It’s probably stating the obvious to say that a well-aligned sales and marketing strategy will drive business success.
But although we all know it in theory, how many Sales and Marketing teams truly feel in alignment with each other? Do the marketing campaigns and materials in your firm give your Sales colleagues what they need to bring in new customers?
And conversely, do their strategies make the most of the financial promotions, thought leadership and sales support materials you’ve worked so hard to produce?
Clearly, it’s in the interests of both teams – and your business as a whole – to more encourage Sales and Marketing teams to work harmoniously. But how can you achieve this?
The key steps in aligning sales and marketing activity
1. Revisit your customer journey
How do customers and prospects interact with your business? Re-examining your customer journey is acknowledged as a key first step. A blog by superoffice.com has ‘create a single customer journey’ as the first item on its list of actions for aligning sales and marketing.
Similarly, an article by Gartner suggests that you should identify the ways customers go about making a change by gaining first-hand insight into common ‘change journeys’
All too often, Sales and Marketing teams approach customers in a totally disjointed way. Build an integrated approach to ensure that your customers see a cohesive picture of your organisation. Read more on this in our blog on how to better align your sales process with the customer journey.
2. Use personas as the basis of a unified sales and marketing strategy
Buying personas – sometimes called ‘customer’ or ‘marketing’ personas – identify core traits, interests and preferences among your key target audience. The Gartner article shares an example that profiles potential buyers according to their propensity to adopt new technologies.
If Sales and Marketing teams are to successfully align their approaches, you need to agree on the customers you’re targeting and the approaches that will work. Agreeing on your target market and taking a united approach to personas is vital. Read tips in our blog on What are marketing personas and how can they help you?
3. Create marketing materials that work for both teams
As well as getting onto the same page around target markets, you need to ensure that your financial promotions work as well for your Sales colleagues as they do for Marketing.
All too often, marketing materials are produced with little input from other parts of the business. Work with your Sales team: what do they really need to support their business development efforts? A co-ordinated approach will enable you to produce financial promotions that are valuable to your Sales colleagues – and importantly, will actually be used.
As a result, you will have quality content that Sales teams can use at every stage of the sales journey – content that genuinely helps them to engage potential customers and clients.
4. Develop success measures that both teams can buy into
Having an effectively-aligned sales and marketing approach requires that both sides have agreed KPIs. Typically, Marketing teams might measure engagement in order to identify their best-received content and continuously refine their strategy, or to provide metrics to underpin lead nurturing campaigns.
For your Sales colleagues it’s – unsurprisingly – all about the sale; building the client or customer relationship to the point that you can close the deal.
For a truly aligned sales and marketing approach, you need to develop performance indicators that are valuable and meaningful to both teams.
5. Consistency is key
Your customers see you as a single, unified business. They won’t always appreciate – or frankly, care about – your organisational structure. If you have different messages coming from different business teams, you will undermine your entire approach.
Ensuring consistency is therefore vital. Any financial promotions or customer communications coming out of your business need to give the same message. Our recent blog looked at how this consistency can be achieved between local and regional marketing – but the lessons can equally be applied to different teams.
A common cause of off-brand/off-message communications is difficulty in finding existing, compliant materials. Make sure your Sales team – and any others in your business – can easily access approved financial promotions and communications, and avoid the risk of teams ‘going rogue’ and issuing non-compliant or inconsistent content.
If this is something that sounds familiar, and might pose a barrier to sales and marketing alignment for you, our blogs on how to avoid recreating marketing assets and best practice digital asset management might be useful.
For teams that work separately and would welcome closer collaboration, our blogs on effective remote collaboration and how to make remote collaboration work in marketing will also be helpful reads.
Align sales and marketing for greater success
Hopefully these tips will help you, whether you are starting your journey to Sales and Marketing team alignment or are already well down the road. Trying to work effectively together can be a particular challenge if you are based in separate areas or offices – or of course, working from home as so many currently are.
Many Sales and Marketing teams have found that automated workflow solutions are helping them to collaborate more effectively on campaign management and the production of financial promotions.
Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.