One of the key elements of any successful relationship is communication — and that happens to be a huge factor in successful sales and marketing interactions, too. Though you’d think that the benefits of cross-team collaboration would be obvious, sales reps and marketers can easily fall out of alignment, leading to clashes that undermine collaboration and impact both teams’ success.
In this post, we’ll review how to ease the tension between sales and marketing by creating an open line of communication, increasing visibility, and aligning sales and marketing goals to improve the effectiveness of both departments, making it easier to increase leads and close sales.
Why You’re Likely Still Frenemies
Sales and marketing usually want to be friends. But because sales and marketing teams generally operate as separate functions, there can be a disconnect between departments that often leads to distrust. Sound familiar? When there’s a breakdown in communication, we often hear comments like, “Marketing isn’t producing the content my buyers need,” from sales reps, or “Our sellers are using outdated content and always asking for customizations,” from marketers. When you aren’t communicating effectively and don’t have visibility into your content’s effectiveness, the tension between departments can grow exponentially.
Beyond causing tension between teams, poorly defined or misaligned sales and marketing strategies can also produce disastrous and costly downstream effects. According to a recent report from Marketo, misalignment between sales and marketing costs companies $1 trillion dollars annually.
Don’t throw money down the drain — ensure that your departments are on the same page by establishing clear goals and holding regular meetings to communicate progress and review and your strategy. When there isn’t a communication cadence in place between sales and marketing, a lot can get lost in translation. It’s essential to ensure everyone is informed by establishing sales and marketing communication on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis.
How Communication Can Squash the Tension
If you’re starting to recognize the benefits of sales and marketing alignment, you’re not alone. In a recent State of Sales Enablement 2018 report, more than 80% of marketers and 70% of sales reps ranked “strong alignment between sales and marketing” as an important factor in their company’s and team’s success.
When sales and marketing alignment is successful, organizations often have a stronger understanding of their buyers’ needs. When there is synergy between the two groups, it’s much easier to identify prospective customers’ wants and needs and create more accurate buyer personas. It helps both sales reps and marketers understand what is most likely to influence buyers at various stages in the buying journey and gain a clear view of the customer lifecycle from engagement to agreement. These improvements boost buyer satisfaction, too — and when buyers are happy, cross-team interactions stay positive, creating a virtuous cycle.
When sales reps and marketers communicate effectively, the benefits are vast and measurable. Organizations with strong communication enjoy increased sales, higher customer retention rates, shorter buying cycles, increased hot leads, and higher sales win rates among many other benefits.
Increase Visibility to Determine What’s Working and What’s Not
In order to ease sales and marketing tension, you need to bring stakeholders together to identify pain points.
One of the top pain points for marketers is often a lack of visibility into what content is working and what isn’t. Bringing your teams together enables sales reps to share what messaging and marketing assets are working in the field, empowering marketers to create more focused content that they know will generate interest and revenue. Companies that use a single content management system (CMS) with sales enablement and analytics capabilities can also use these tools to track what content is working and get a holistic understanding of the customer lifecycle. This means that sales can incorporate new ideas into customer conversations and translate sales data into marketing insights, and marketing insights into higher-performing activities throughout the sales process.
Sellers often list weak sales enablement strategy as a top pain point — and this is where marketers can play a big role. Working on implementing sales enablement creates cross-team collaboration and builds trust between departments by showing a willingness to adapt, improve, and hold your team accountable. Sales enablement allows you to tailor content marketing strategies that address specific points in the buyer’s journey. A thorough review of where you’re over- and under-invested is essential and quickly attainable via modern sales enablement capabilities. This is the gateway to higher content ROI.
Use Sales and Marketing Tools to Reach Your Goals for Higher Revenue
Marketing and sales analytics tools like InsightSquared provide real-time intelligence and visibility on sales and marketing KPIs. Teams can rely on solutions like this to make highly informed, data-driven decisions, and become their single source of truth. Marketing can answer questions like “What demand generated by marketing is sales following up on and ultimately being converted to revenue?” Or “How can we justify our marketing spend to impact the bottom line?” On the flip side, sales can better manage the leads and pipeline that is generated and forecast more accurately with this data. Tools like this help erase the lines between marketing and sales, which in turn gets the business closer to the ultimate goal: revenue growth.
Sales enablement and CMS tools like Highspot also provide capabilities to empower sellers to find the latest and greatest content and customize their own presentations — within reason. These tools give sellers the power to customize or create content while staying within the brand guidelines that marketers establish and manage. This makes it quick and easy for sellers to add up-to-date, compliant content to the system to pitch and track success.
At the end of the day, the only way you’re going to increase sales and revenue is if you can connect with your prospects in a way that makes them want to do business with you. By working together to ease the tension between departments and opening the doors for regular communication, marketers and sellers will gain a stronger understanding of what prospects care about at each stage of the buyer’s journey, providing them with the knowledge they need to engage buyers and close deals successfully.
Kara Tiernan is a content strategist at Highspot, the sales enablement industry’s leading solution for content management, customer engagement, and analytics.