It couldn’t be more clear: when sales and marketing teams are aligned, businesses grow. However, 1 in 10 sales professionals feel that marketing doesn’t support the sales function in their business at all.
In this article we’re going to take a look at 10 must-use strategies that can help to align your sales and marketing teams.
1. Speak the same language
One of the first steps towards aligning your sales and marketing teams should be to ensure they are speaking the same language when it comes to leads.
After all, both teams will be speaking to leads (just at different points in the buyer journey) so it’s important that when marketing passes a lead on to sales, the path that the lead has started down continues seamlessly.
To start speaking the same language, both teams should get together and create a list of agreed terminology that includes common terms and definitions for those terms.
For example, what would your teams class as a ‘lead’, and what would they class as a ‘prospect’? Similarly, what defines an MQL and an SQL for your business?
It may sound simple, but an exercise like this can really help to improve communication and clear up any unnecessary confusion between departments.
You could even go further with this and create a Service Level Agreement (also known as an SLA) between your marketing and sales teams. Your sales team will probably be very familiar with creating these anyway!
Typically, an SLA is used to outline what is expected both from a service provider and a service user. But it could easily be adapted to reflect what your marketing and sales teams expect from one another.
This means both teams are on the same page when it comes to their roles. If one of the core metrics slips then it should be clear how this will affect both teams because it’s been written up and defined in advance.
2. Create shared goals
One of the biggest mistakes of misaligned sales and marketing teams is that they focus on different goals.
Without alignment, your sales team could be really pushing product A, while your marketing team is creating a big batch of content about product B – this is confusing for prospects and customers and frustrating for your teams.
Smarketing teams, on the other hand, work together on shared goals.
An example of a sales and marketing alignment goal could be: A target of X amount of revenue for product X by the end of this quarter.
A goal like this, with clear and measurable targets, means that sales and marketing have to work together to drive new leads and sell to customers. And because both teams have ownership over the target, they’re more likely to work together to get the job done!
Once you’ve established your goal, it’s important for both teams to meet and decide how they can best tackle it.
These shared goals should also be monitored and regularly reviewed so that you can see how successful your campaigns have been – and so that both your sales and marketing teams can celebrate this success together!
3. Improve communication
Above, we touched on the importance of creating shared terminology so that both your sales and marketing teams are speaking the same language. But there are other ways that communication can be improved, too!
By creating a team email address, you can speed up communication and give your teams a way to contact each other directly:
You can also speed up communication even more by using an instant messaging platform, like Slack.
With Slack you can create channels (which is similar to a team email) in order to easily have group conversations and collaborate together.
Within Slack, simply hit the plus button next to ‘Channels’ and select ‘Create a channel’:
From there, all you need to do is give your channel a name and a description and you can start adding members. You can also make the channel private so that only the members of your sales and marketing team have access:
4. Agree on what makes a good lead
This is a HUGE sore point for sales and marketing teams that aren’t aligned.
According to a Hubspot survey, 52% of marketers say they are providing sales with their best quality leads, while salespeople rank marketing-sourced leads last.
In fact, only 7% of salespeople actually said that the leads they receive from marketing are high quality.
Agreeing on what actually qualifies as a good lead is a great step towards sales and marketing alignment.
Lead scoring can help with this. This is the process of scoring leads in order to determine how valuable they are.
There are many attributes you could measure to determine a lead’s score. For example, the amount of interest they’ve already shown in your business or how they’ve engaged with your content.
All companies score their leads differently. Here at Wyzowl, we rank our leads on a score of 1-6, with 1 being the worst (either spam or people asking for services we don’t provide) and 6 being the best (we have their contact details and they expressed clear interest in purchasing a video).
We then use the reporting tools in Salesforce to analyse our data. Here’s an example of what an average lead quality per month chart would look like:
This data helps us to access the quality of leads from our marketing content. We know that if we get a spike in low-quality leads then we need to look at making changes to our content.
Similarly, if we get a spike in high-quality leads we can take a look at what marketing is doing and try to emulate that success again and again!
5. Create sales enablement content
Sales enablement content is content that enables sales to do what they do best – sell!
There’s an argument to be had that all content is sales enablement content. But we’re not just talking about the top of the funnel stuff that attracts new potential leads.
