Conventional wisdom says that sales and marketing departments are separate but related. While it’s true that the job descriptions of individual employees have little overlap, the broad goals of both teams have a lot in common.
Finding ways for your sales and marketing teams to work together toward a common goal is a decision that will pay off for years to come. In fact, a lack of communication between both departments can be a huge drain on resources. Having them come together can improve communication, find common ground to improve both teams, and work toward better coordination between marketing campaigns and the sales teams that interact with prospects.
Here are some simple ways you can improve marketing and sales alignment:
1) Combine meetings
It seems so simple, you wonder why more companies don’t do it. Combine meetings that share information that will be helpful to both departments. Team members can ask questions, raise concerns, and pitch ideas that can help the two teams work together.
2) Create information repositories to share important information
When employees in both departments store useful information, who has access to it? Ensuring that both departments can access critical information and data is important, even if it seems unrelated at first glance. Give your teams the chance to be creative with the information that you have on hand.
Create a repository of information and resources that both teams have access to. It can be as simple as a folder inside of a company DropBox account. Encouraging your sales and marketing departments to share information will help improve alignment.
3) Encourage friendship and team-building between departments
The only way for your team to work well together is to become comfortable with each other. Getting to know employees in other departments can be difficult. If they don’t work in the same room, they are unlikely to form real relationships without some help.
You probably run team-building exercises or getaways, but what about events that cater to a few specific teams? Try putting together an event for just the sales and marketing teams. By giving them a chance to get to know each other and form bonds, they will work together more efficiently.
4) Coordinate marketing campaigns with sales, using strategies from each department
Both departments interface with customers through different channels. As a result, you might think that they may not be able to help each other out. But, you might be surprised how aligning the two can benefit both departments.
If a focus on a product feature is reaping rewards for your sales department, shouldn’t your marketing campaigns reflect that as well – or at least test to see if some alterations are able to beat your current controls? Sometimes what is working for sales can improve marketing campaigns and vice versa.
5) Encourage training between departments
Understanding the complete customer journey will help both teams improve. Allowing your sales team to see inside the inner workings of the marketing department can help them to better tailor their pitches to align with marketing materials. Find opportunities for both departments to attend training sessions together. Even if some content doesn’t apply, the big-picture understanding will benefit both teams.
6) Record sales calls and have marketing listen in
For some of your marketing team, the sales process may be a bit of a mystery. If they’ve never heard a sales call, hearing recorded conversions can be a great way to help fill in the blanks. Both teams should be working together like a well-oiled machine. But if one hand doesn’t understand what the other hand does, it’s hard to have real coordination.
7) Provide an anonymous way to make recommendations to other departments
How can your sales team let the marketing team know that they are making their job more difficult? Maybe they are using language that affects their pitches. Or, perhaps the sales team is overselling certain features. It goes both ways.
Giving both teams a way to raise concerns anonymously ensures that issues are corrected quickly. Without an anonymous way to leave feedback, employees might be worried about ruffling feathers. Setting the right expectations in both the marketing and sales language can help to reduce churn, and improve sales.
8) Create a message board for both departments to interact
Want your teams to talk more? Give them a platform. It can be weird to pick up that phone and call someone that you have never met. Relaying an idea for a project that you weren’t involved with is awkward. It can feel like you are stepping on toes.
By offering an interdepartmental message board you turn all conversations into a group discussion. Not only will they get to know each other, but your teams will feel more comfortable sharing their opinions. You should always try to facilitate communication and collaboration.
9) Share data that is relevant to both departments
The data generated by both the marketing and sales departments are often relevant to each other. When your sales team can see what language changes have had positive results, they can incorporate that focus into their sales scripts. Conversion data can be eye-opening for both departments. It can help them to create cohesive language and manage prospect expectations.
10) Find opportunities to work together on projects
The best way for both departments to work well together…is to actually work together. Find projects that encompass areas of both departments and assign team members from each. This will allow them to build some familiarity and will ensure that both departments have a say in the project outcome.
Aligning your sales and marketing teams is a difficult task for some companies. Despite the broad overlap, both departments have different goals. The best way to ensure that you have coordination between both departments is to provide them opportunities to work together. Both your marketing and sales departments will be better for it.
This post was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.
Nicole Hudson is an engaging thought leader in marketing strategy development, branding, demand generation, content marketing, social media, marketing technology and lead generation. Her firm, Inbound Lead Solutions, focuses on sales and marketing alignment with B2B companies, franchising, professional services, keynote speakers, authors, and consultants. Hudson’s marketing strategies have been recognized by Franchise Media Group in two consecutive years with Star Awards for social media lead generation, and by a Dbusiness Magazine award in 2016 for Marketing Consulting. Her work has been featured in a LinkedIn case study on Franchising Search Engine Optimization and Lead Generation. She published a book collaboration with Bulldog Reporter (Infocom), The Advanced LinkedIn PR Handbook. Hudson has developed social media strategies for two national television appearances, Be the Boss and Undercover Boss. Nicole is a member of the International Franchise Association and sits on its Marketing & Technology Committee; is a board member and marketing chair for Community Home Supports, a Detroit non-profit; and is a regular speaker, content contributor, and trainer on digital marketing topics.