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Sales and Marketing Alignment: The Fundamentals

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Inbox Insight That's what they want to hear!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

For organizations looking to reach new markets, engage with prospects or build meaningful relationships with customers, targeted marketing programs are key. Demand generation and driving awareness through data is a strategy that can help you achieve long-term growth. And since demand generation encompasses every single touchpoint (from brand awareness to customer retention), it requires seamless collaboration from your teams.

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Your sales and marketing functions are the two main components that need to work together. Without effective partnership or the necessary tools of communication in place, it can be hard to attain desired goals.

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While traditional marketing campaigns usually hand over all leads to the sales department, demand generation needs to be done in a more joined up way. Here we look at the fundamentals of alignment, and why it’s vital to your success.

Why is marketing and sales alignment so important?

Are you utilizing email marketing, personalized content or intent targeting in your marketing strategy? It’s highly likely that your plans are built around your data, as data sits at the heart of successful marketing campaigns.

And whilst marketing are able to gather the vast majority of data required for communications, the personalized data that sales can provide is invaluable for effectively nurturing your clients and prospects. Without valuable data sharing between sales and marketing, these tactics won’t be utilized to their full potential. Barriers between sales and marketing need to be broken down, not only for communication purposes, but for data optimization.

Similarly, it’s essential sales are able to utilize the insights that marketing can provide. Marketing structure their day around the ability to attract and engage prospects, building a profile of each contact and nurturing them through inbound and demand generation strategies, therefore learning about individual prospects and their interests These insights can be hugely beneficial to igniting or enhancing a conversation between sales and a prospect – but without clear communication, these efforts can go to waste.  

Bringing teams together can have its issues and teething problems, particularly for organizations that have traditionally kept sales and marketing as separate functions. But making the leap is worth the effort – and the stats prove it.

Research tells us that businesses with their sales and marketing teams aligned achieve 208% higher marketing revenue than those with misaligned teams. - Integrate

 

How to ensure your sales and marketing teams are aligned

Before you ask your teams to work together, it’s important to have the right processes, platforms and tools in place to help them communicate. Making collaboration easy is something to consider for remote workers too. This is why cloud-based storage systems are great for projects where there are multiple content creators and salespeople. File sharing should be enabled to move away from traditional silos, and having a project lead to manage and oversee it all is key.

Iron out the terminology

Tone of voice documents can be helpful when it comes to making sure both sales and marketing are singing off the same hymn sheet. The way brands interact with their customers extends beyond planned content. It includes face-to-face communications, emails, messaging apps and phone calls as well. 

Agree on common ‘smarketing’ goals

Get everyone working together by creating common goals and targets they can work towards. Start with connecting the data they analyze and have regular meetings in place to keep everyone on track.

Develop full-funnel content together

Creating branded content as cohesive teams can really boost your lead generation success. By collaborating on case studies and other content pieces together, teams can build consistent messaging and tone to keep leads engaged throughout the funnel.

Encourage teams to socialize

Let your teams get to know each other. Team activities, shared lunch space or social events are all great ways to form bonds and get people cooperating proactively. Not only should this be done with sales and marketing, but it should be company-wide so you can change the culture of your business, encouraging better communication across the board. 

How to realign teams

The first step to realigning your teams is to strip it all back and return to basics. Above, we already mentioned that getting sales and marketing on the same page needs a set of common goals. If your teams have traditionally operated as silos, it may be necessary to start from scratch. Instead of just assisting each other with individual strategies, a new joined strategy needs to be formed – and this should be done as a collective.

Some areas to discuss together:

  • Buyer personas: Defining your target audience requires data, information and input from both departments. This has traditionally been managed by marketing and rolled out by sales, but having both teams involved from the start is the ideal.
  • Data sharing: Finding the best way to store, share and access each other’s data is imperative. Make sure everyone understands the importance of sharing information so nothing is withheld. Having one central place for logging interactions and uploading files is essential in making the process as easy as possible.
  • Roles and responsibilities: Who is doing what, and when? Aligning two different departments that have their own processes and procedures can be tricky. Make roles and key responsibilities clear for each individual.

If you are aligning large departments, communication must be constant and it must reach everyone. Companies should engage in broad communication tactics if they want to keep multiple factions in the loop – and this includes remote solutions for freelancers, contractors and teams based internationally.

How to keep everyone working together over time

Improving collaboration is a priority for the long-term, not just a single project. The problem with combined working is that momentum can be easily lost. This is especially the case when sales and marketing teams come together for single projects and return to their disjointed ways of working once a campaign is closed.

This is why collaboration is a concept that should be intrinsically rooted in your business culture. In order to improve productivity and creativity, and manage long-term branding exercises that cultivate awareness, it’s important for people to work hand in hand.

Some tips for getting teams to be more unified on a day-to-day basis include:

  • Using digital collaboration platforms
  • Making file sharing easy and accessible from any device (and anywhere)
  • Utilizing team chat tools to aid communication
  • Having shared access to CRM systems and customer data

Further reading:

Sales and Marketing alignment is just one of the 7 Pillars for Successful Demand Generation. To discover the 6 remaining pillars for demand generation success, access the full guide here:

 

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That's what they want to hear!

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Inbox Insight promote the best B2B content marketing practices enhanced by a data-driven approach. We believe putting audience insights at the heart of every digital campaign, drives superior experiences for both our business communities and clients.

It’s about continuously leveraging audience intelligence to understand what they want to hear, and translating this into thoughtful demand generation campaigns that resonate with decision makers across the full buyer journey.

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