A good relationship between sales and marketing is extremely important, and collaboration between the two is key to driving success. While this is generally known by both departments, it is not uncommon to find large gaps between the two. In order for sales and marketing to optimize their relationship, they need to be well aligned every step of the way. To make this happen, the two departments need to form a strategic partnership which is completely in tune to each other’s goals and operational practices.
Below are four ways marketing professionals can better align with sales and take the sales and marketing relationship to the next level:
1. Understand the pipeline as defined by your sales team. While this may seem obvious, there are many marketing professionals that understand the general pipeline, but when it comes down to it, are not familiar with how it is broken out and defined by their sales organization.
It is important for marketing professionals to take the time to meet with sales executives and dive deep into how they define the pipeline, understand what qualifies a lead to be a part of each phase, formalize what phases, if any, marketing is responsible for and identify ways marketing can help nudge leads further down the funnel.
2. Get involved in sales meetings/calls. Truly understanding the sales process in an organization and being aware of what the sales team is doing to close deals is extremely important. Participating, or even just listening in on, the regularly scheduled sales interactions allows marketing professionals to understand what is working in the sales process and what is not, gain insight into areas where marketing can help to improve the process, and ultimately, provides an opportunity to collect valuable nuggets that can help in the continuous improvement of future marketing efforts and messaging.
3. Provide sales with regular updates. The more involved the sales team is with marketing efforts and campaigns, including the results these efforts are delivering, the more likely they are to support the programs and realize the true value that marketing brings to the table. Additionally, the more informed a sales professional is of upcoming marketing programs and the audiences that they are targeting, the more likely they are to personally promote these programs and help contribute to their success.
An easy way for marketing professionals to keep the sales team informed is to create and send a high-level report that highlights key initiatives and their results. It is important to keep these reports short and to the point, as sales professionals are busy, and typically do not have the time to read lengthy updates.
4. Solicit feedback from sales. The sales team is often at the center of many marketing campaigns and activities, yet there are many times in which they fail to provide feedback to marketing on their programs. To avoid missing out on key information, which will undoubtedly help improve marketing efforts, marketing professionals should make it a habit to consistently solicit feedback. In order to encourage all types of feedback and regular updates, it is crucial to remain open, and take both positive and negative feedback in stride.
Aligning for Success
The more aligned sales and marketing are, the better they will perform. Because of this, it is important that marketing professionals take the steps necessary to build a close relationship and continue to work to grow it over time.
Following these four steps will create a foundation for working together and help in the formation of a partnership between the two departments. The more the relationship is nurtured over time, the stronger the alignment will become, leading to more efficient operations and better results.
Looking to better align your sales and marketing organizations? Launch Marketing can help. Contact us today to see how our marketing professionals can bridge the gap.
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