Sales enablement content should be used at every touchpoint a salesperson has with a lead in order to move them further along the funnel.
And it can even be used after a sale has gone through, to support existing customers and maybe even upsell to them!
Here’s an example of a video that could be used as a sales enablement tool:
This video by Capital on Tap covers the sales pitch and exactly how new customers can use the product in less than 60 seconds.
This is a great way to engage new leads because videos can be viewed at any time that is convenient to them, unlike phone calls that demand all of their attention for a specific time.
Videos are also a great sales tool because people enjoy watching them. In fact, our 2020 survey found that 66% of people would prefer to watch a short video to learn about a product or service, while only 2% would prefer a sales call.
Video is also a versatile medium. You can use video to explain your product or service in more detail, like in the above example. Or you could use it to answer commonly asked sales questions, or even to send customers a message of support at the end of the buyer journey – encouraging them to consider your company for future work.
According to our recent survey of sales professionals, 89% believe their business would benefit from using more video in the sales process.
6. Confer on content
While marketers have their buyer personas to work from, salespeople are speaking to real customers every day. The insights they could share with the marketing team on this are invaluable.
For better alignment, sales and marketing teams should meet regularly to discuss the content that is being created.
The sales team can let the marketing team know what excites customers the most, and also what they don’t like.
If this feedback can be shared in a constructive way, marketers could use this knowledge to create content that will attract better leads, leading to more sales.
This doesn’t always need to be done retrospectively either. Marketers could send the sales team first drafts of their content to get their initial thoughts on it before they push it out to the world.
7. Focus on the entire funnel
For marketers, it can be easy to just focus on getting people through the door. But, as previously mentioned when talking about sales enablement, sales could really use some great content for nurturing leads/customers at all stages.
It would be amazing if every lead that came to sales was ready to purchase, but that’s not the reality. A lot of leads need to be nurtured through the sales funnel, and awesome content (created by your marketers!) can really assist with this.
For leads that are stuck in the middle of the funnel, content that pushes the social proof of your product or service – such as case studies, video testimonials, and even tutorials – can really help nudge them along.
Here’s an example of a testimonial video that features one of our clients, Configit:
This testimonial helps to sell our product because it discusses the real experiences and benefits of a previous customer. Other customers are likely to see themselves in this and could be encouraged to convert.
For leads stuck at the bottom of the funnel, your teams could work together to create a special offer that would work as a final push towards the finish line. A coupon code or free trial, for example.
8. Attend work events together
If your sales team often attends conferences, trade shows, and networking events – why not ask them to take some marketers along for the ride?
Not only will this give the marketing team more insight into what it takes to get leads face-to-face, and how their content is being used at events, it also allows both teams to spend time together in a setting other than the office.
If you’re not currently attending any events then have a quick search online for some local ones that could help your sales and marketing departments align, while also bringing in more leads for your business.
9. Attend non-work events together
In attention to attending work events together, your teams would also benefit from spending some social time together. Whether this is an inter-departmental lunch or a full day event, allowing your teams to spend time together in a non-work environment will help them to get to know each other better.
This is important for building friendships between sales and marketing teams. And teams that like each other tend to work better together!
So, if your sales and marketing teams recently bagged a lot of new business, why not treat them to a fun event to celebrate their success together?
10. Meet regularly
In addition to spending time together outside the office, your sales and marketing teams should also have regular meet-ups. This will help them to stay aligned on their shared goals and ensure that their efforts to increase leads and sales are moving in the right direction.
We all know how difficult it is to suggest adding yet another weekly meeting into the fold, but you wouldn’t necessarily need to do that here.
Instead, your marketers could join in your sales meetings, to get a feel for targets and what the pipeline looks like at the minute.
And your sales team could attend marketing meetings, to learn about what new content is coming up and how that will impact the leads they’re getting.
Ultimately, sales and marketing alignment (or Smarketing) is all about ensuring both teams feel accountable for each other’s success.
When you have a sales and marketing team that work together – and enjoy working together – there’s no stopping your business!
A great place to start is by making a sales video. A video project can bring both your sales and marketing team together to work on something fun and beneficial to your business. Click here to find out more.