Sales and Marketing typically have it out for each other, but working together is best thing that can happen to them.
Over the past few years, closing leads has become harder for most businesses. In the past, customers used to rely on information provided by businesses to make a buying decision. Today, customers have easy access to independent information about a business and its products.
There is a lot of content produced today. Potential customers are searching online and checking social media networks for information about your company, product and brand. Since customers already have information on what they want to buy, B2B sales and marketing teams need to work harder than before to close leads.
However, across most organizations, there is an unending turf war between sales and marketing teams. While the two teams are supposed to be working together, they are always at loggerheads when it comes to leads
Marketing often blames sales for not following up on leads they pass to them. On the other hand, sales blames marketing for passing unqualified leads. According to a research by Aberdeen, this disconnect between sales and marketing results to revenue declines of about 4%.
To stay on course to achieving your revenue objectives, you need to sort out any contention that may be making sales and marketing not perform optimally. Aligning your sales strategy with marketing can help close more qualified leads to customers.
How to Align Sales and Marketing For Better Lead Closing
The roles that sales and marketing play in your company depend on how you choose to structure and manage their functions. To ensure sales growth, there are a number of strategies you can implement to align your sales and marketing.
Work on Terminology
Sales and marketing should have the same definition for qualified leads. To marketing, a lead may be someone who simply interacts with your company. However, such leads are usually difficult to close since their intention is not known and they have not been pre-qualified.
You need to define who a lead is. For example, are visitors considered leads on their first interaction with your company or do they first have to take a specific action, e.g. download an eBook?
Establish Individual and Shared Goals
Establishing individual and shared goals can bind marketing and sales together to pull the business in one direction. For example, marketing can be tasked with generating a certain number of leads over a certain sales cycle. From there, sales can be tasked with converting a certain percentage of the leads generated.
You can provide incentives to the two teams if they reach their individual and shared goals. Providing incentives for shared goals will motivate the teams to work together for the benefit of the organization. Marketing can provide more information on the buying stages that the leads they are passing over are in, hence helping sales to close more effectively.
Set Up Closed Loop Reporting
Sales and marketing teams should work together to see a return on investment through lead closing. Having a closed loop reporting will help to prevent duplicate leads being sent to sales. This in turn saves time and resources.
There should be bi-directional sharing of information between the two teams. Before marketing sends leads, it should warm them up first. This can be done by providing different types of content to the leads over a specific period.
On the other hand, sales can optimize their process and determine what is working and what is not. This information should be shared with marketing to help them tailor their content to generate more qualified leads.
Organize Around the Customer, not Function
All activities that sales and marketing teams do should be geared towards the customer. Most of the time, businesses find themselves focusing on their offerings rather than the customer.
There are various ways through which you can organize your business around the customer. For example, you can create customer groups instead of product groups. This will put sales and marketing teams together in the goal of serving segments of customers.
You can categorize your customers based on their interests and where they are on the sales funnel. The sales and marketing teams can then be assigned to deal with the customers on different levels. For example, leads that are just getting at the top of your sales funnel will be better nurtured by marketing through targeted content. On the other hand, leads at the bottom of the funnel will be better closed by sales.
Moving beyond the traditional functions of sales and marketing departments can be difficult for any company. However, if you rely on a sales team to close customers, you need to manage your sales and marketing tactics to align with your objectives of closing leads. Doing so will promote a healthier work culture among sales and marketing and also improve your business bottom line.