Make Collaboration Between Sales and Marketing a Real Thing

Posted on in Blog

Yes, it can happen! And you can be the change you want to see in the world. Read on for some examples, tactics and hard truths about what it takes to get your sales and marketing teams to work together in harmony.

Define the Relationship Between Marketing and Sales

Sometimes, the relationship between sales and marketing is fraught with challenges because marketing is asked to do too much for the company at the expense of really aligning with sales.

Certain industries struggle in unique ways, too. In franchising, the marketing team is often consumer-focused, but the sales team is concerned with franchise development.

In order to really define how your sales and marketing teams should relate to each other, though, ask yourself what are the primary things that each team really needs from the other?

For instance, if your company is a medical device manufacturer that relies on outside sales reps for 95% of its business, those reps don’t need more organic traffic to the website. They need amazing videos they can show to their prospects. They need visually stunning leave-behinds and one-sheeters. They need an email nurture campaign that they don’t have to manage because they’re too busy making calls and visiting leads.  

Or if you work for a SaaS company and the sales team has noticed that lead quality has recently dropped, the marketing team doesn’t need anecdotal evidence about reasons why. They need to come up with a list of six possible reasons based on those anecdotes, and then they need the BDRs to actually commit to tracking lead quality so they can analyze the data and make the necessary changes to the messaging.

What Sales and Marketing Communication Should be Happening?

You already know sales and marketing should be talking more. You already know you should be breaking down silos, sharing data, using the same CRM and aligning on goals. But it’s not happening.

And if you’re reading this, it’s almost certainly because you want to champion this effort, but you’re faced with blockers at every turn.

If that’s the case, you need to do two things first: 1) keep trying, and 2) don’t give up.

Then, after you’ve committed to those two things, understand that in order for you as a marketer to communicate with your colleague the salesperson, first you need to communicate as one human to another.

Seriously. It’s that simple.

Instead of firing off an email asking for an export of their lead report or griping during a meeting about how sales isn’t using the CRM properly, take someone out to lunch. Go bowling. Buy them a cup of coffee.

Then ask questions, and be genuinely interested. This is a no-brainer, right? People love to talk about themselves, so give them the space to do so by asking thoughtful questions. Like this:

Marketer Mandy: “I’m curious—what’s the one thing you wish you knew about a lead before getting on the phone?”

Sales Sam: “Hmm, good question. I suppose I’d want to know how serious they are at this point. Are they just weighing their options, or are they close to a purchase?”

Marketing Mandy: “Yeah, that would be fantastic. I bet we could come up with some ways the marketing team could help you get that info. Here’s an idea . . .”

It’s the easiest way to improve communication between marketing and sales. Earn trust by genuinely wanting to help.

Address Conflict Between Sales and Marketing

Ah, conflict. Politics and infighting. There are few companies that are immune, because people are, well, people. But have faith, dear marketer (or salesperson, but we feel pretty confident no salespeople are reading this, because they’re always the main source of the conflict. Amirite? Just kidding! Sort of).

Look Outside

Sometimes all it takes to fix a rift between the sales and marketing departments is a fresh set of eyes. People on those teams are so focused on their day-to-day that they can’t see a way out. Try forming a special committee, round up all the middle children in your office, and put one of them in charge. (Middle children are natural peacemakers.)

Re-brand and Re-organize

Make some company-wide changes to departments and signature lines. There is no longer a sales team and a marketing team; instead, there’s now just a sales and marketing team. Team meetings cover both priorities, and everyone wears themed costumes when they compete against the other departments on Halloween.

Institute a “Take Your Marketer to Work” Day

Or if it’s too weird to have someone sit next to you and watch you work all day, have a marketer know what it feels like to send out 10, 20, 30 emails and never get a response. Ask a salesperson to come up with a few different versions of the header copy for each of your main value props. Actually, really see what it’s like on the other side.

Where Do Marketing Vendors Fit In?

Marketing vendors can certainly widen the gap between sales and marketing by being just another entity with their own opinions.

But if you let them, they can really help close the gap.

They’re experienced with a number of CRMs and can provide advice on which ones would work best for both teams.

If they’re a smaller agency (like us!), there’s a good chance their own sales and marketing teams are unified, because they have the same people doing both types of work (like us!). So, they know firsthand what it takes.

Your marketing partner can also recommend reporting platforms that unify everyone’s data and present actionable insights with clarity. They can look at your company’s full marketing efforts and make recommendations for working more strategically toward sales.

If you’ve been struggling to improve your sales and marketing collaboration and you need an experienced partner in your corner, drop us a line. Let’s do this, together.   

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