Learn to align your sales and marketing teams

by Sarah Becker, Vice President 
and Joe Metts, Marketing & Digital Manager 
Charles Aris Inc.

Whether your organization is a consumer packaged goods (CPG) company, an industrial manufacturer of raw materials or somewhere in between, your business will not thrive without effective sales and marketing efforts. The world’s best organizations seamlessly align these two functions with leaders who understand the need for synergy, develop strong strategic alignment and prioritize the design and execution of the sales and marketing pipeline.

In your efforts to drive revenue, natural friction can occur between your sales and marketing teams. According to HubSpot, well-aligned teams are 67% more effective at closing deals and experience 36% higher customer retention rates.

In a world where both functions often operate independently, it’s the strategic alignment of the two teams which separates contenders from pretenders in the marketplace. Here are four keys to effective alignment of your sales and marketing teams and efforts:

  1. Set and communicate a strong company vision: Effective sales and marketing teams will be passionate about the growth of your organization. Establishing your “why” is a powerful tool in defining goals, aligning on process and minimizing conflict.
  2. Set both achievable goals and reach goals: Competition is nothing without a few wins, which is why it is first important to set the bar somewhere that’s realistic and achievable for your organization. If you have legitimate reasons to think you can achieve 50% growth this fiscal year, make that your goal – but don’t call that “achievable” if the data says otherwise. Secondly, ensure you set “reach goals” which help propel your team through its initial checkpoints. It can also be beneficial to reward your sales and marketing teams for going the extra mile when “reach goals” are accomplished. People are often motivated by visible rewards, so find what works for your team and put a rewards system in place. If sales and marketing have defined key performance indicators, both teams now have a finish line to run toward.
  3. Define who does what: When sales teams and marketing teams have too much crossover, both teams tend to work inefficiently. There are specific marketing tasks which then move to sales as a buyer works through the sales funnel or flywheel (depending on your sales methodology and terminology). When a clear division of labor is established, it’s much easier to hold each team accountable, measure progress toward your goals, and streamline communications as your teams strive to achieve the organization’s KPIs.
  4. Document your SOPs: The best organizations have a series of standard operating procedures defining how business should be done across various functions. Think about it: It’s difficult to argue against something that’s clearly defined in the rulebook. The same premise exists here. If your sales and marketing teams understand the SOPs which exist as a buyer works through their journey, you lessen the opportunity for conflict and streamline each teams’ process along the way.
  5. Communicate each step: Communications to potential buyers can quickly duplicate if sales and marketing are not familiar with the content each is sending into the world. When communications are broadcast into the market, make sure all sales and marketing partners are aware of and familiar with the content. As a buyer is nurtured and approaches the decision stage, teams should engage in continuous feedback to support the buyer’s needs and proceed in lockstep through the decision stage of the buyer’s journey. With both sales and marketing in tow, organizations can celebrate wins and learn from losses in unison.

When sales and marketing teams are well aligned, organizations thrive. When the process is broken, organizations experience stagnation and lose consumer trust. Buyers can quickly tell if your sales and marketing efforts are well aligned – or not – so take time in the coming months to build a better sales and marketing pipeline in your organization.