Traditionally, with distinctive key performance indicators (KPIs), Sales and Marketing departments often have different goals and objectives, and thus separate strategies. Imagine having your Marketing team striving on website traffic to increase exposure and awareness, while your Sales team are maximising weekly sales by retaining and engaging existing consumers. Clearly, these goals and its consequent outcomes conflict one another.
Did you know that 65% of marketing content goes unused by sales? Marketing and Sales are primary functions of a business with both departments being equally critical and require a strong alignment in order to maximise efficiency. To avoid marketing and sales efforts failing, here are 5 ways to aid in achieving alignment in both Marketing and Sales (or SMarketing).
- Share Your Goals
To tackle misalignment, first and foremost it is important to recognise if marketing and sales are working towards the same goals and objectives. For example, if the marketing team’s objective is to increase brand awareness and credibility, while Sales is focused to maximising profits, there is a conflict of interest which can easily result in unwanted outcomes for both teams.
Although the sales and marketing team may not often work directly, it is of high importance that processes, resources, and best practices are shared from the start. With metrics and KPIs being a key indicator in measuring success, here are a few key metrics teams should measure and work towards:
- Conversion/Win Rate.
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
- Leads Generation.
- Lead-to-Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) %.
- Lead-to-Customer %.
- Average Deal Size.
A good smarketing strategy prioritises shared goals where both teams can identify, measure, and exchange beneficial data with the help of a common integrated approach.
- Centralise Communication
With similar objectives being worked towards, the next step is to ensure both teams work closely throughout the process to guarantee goals will be met.
Communication is key. Having regular meetings is the best way to stay connected while being an effective way to keep everyone up-to-date and avoiding misunderstandings and disagreements. While face-to-face meetings are optimal, it can be difficult while working from home or from distant locations. Alternatively, departments can hold brainstorming sessions, create team email alias, shared documents, or a consensus calendar.
Both marketers and salespeople are required to understand market dynamics, the company’s current position, and the utmost needs of their consumers. When teams exchange reports and analysis and agree on approaches to achieve the goals, completing said goals become achievable and strategies can co-depend on each team.
When it is time to execute these strategies, friction is almost inevitable. Many businesses operate in a culture where employees are afraid of standing up and criticise the process, due to fear of losing job security. Although confrontation might be uncomfortable, it is necessary for growth, therefore, leaders and managers should encourage constructive criticism and embrace pushbacks. Through this, new approaches and innovative methods are born.
- Align Marketing objectives to Sales
Marketing should always come first. Marketing is about creating awareness and educating customers. Without the presence of a well-developed marketing campaign, there would be little to no leads for the Sales team to ‘close the deal’.
As mentioned earlier, it is important to first align marketing objectives to sales. Marketing by nature is responsive and dynamic, whereby existing offerings can be modified, and new offerings can be created spontaneously. Therefore, it is important to produce efficient communication efforts with the Sales team about promotional activities, providing them with up-to-date and relevant knowledge about the products and services.
It is a linear process that requires consistency. If your company is expanding and there are many salespeople just starting, it is top priority to educate and train them comprehensively about the products or services that you aim to sell and how the consumer should be positioned.
- Sales Feedback Being Used for Marketing Insights
At the end of the day, the ultimate goal for the majority of companies is generating revenue. Sales is very important because it is the bottom-line. On one hand, Marketing provides consumers with research, insight, and education, while on the other hand, Sales provides validity, real-world market analysis, and insights on consumer behaviours.
There is a potential misalignment if Marketing outcomes are positive, but Sales outcomes are underperformed. This could mean that sales tactics are ineffective or that the sales team are potentially unqualified or simply not good enough. In a different light, it could also mean that Marketing objectives are not practical, leading to difficulties in converting leads to revenue.
To tackle this challenge, the utilisation of the feedback loop mechanism is a must. As the Sales department interacts directly with buyers, they are able to provide insights about consumer health and their unmet needs. Not only does this information heavily assist the Marketing department but is also important for further research and development. This continuous cycle helps companies develop better strategies, but more importantly develop better products and services. Afterall, marketing is about delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers and society at large.