There’s a long-standing cliché about sales and marketing being at each other’s throats all the time. It’s a cliché for a reason – it exists. I experienced it in most companies I’ve worked in, to some degree.
If there was ever a time for these departments to hug it out – now would be it.
Pre-Covid there were mounting reasons for sales and marketing to come together, drivers including technology – such as marketing automation platforms and easy access to data: when used smartly can fuel the most powerful marketing derived from sales sharing ‘real people’s’ problems – and their opportunities.
But for some reason there were still riffs. Dinner-time squabbles over low quality leads and blows thrown over lack of follow-up and campaign engagement…enough to drive leadership to drink from sheer frustration that the ‘kids’ just couldn’t bloody work it out.
So brothers and sisters of revenue generation – you’ve gotta band together now people. You were crazy not to be mates before and right now, you’d be bordering on insane.
“When sales and marketing teams work together, companies see 36 percent higher customer retention and 38 percent higher sales win rates”. Hubspot
Get aligned if not only for the sake of the customer. But how? How do we drop the schoolyard biffo and move forward?
Here are a few suggestions on how to play together nicely:
- Use respective data sets to drive harder to the end goal – conversions.
You both have data coming in. Marketing data – such as click through rates, content engagement, lead sources, social monitoring and sales data; such as honest customer feedback, objections to products or brand, and deep qualitative conversations – especially about how things have changed for people right now. What NEW triggers, pain, and opportunities do people have?
Combine the two and you’ll have a powerhouse of insight that can be quickly and cheaply (or even freely) turned into great marketing and better conversations.
- Build a brand of thought leadership TOGETHER.
Sales – listen up, if you’re good at what you do, you’ll be you’re privileged to hear the true pain and problems that people are experiencing. So go grab a ‘virtual’ coffee with your fave marketer and share that shit! And do it regularly. Any themes that emerge can form the basis of thought leadership posts, advisory articles, webinars and content. And… you’ll both be 100% confident that your market will find them of valuable.
- Everyone expects a deal right now including your CEO…
Discuss what you’re seeing out there with similar products / brands to your own. Marketing’s research and creativity and sales working at the coalface of the market – can shape the the perfect piece of goodwill or value-add offer for your business and a plan to communicate it. And remember sales – marketing are doing it pretty hard right now with reduced or zeroed budgets and constant pressure to ‘do more with less’. Their budgets are generally the first to go – so your understanding and communication right now is like a nice warm milo for a marketer.
- Technology and process – the big kahuna.
You crazy kids love a good chat about technology and how it’s meant to drive process right? If you’re lucky enough to have a decent CRM or automation platform then don’t be dumb enough not to use it TOGETHER. Generally these systems have a patch for marketing and a patch for sales and they integrate pretty darn nicely.
Appoint a central owner for this system if you haven’t got one and take ownership of your patch. KPI’s, workflows, response times, data entry and reporting are baseline factors for success.
Any campaign marketing is running should be fully embraced by sales, flowed through the CRM and results discussed together to devise any adaptations or refinements to the campaign.
(If you’re even luckier again to have the support of a good agency – lean on them and get them to provide a neutral force of expectation and training across the teams.)
- And just on the topic of CRMs – Got an existing database?
Get out the microscope and speak to sales about where the hot buttons are. How are people behaving out there? What new triggers do your personas have? How are you meeting them with relevant info? And then put pressure on marketing to craft an EDM that doesn’t end up in the trash folder.
- Why not unite in a webinar?
Your customers need to learn how to integrate these departments as well! And if you guys crack it – run a combined webinar as to what works. I’ve seen a LOT of webinars advertised at the moment, but not many with a united sales and marketing team answering the tough Qs together….go for the gap.
- Go socialise together.
Share ideas on growing social networks. Get sales to use their confidence to create short videos and tips, tidy up everyone’s social profiles with interesting and succinct descriptions, and get feeding those front-line insights into marketing so they create stuff that actually resonates with people and helps you sales champions in the early buyer phases.
So there you go. No excuses now. No more squabbles. Turn your ears on, turn your empathy on – walk a day in your ‘sister’s’ shoes and go get ‘em tigers– TOGETHER.
Time to bury the hatchet.
Gemma Ede is the founder of Strut and Swagger Marketing