Well no, not really, but in many organisations it can feel that way. Do “Sales” and “Marketing” get along in your business? Do they compete for attention, complain that it’s not fair, and fight for the front seat in the car? Or in fact, do they blame each other if things are not going well. “If only Marketing would do their job properly and deliver good quality leads”. “If only Sales would contact the leads and close the deals” Sales perceive Marketing as “fluffy”. Marketing consider Sales to be “aggressive”. And so on.
In the old traditional model the sales funnel started with leads which Marketing brought to the table, then Sales would sell at them until they closed. And they barely had to talk to each other.
With the inbound marketing model, leads may be attracted into the funnel, but they need to be nurtured and educated before the selling (or in fact “buying”) process can start.
So you have a great prospect but they are not ready to buy? Perhaps a salesperson has engaged with them, impatient to get on with the job of closing the deal. But the prospect is still gathering their own information, and educating themselves. Think about it – how much time do you spend online researching before putting the deposit down on a holiday for example. That’s often how it works now. And a salesperson interrupting you to desperately close a deal is a turn-off.
So what DOES the prospect want from the salesperson? Information. White papers, case studies, e-books. And now you can see this is where marketing and sales really have to work together to provide that information. Sales can be a real asset to the marketing department, because if they listen to the prospect, they will understand exactly what they are looking for, and can feed this back to the marketeers.
This is a great opportunity to get the team(s) working together for the common good. Hubspot call this “Smarketing” – you may or may not want to adopt this term! The definition is “Smarketing is the process of aligning the sales and marketing teams around common goals within a business or organization, focused on improving revenue.”
They also state that “Companies with strong Marketing and Sales alignment get 20% annual growth”. Wow! Wouldn’t you want some of that?
Get in touch so we can have a chat about how we could help you with this.
- Speak the same language
Define the stages of the sales funnel from Prospect / Visitor through to Customer. Make sure that everyone understands what each term means and how you determine when a contact moves from one stage to the next. Which stages will be “owned” by Sales and which by Marketing? They should also agree on the goals and targets to be reached.
- Implement a service level agreement
Sounds difficult (and can be as complex as you want it to be). It defines what each team commits to accomplishing in order to support the other in reaching the shared revenue goals. How many leads do Marketing have to deliver in order to “feed” the sales process? What’s the agreed close rate. So you can work out exactly how many leads you need (and what value) in order to deliver that revenue goal. Examples: Marketing will deliver 100 leads per salesperson per month. Sales will make contact with 20 prospects per week.
- Set up “closed-loop” reporting
This is all about communication, and data and recording. For example it is vital that if a salesperson has disqualified a lead (poor fit) that Marketing don’t deliver that lead again. Marketing also need to know which campaigns are working. This is really just about setting up systems and processes, and then USING them. And finally analysing the data, which brings us on to…
- Rely on data
Use dashboards, track leads by campaign, tracks sales, track activities. If it moves, analyse it! So you can rely on data, not emotions and collaborate towards the same goals.
- Maintain open communication
And finally, set up regular meetings with the “smarketing” team to share and discuss all the metrics, what’s working, what’s not working. And if you have solid data then this forms the foundation for useful discussions, Share valuable information about your products/services with the team and make sure the sales team know why the customer will care.