Growing your business is no easy task, and misalignment between your sales and marketing teams can stunt revenue increases. Achieving alignment can lead to more long-term growth for your business and help both teams accomplish their goals.
60 percent of global respondents in a LinkedIn survey believed that misalignment between sales and marketing could damage financial performance. Unfortunately, misalignment between marketing and sales is common for many businesses, and this disconnect could be causing issues throughout the sales funnel.
While the miscommunications between sales and marketing are nothing new, the need for alignment between these teams is more important than ever right now. Marketing and sales need to speak and understand the same language and processes to achieve operational success.
When sales and marketing ultimately align, businesses can achieve:
- Increased revenue
- Improved conversion rates
- Enhanced usage of marketing materials
- Shortened sales cycles
- Increased customer satisfaction
The B2B sales funnel is constantly changing, and it’s imperative for your business’ long-term success that you work to align your marketing and sales teams. Sales teams work to positively represent your business and create new long-lasting customer relationships—whereas marketing teams work to educate buyers, provide quality leads and consistently engage with customers.
With a base understanding of sales and marketing alignment, let’s discuss the problems that it can solve.
How Alignment Solves Organizational Problems
If your business is looking to grow but is noticing stalled growth or communication issues internally, alignment may be the solution. Alignment can help support growth and address common organizational issues like:
- Lead handoff: Did you know that sales teams typically ignore 80 percent of marketing leads given to them? A marketer’s role is to create content that helps nurture a prospect in the early stages of the buyer’s journey and eventually turn him or her into a quality lead that can then be handed off to salesperson; a salesperson’s role is to then convert the lead into a paying customer. This handoff, however, can be mishandled when there’s misalignment between the two sides.
- Customer data: When there’s misalignment, there may be a struggle to accurately measure data because sales and marketing are tracking data separately. This can be preventing any accurate insights or trends from being discovered. A strong alignment between sales and marketing can help identify trends within a data set, as there’s a stronger focus on similar metrics. These identified trends can then be leveraged for future campaigns, which raises the potential for higher revenue streams.
- Unused content: In a misaligned organization, marketers could be creating content that doesn’t serve a sales team’s needs, or maybe sales isn’t even aware that content is being created for them. In an aligned business, the constant communication between the two sides equates to content that effectively addresses the sales team’s needs.
- Marketing ROI: When sales and marketing work alone, it can be difficult to measure the true impact of a lead generation campaign but when aligned, it’s much easier to track a lead’s progress through the sales cycle. Communicating and knowing where each lead is at within the buyer’s journey can help distinguish each buyer’s specific needs and create more effective communication with the prospect, as well as better track the return on investment for each lead.
Solving these problems and aligning your sales and marketing teams is to your organization’s benefit—and if you’re eager for growth, we recommend addressing these issues right away.
How to Achieve Sales and Marketing Alignment
Achieving sales and marketing alignment is no easy task but with proper planning and implementation, you can get on the right track. Consider integrating some of the following best practices into your alignment strategy.
Strategize and Set Goals Together
Typically, sales and marketing have their own goals they are working to achieve—but when trying to achieve alignment, it makes sense to have a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that both teams have influence over.
We recommend tracking items such as leads generated, the conversion rate of leads and the overall revenue that each lead has supported, as these metrics help distinguish the impact that your alignment is having. Moving forward, it’ll be important to create strategies that bring both teams together rather than focusing on individual roles. Look to work together to understand the status of the market, what your customers need right now and how your business can present a solution.
Prioritize Constant Communication
Establishing a cadence for joint sales and marketing meetings—whether that’s on a weekly or monthly basis—can keep both teams updated and aligned.
Sales members can provide details on what challenges they’re currently facing, what customers would like to see and updates on any leads that were handed off to them. Marketing can give details on content for upcoming campaigns, information pertaining to potential leads and any stats that can be leveraged as talking points in sales meetings.
By maintaining ongoing touch-base meetings, both departments will be kept updated on how the other is performing and what is needed for continued growth.
Create a Company Newsletter
A newsletter could also be helpful to establish constant communication. Let marketing take the lead on establishing the content for this newsletter; however, ensure they are getting input from other departments within the organization so that it accurately covers all necessary updates.
Updates to discuss within the newsletter could include:
- Company news
- Product launches
- Current marketing initiatives
- New content, including resource guides and articles
- Incentive programs
- Customer testimonials
By creating newsletter content, the marketing team can better engage sales employees and other relevant audiences with the latest news. We recommend maintaining a consistent publishing schedule, whether that entails weekly or monthly communications.
