Sales and Marketing departments largely have the same goals - to get new clients, retain existing ones, increase revenue and grow business - yet often the 2 teams, especially in small businesses or startups, are hardly aligned in their processes, strategies, communication and sometimes even technology. In working for and consulting with businesses, scenarios such as both teams not being involved in weekly sales meetings, sales not following up on marketing qualified leads in a timely manner if at all, marketing staying in the dark about what happened to the leads they collected and sent, marketing not knowing critical information regarding current clients, pricing, sales goals etc. are unfortunately all too common.
So What impact does misaligned teams have on business?
According to Linked In, in the US alone sales and marketing wastes 1 trillion dollars per year due to lack of coordination between the 2 teams. Of course this isn’t helpful for any business.
Why align sales and marketing teams?
Scale effectively - As you scale your ecommerce tech solutions business, team alignment is critical to your success. Positive and open communication between both teams can help come up with ideas and strategies for new and better lead generation as well as customer acquisition tactics leading to business growth. Also, when smaller teams become bigger teams, processes that were once worked do not work as well such as - weekly or bi-weekly 1-2-1 sales meetings etc.
Close more deals - Gone are the days when sales used to be the only channel organizational buyers looked to when making an ecommerce technology decision. According to Gartner, 61% of buyers spend time reviewing websites and relying on current users as well as peers before making a technology purchase. They spend 27% of their time researching online independently and only 17% of time meeting with suppliers. Which means if you solely relied on sales reps and outreach, you will be lagging behind on your revenue targets and goals. You need to be visible online in front of your right target audience, interacting and engaging with them so they turn into leads and then become your customers. For this you need both sales and marketing teams to be closely working together.
Increase your revenue - Sales and marketing team alignment impacts annual revenue. By working in collaboration rather than in silos, by defining and seeing their customers through the same lens, by being incentivized by the same goals, unified teams can provide better customer experiences leading to improved brand awareness, higher conversion rates and increased customer retention. And there are numbers to prove it. According to Marketing Profs -
36% higher customer retention rates
38% higher sales win rates
24% faster three year revenue growth
20% annual growth rate (as per Aberdeen group)
How can you collaborate and align both the teams ?
While total alignment where both teams are in complete lockstep maybe challenging to attain, implementing certain tactics that will help increase coordination can certainly be done.
Set the right culture - The basis of a collaborative relationship entails trust, open communication, understanding and mutual respect. And this is a pretty good place to start where the founders, executives and team members understand the importance of working together and unified as opposed to in parallel. Sales must have confidence in the abilities of marketing and vice versa. And this can be achieved via regular meetings between team members, brainstorming sessions, attending trade shows and virtual events together.
Understand your buyers - Often marketing is busy in customer attraction and conversion activities online and sales in sales outreach, networking etc. Instead of working in tandem, both are really just targeting different buyers with their own set of criteria and goals. Establishing an understanding of who the buyers are, what their goals and objectives are, will help both teams focus their energies on taking a more honed in and helpful approach that ultimately helps buyers move along their purchase path. It also helps the company create and deliver better customer experiences.
Streamline processes - Typically marketing will qualify leads and pass it along to the sales team to further qualify, nurture and convert. Is the lead receiving process within your sales team defined? Who receives the lead? How does it get distributed and followed up on? Does anyone get back to marketing about them? Also your marketing spends a lot of time on defining buyer’s personas, who they are, what is important to them, their objectives, goals so on and so forth. This information is not just valuable to them but to sales as well. Does your sales team have access to this information? Streamlining processes like these will help you lay a strong foundation for alignment.
Share critical information - Often marketing team members learn about the product (ecommerce solution whether it is a platform or mobile app) from the product and engineering teams. Not typically from the sales team. Having their perspective via product demos, conversations etc. will be valuable for the marketing team. Same way, what campaigns and offers marketing team is working on will give sales additional information to include as they converse with prospects and customers.
Enable your sales team - According to Hubspot, 35%-50% sales goes to businesses that respond quickly. And buyer’s are likely to buy from suppliers that simplify their purchase decision making. Is your sales team sending out the right content to help them through their journey? Are they responding fast enough? According to Kapost, 65% of sales reps cannot find content to send to their prospects. There is no reason for this to happen really if your 2 teams are coordinated. Your sales team doesn’t have to create content, they can focus on selling, while your marketing team can work on building relevant sales enablement content and storing it digitally in such a way that is easily accessible to your sales. Some examples are blog posts, videos, case studies, white papers etc.
Share your goals, outcomes, successes and failures - sales and marketing are intertwined and integral teams of your organization. More they come together the better the outcomes. What KPIs can they share together? Can they meet monthly to regularly discuss their performance on leads and conversions? The idea being to learn, grow and even celebrate what they accomplish together.
Sales and Marketing teams are typically at odds with each other but divided teams are not an asset for any business and only result in wasted resources and budgets. Collaboration and bringing them to align on the other hand can lead to higher conversion rates and a win long term for your company.