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Inbound Marketing Blog

    4 Tips for Successfully Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Teams

    Posted by Brittney Ervin

    Getting Familiar with Smarketing…and Why It’s Important

    It’s an old business world trope that you’re probably familiar with: the sales team thinks the marketing team is flighty and irrelevant; the marketing team thinks the sales team is lazy and simplistic. As a result, cohesion between the two teams’ strategies can seem impossible, and inner office struggles abound.

    With the rise of inbound marketing, however, the necessity of effectively aligning your sales and marketing departments has never been greater, nor has it carried more benefits. When it comes to lead generation and lead nurturing, having a united front on the sales and marketing planes can be the difference between success and failure.

    In fact, smarketing, the practice of aligning your sales and marketing team, can yield your company up to a 20% increase in annual revenue growth. With so much to gain, making the decision to integrate sales and marketing is a no-brainer.

    But how do you successfully orchestrate this integration within your company?

    We’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started.

    Align Goals

    Before you can get your sales and marketing teams to work cohesively, you’ll need to align their mutual goals.

    The easiest place to start in regard to mutual goals is the financial goal: each team’s goal is to increase the company’s revenue. As you both agree that this is your mutual goal, you can begin to build towards aligning additional goals within the smarketing process.

    For instance, the idea of smarketing has no chance of success if the marketing team is pursuing a different buyer persona than the sales team. You must align your buyer persona so that one team’s efforts feed clearly and easily into the other’s; decide on a uniform buyer persona that both the sales and marketing teams thoroughly understand. Update the persona regularly, and hold regular meetings with the sales and marketing teams to ensure that there is a mutual understanding of the buyer persona at each stage.  

    Have Frequent Meetings

    It is absolutely imperative that you get your sales and marketing teams thoroughly familiar with one another before you attempt effective alignment. Not only are you likely to encounter different philosophies in regards to use of time and styles of approach, you might have to educate each department on exactly what the other does.

    Holding frequent meetings, especially at the beginning of your smarketing efforts, will help each team get familiar with the other and provide platforms for open communication, debate of ideas and creation of resolutions. With open communication comes greater comfort in expressing honest opinions and working towards a well-spelled-out common goal.

    Hold Each Other Accountable

    Inevitably, there are going to be instances when one team simply doesn’t understand the other team, whether it’s an idea, a strategy or a goal. When it comes to discrepancies in opinion, you should always have data to back up your claims or to bolster your proposal.

    For instance, if the sales team thinks the leads being generated by the marketing team’s efforts are low quality leads, they’ll need to present cold, hard data to back up those claims. Presented with such data, the marketing team will have no choice but to acknowledge the misstep and take immediate action to find more qualified leads.

    Similarly, the marketing team should hold the sales team accountable when highly qualified leads aren’t being pursued correctly. Having data on hand to visually explain your opinion will always be more effective than verbal expression alone.

    Institute Closed-Loop Reporting

    One of the most important steps to take in your smarketing efforts is to institute what is known as Closed-Loop Reporting. In closed-loop reporting, the sales team reports the outcome of leads that they have pursued and whether or not they were able to close the leads. With this valuable information, the marketing team is able to see where their most qualified leads are coming from.

    There are, in fact, multiple benefits of closed-loop reporting, for both the sales and marketing teams.

    Closed-Loop Reporting Helps Marketing Teams by:

    • By providing them with up-to-date contact info and status updates
    • Increasing Marketing Return-On-Investment
    • Providing insight into which programs are working, and which are not

    Closed-Loop Reporting Helps Sales Teams by:

    • Prioritizing Leads
    • Increasing the likelihood of successful calls
    • Increasing Sales Team Close Rate

    Closed-loop reporting is among the most effective practices for smarketing teams. Both the sales and marketing teams benefit from the communication, and the accountability of the data keeps both teams moving toward a common goal.

    Integrating your sales and marketing teams is a smart move, one which can yield multiple benefits for the financial health of your company and the happiness of your customers. With open communication, careful collection of data and aligning each team’s goals, you can be well on your way to the wonderful (and lucrative) world of smarketing. 

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    photo credit: Smarketing per la descrescita via photopin cc

    Topics: Inbound Marketing