I recently read a case study by SuperOffice that shared how it aligned its sales and marketing teams to increase revenue by 34 percent. That’s a similar number to what’s been reported over the past few years on this topic.
So why aren’t more businesses achieving comparable results?
Because the alignment effort needs to be more than regularly scheduled meetings between teams. It requires doing things differently across disciplines, including ones that can be uncomfortable.
Here are four successful practices for true believers in sales and marketing alignment:
If there’s a lack of lively discussion in joint team meetings, then everyone’s just playing nice. That’s a telling sign that there’s little value in those touchpoints.
Healthy teams can have debates, even spirited ones—because they understand the goals. It’s through exploring different points of view that you’ll find the best solutions. Unfortunately, it’s natural for people to either avoid conflict or go on the defensive and ignore others’ ideas.
If your meetings lack active conversations that dig deep into issues and needs, it’s time to change the environment to foster open and productive collaboration—even if it might get a little heated at times.
Tap into the brilliance of salespeople
I’ve had the good fortune to work with some phenomenal enterprise sales teams. My favorite trait is their ability to craft strong messages. It makes sense really. Their job is to stand in front of a customer’s leadership team and make the most compelling case possible for selecting the solutions they represent.
I think many seasoned B2B marketers would agree, and the best ones know how to partner with salespeople to formulate winning messages. Time is the reason why this doesn’t happen more often, but that’s not an excuse. The reality is that overburdened marketers end up having to develop messages without input from the sales team in order to meet deadlines. The downside is that salespeople then end up making their own messages because they don’t have faith in what they’ve been given.
The good news is that even in these situations, the sales team still finds ways to win—meaning they know how to influence customer decisions. Take a moment and think about how explosive business growth could be if you combine Sales’ frontline insights with Marketing’s creative genius.
Have more than just fun with the funnel
We all know about the shift from Sales to Marketing in who owns the majority of the sales funnel. The onus is now on marketers to move prospects further through the funnel than ever. It’s exciting and challenging, but leaves less time for sales enablement.
Regardless of how much more prospect education and qualification marketers manage today, there’s a critical point where Sales takes over the engagement. All the wonderful creative work in the top parts of the funnel is for naught if we don’t fully arm salespeople with the resources they need to secure the win. Simply put, sales enablement must always be stellar to maintain momentum and a consistent customer experience.
Be there to the end
The customer journey goes further than many marketers think. The final mile from lead handoff to closing the deal is often a missed opportunity to assist salespeople and sustain the brand experience. Sadly, we’ve seen poorly designed presentation decks and executive-level materials used to try and close eight- to nine-figure deals. It’s shocking that sales teams are often left to do what they can with the limited resources they’re given for the home stretch. They’ll still find success, but sales and marketing teams that partner to the finish line will find more.
In the end, it comes down to how important sales and marketing alignment is to you and your organization. Most will agree with the premise, but not all will take the necessary steps to increase sales. It’s a winning combination that’s not always easy at first, yet over time becomes more natural to facilitate, as well as more integral to an organization’s growth.
About Weber Associates
Weber Associates is a Columbus, OH-based consulting firm. Since 1985, we have blended the creativity of a marketing agency with the analytical rigor of a consultancy to help our clients solve real sales and marketing challenges so they can significantly grow revenues and customer loyalty.