There’s a disconnect. It’s happening somewhere between sales and marketing. Sales say they don’t have the right marketing tools and/or support they need to close leads. Marketing says sales aren’t adequately following up on the leads their efforts are generating. Worst case scenario? Both are working in isolation, unaware of what the other is doing like two ships passing in the night.
Whatever the case, it’s not doing your revenue any good and the problem(s) need to be addressed. How? Align your sales and marketing. What exactly does that mean? The two work together to target prospects, compel them to enter your sales funnel, guide them through that funnel by providing strong reasons for doing business with your company and retain customers by becoming indispensable to them.
Perhaps conventional wisdom or business practice says that marketing is the bait and sales reels in the fish, so to speak. However, as small business marketing experts, we are going to go against the tide, following the school of thought that marketing and sales should constantly work together, sharing their valuable insights in their fields and about their customers for better results. This! This is how the strongest customer relationships will mature and endure, thus increasing revenue and business growth.
And, this is how to align sales and marketing in 4 steps.
- Come together to create buyer personas and define leads.
When it comes to disconnected sales and marketing teams, one of the biggest issues is that both have a different idea of the perfect buyer and define leads differently. This, of course, leads to problems because the marketing team is “speaking to” prospects that the sales team does not see as qualified leads. The marketing team may set and hit an inbound marketing goal of X number of digital ad clicks, form submissions, landing page visits, downloads, etc. But, if the sales team doesn’t follow through with these “leads” and they go nowhere, then sales do not meet their quota.
Another possibility is that the prospect begins to form expectations of working with your company based on the marketing touchpoints. The sales team reaches out with a different message, confusing the buyer. In the end, the marketing team has no idea which buyer is suitable to move along the sales funnel, and the sales department fails to smoothly guide the buyer’s journey through an actual sale.
Time spent with these two departments coming together to create buyer personas and clearly define what constitutes as good leads will result in a higher quality of marketing messages and leads.
- Engage in lead nurturing campaigns throughout the customer journey.
It’s a rare occasion when a customer buys on first contact. Typically, it takes multiple touchpoints, which means that marketing’s job isn’t done as soon as a prospect enters the sales funnel, essentially handing the prospect over to the sales team. That means marketing must stay involved throughout the customer journey via ongoing lead nurturing campaigns to not only trigger a purchase, but also creates brand loyalty. Useful, high-quality content is one of the most effective ways to nurture your leads. Thus, it’s up to marketing to provide sales with content.
- Ensure two departments are working on the same team.
Sales and marketing teams must work on the same team in order to be effective. That means regular meetings and communication. Marketing is most effective when the messages speak to customer pain points and offer solutions. No one knows what those pain points are quite like the sales team does. After all, sales are out there every day talking to customers and prospects. Sales also can offer valuable feedback to marketing about how messages are being received, providing an opportunity to fine-tune the message.
- Hire a great digital marketing agency to help.
For small businesses, it can be difficult to align its sales and marketing teams for a variety of reasons, including fighting set past habits, onboarding new employees, quick growth, new products or services, shifts in what the competition is doing, being a startup company, to name a few.
It can be expensive and damaging to a company’s reputation to muddle through aligning sales and marketing teams. A much more cost-effective and simple solution is to outsource to a trusted marketing agency that has led clients through this process time and again.
EAG Advertising & Marketing has the experts to lead you through the steps above, whether working as your outsourced marketing team or alongside your internal staff. Ready to align your sales and marketing teams? Let’s talk.