prospects that won’t follow through. Start speaking the same language, and your customers will begin to hear a unified story that they can believe in.