Leverage Created Content
One of the biggest downfalls for alignment is when sales isn’t utilizing content that marketing is creating. A digital asset management (DAM) platform can assist in storing these assets in one place, making it easy to share content with internal team members, as well as adding a layer of security to protect your high-end assets. Investing in a DAM can help your sales team and take away the stress of searching for important files.
Additionally, to encourage thoughtful engagement with these materials, we recommend drafting messaging that can be used by your sales team for multiple platforms, including email or social media. This will help make it easier for your sales team to download and distribute your materials in an engaging way.
It’s important, though, to create multiple copy options to ensure the sales team doesn’t sound repetitive or robotic. These messages are meant to create conversation among your sales team and prospects—and if the same messaging is being used repeatedly, this could discourage customers from engaging with the content.
Finding ways to utilize your company’s content shouldn’t be taken lightly. A lot of time and resources are put into creating content—and if you’re sales team isn’t utilizing these materials, then your ROI could suffer as a result.
Invest in Employee Onboarding
Creating an onboarding process for new employees that explains the alignment process can pay dividends in the long run. Through a learning management system (LMS), you can ensure that new hires are being trained properly. Easily customize training content to each employee’s needs and monitor their learning progress along the way—ensuring that training is being completed prior to taking on their new roles. Throughout your employee onboarding, be sure to detail how marketing and sales work with one other and the protocols in place that support this ongoing alignment.
Along with an LMS, a DAM can be leveraged to store any important content pieces that new hires may need during their first few weeks, including resource guides, sell sheets or instructional videos.
Continue to Train Your Team
Apart from the initial onboarding, continued training is crucial for ongoing success. Some sales team members could be lacking the proper knowledge of industry trends or other information—plus, there’s always something new to learn, whether that’s focused on new products or the latest sales techniques.
Investing in sales enablement tools such as an LMS or a DAM can help ensure that your sales team is properly trained and has access to latest materials, which in return will boost conversion levels and accelerate the buyer’s journey. Consider creating custom training modules that identify the latest information your team may need, including new products or services, trends in the industry or competitor news. You can also integrate quizzes into these modules to ensure all applicable team members are completing the modules and understand what they are being taught.
Align Campaign Coordination
Ensuring that both sales and marketing teams are aligned for campaign launches is critical to the overall success of these initiatives. While creating campaign content is primarily marketing’s role, including sales members in the conception process can help bring new ideas to light. Remember: Your sales team is consistently in front of prospects and customers; have marketing engage with them for new ideas and an understanding of exactly what your ideal audience is looking for from your company.
Aside from campaign creation, marketing should look to share information on which tactics the upcoming campaign will be utilizing—whether that’s through webinars, social media posts or email offers. A DAM can be utilized to store this information, as it gives sales members the opportunity to reference it at any time. Following any campaign launch, any leads that are submitted can be handed off to a sales member with key talking points and offers that can be discussed.
How to Review and Analyze
Once your alignment processes are implemented, your business needs to conduct ongoing analysis to maintain long-term success. Your analysis should include both your LMS and DAM usage, as well as an audit on your new alignment processes.
Within your LMS, you can track which courses are being accessed the most and see their completion rates. Additionally, within your DAM platform, you can view which assets are being referenced the most. Consider tracking the following items:
- Individual users’ activity and learning progress
- Activity scores and which answers users choose
- Module completion rate
- Pages being viewed the most within your DAM
- Assets that are being referenced more often than others
Apart from metrics analysis, continue to work with your marketing and sales teams to learn how you can improve these platforms. Ongoing meetings and conversations can help ensure both teams are working together in tandem toward unified goals.
Achieving alignment takes a lot of hard work, but there are tools available to make this process easier.
How Konvert™ Can Help
Konvert combines the power of LMS and DAM platforms, enabling you to effectively align your sales and marketing teams—leading to more conversions and larger revenue streams.
Our LMS lets you quickly and easily create and manage training modules tailored to your desired audience. Organize your content into courses, chapters, quizzes or even make it downloadable. Plus, our DAM makes it easy for internal teams to store, manage and retrieve digital data with intuitive search and tagging and filtering options.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can achieve alignment between your sales and marketing teams.
Sophia Fisher | firstname.lastname@example.org