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5 steps to U.N.I.T.E sales and marketing

Posted by Octopus Group - June 15, 2016

There is a classic stereotype of unaligned sales and marketing teams.

SALES: “Marketing does nothing to help me make my quota. Any leads they do send over are rubbish. They are either not the right company or not the right people within the company for me to be able to sell to” 

MARKETING: “The leads we produce are based on targeting that we all agreed and the sales teams don’t even follow them up. How can we be expected to produce the perfect leads if we don’t get any feedback from the sales conversations and if they don’t use any of the content we produce” 

Here are 5 of the most important things that don’t happen when this dialogue is happening: 

1. Understanding

This might sound soft but without respect between the sales people and the marketing people there will be little chance of alignment.

The sales and marketing culture is established and developed by the CEO. If the senior management of the business promotes an ‘everyone for themselves’ atmosphere and rewards those who go it alone then there is little chance that sales and marketing will talk.

Tip: Ask your CEO to your next team planning meeting and invite her to share her views on how marketing and sales can work better together. 

2. Notice

In this age of the customer the marketing team are working hard to understand the buyer’s process, especially the kinds of research that they will do to inform themselves about issues and concerns that they have.

If the sales team does not listen to this insight then they will come to the conversation with the prospect, ignorant of their interests and therefore reduce the likelihood of initial connection.

Conversely the sales teams are having valuable conversations with prospects and customers that can generate ideas for the marketing team as they create content that will resonate. If marketing doesn’t listen to sales then they miss out on crucial insight.

Tip: If they don’t already do so ask the other team (sales or marketing) to join your team meetings periodically 

3. Interrelating

Once there is a culture of respect and listening then other great things can happen to help sales and marketing speed up revenue.

One example is in the area of lead scoring. When the sales and marketing teams collaborate around what value to assign to lead behaviour (opening an email, downloading assets, visiting certain web pages, responding to social media) there is a clarity around what represents a Marketing Qualified Lead on both sides and a higher probability that marketing will generate such leads and that the sales teams will follow them up.

Tip: Why not set up a service level agreement between the marketing and sales teams based around quality, quantity and timeliness of leads from marketing and the follow up from sales. There is some good guidance on how to do it in this HubSpot guide 

4. Two-Sided Perspective

When you have real sales and marketing alignment both teams not only share the same (revenue) goals but understand the part they play in making them happen.

When they don’t talk then both teams focus only on their own goals and KPIs without concern for its impact on the other.

An example might be where a sales person has their own lead generation targets and will not acknowledge that a prospect originated in the marketing funnel. Conversely an example might be where the marketer is satisfied at having hit social media ‘follower’ targets regardless of its connection to revenue.

Tip: Consider running a monthly award for the sales person of the month in the Marketing team and a marketing person of the month in the sales team based on who has performed best against the service level agreement. 

5. Encouraging

The most important thing that falls through the cracks when sales and marketing don’t talk is a common focus on helping the customer.

If both are passionate about how they can make the customer’s life easier and more successful then they will naturally respect, listen, collaborate and share with each other. And the customer will love them for it.

Tip: To ensure that both teams are focused on the customer it helps to have the marketing and sales platforms sitting on the same customer database so that you have a common view of their responses to either sales or marketing interventions. 

Finally, if sales and marketing can’t agree on what’s being sold then you can bet that the functions will never be well aligned…but that is a whole blog for another day!

Download our Strategic Customer Acquisition guide for more insight into streamlining your sales processes


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