Marketing says sales isn’t pushing hard enough, sales claims marketing isn’t feeding them the right leads. Have you ever experienced this situation in your organization? But, for business to move forward, sales and marketing need to work together to win more deals. In essence, you need sales and marketing alignment to continue making deals and improve your bottom line. Here are some best practices to create sales and marketing alignment in your organization to win more deals.
The level of cooperation between sales and marketing is what alignment is about. Both departments are aligned to the buyer in some way; they are both working towards a common goal, and, to achieve this, the two teams need to share metrics, resources and a an understanding of what works in their favor.
The goal is to sell more, no doubt. But, are both teams clear as to how they want to win more deals? Sales and marketing both need to be clear on who the ideal customer is (your audience), what the unique selling proposition (USP) of your product or service is going to be, and how exactly you are going to position your product or service. If you are selling software and “speed + efficiency” is going to be your value proposition, then that is what needs to be highlighted in both messages.
Audience Alignment: Market Segmentation
To align on who your audience is, we recommend the following: Group your past customers and prospects in identified segments based on the data that details past conversions, rejections and sales conversations. Use that data to construct a message that speaks to each individual group, focusing on the pain points and varying levels of commitment (funnel, appointment, opportunity, etc.). This type of segmentation allows you to create a targeted focus for each group instead of using a one-size fits all approach which probably won’t be successful.
Alignment In Planning
A “silo” approach is not going to work. And just exchanging dozens of emails, stats, metrics and presentations is not going to help either. Let marketing sit in on a couple of sales calls each quarter. When marketers get insight into what problems sales reps are facing, as well as insight into the prospect market, they can do better research. This will result in creating better campaigns and placing them in the right place at the right time. Marketing also needs to know what makes your customers and prospects react positively and which marketing channel they are most receptive to.
Sales business intelligence tools, like Salesvue for Salesforce, can help you figure out what’s working, what isn’t and why. In effect, marketing can craft a better message and sales can deliver it in the best possible way.
Today’s buyers are well-informed and have many more options available to them. Compelling content is what helps your brand get some traction in the market, and both teams need to formulate a content strategy that is beneficial. Marketers need to look beyond basic lead generation and create content that attracts the right leads, which can also be used in the selling process. Sales reps, meanwhile, need to use that targeted content and keep marketing informed about how well the content is working. This helps refine the message in future.
This is where Salesvue can help. We understand how important the message is and, with Salesvue, you can customize the message and make sure it goes out when it needs to with our automated solutions. Plus, our detailed reports and analysis show you how effective the message is so you can identify patterns and create a prospecting cadence. See Salesvue in action today.
Alignment Around Opportunity Management
Opportunity management refers to the process of tracking and managing new sales opportunities from current customers and prospective customers to the time the opportunity is generated in the pipeline to conversion. You need to be know how to manage that opportunity and what tactics to use to bring the deal to a close.
Here are a couple of ways you can manage opportunities more effectively:
- Track and score leads: Based on prospect behavior, track and score your leads to determine whether they are highly likely to buy or if they intend to buy, but at a later date. Sales business intelligence tools will give you a snapshot of how they are responding to your campaigns and what they are doing on your site.
- Measure marketing impact: Part of the strategy and planning aspect is calculating how many selling opportunities are generated from a marketing campaign. If several opportunities open up, you know that the campaign is working well.
- Focus on prospect/customer behavior: Understanding your prospect or customer preferences can help figure out how they will react and this helps you determine the next best course of action. See what course the prospect or customer has taken from discovery to making initial contact, and then see how their commitment progresses. You can group the behavior into different stages of the pipeline based on this data.
Alignment with Sales and Marketing Automation
Marketing automation solutions can help both teams achieve their targets and gain a better understanding of where the conversions are happening. Sales automation, on the other hand, can provide valuable analytics from the sales cycle for the marketing department, which can help them make decisions. Here’s how the sales and marketing teams can benefit from automation solutions, which ultimately leads to improved alignment.
Quality vs Quantity
Lead quality is a bone of contention between sales and marketing. Marketing claims they pass on high quality leads, while sales says the leads aren’t relevant. The pipeline can get clogged with too many leads, some of whom have no interest in buying. And, with it, comes the the possibility of a really good lead slipping through the cracks because there are too many to manage! This spells trouble for sales and marketing, but it can be prevented with a little teamwork. First, you need to define your ideal prospect profile and the attributes that will make selling to them possible. Then, by scoring and grading leads with marketing automation, marketing can ensure that only high quality leads, who have a genuine interest in your product, make it into the funnel. This means sales does not have to waste time following up on cold leads.
Data On Demand
Automation solutions allow for real-time data collection, whether it is a new subscriber, prospect activity or measuring the success of a campaign. Marketing can see how prospects are interacting with the brand on their website, what they are looking for and their level of interest, which enables them to figure out which stage of the funnel the prospect is in. With this information, marketing can share this with sales, who can send relevant messages instead of generic email blasts. With marketing automation, you can segment your contact list and tailor messages based on various criteria, such as:
- Level of interest in the product/service
- Position in the funnel
And, on the other hand, sales organizations can share what questions and topics their prospects are raising, so that marketing can create collateral around those topics. Furthermore, by knowing the sales cadence and being informed on where prospects are in the funnel, marketing can use this information from sales to send marketing messages to specific prospects or promote certain items throughout different marketing channels to help facilitate those deals.
Have More + Better Conversations
Automated tasks and follow-ups mean sales reps don’t need to waste time on administrative tasks and can instead make more calls. Segmentation and customizable campaigns mean that reps can make each conversation count by ensuring that the right message is delivered to the right person, at the right time. Reps can even let marketing handle messages to prospects who are at the top of the funnel, so that the sales team can focus on having detailed conversations with prospects who are nearer to closing and need immediate follow-up.
The bottom line is that marketing and sales need to speak to each other to optimize their efforts, but they can use their respective automation platforms to take care of other administrative tasks so they can focus on the tasks that are the best use of their time.