As marketing consultants, we’ve worked with many sales teams over the years. We are intimately aware of the struggle that marketing and sales teams have when trying to work together. At the end of the day, though, we’ve found that if you can take the time to understand three key principals and make the most of the opportunities in front of both teams, the rewards are huge.
Focus on the Real Customer
The first challenge faced by these two departments is perspective. Marketing teams tend to think about segments, not individual customers like the sales teams. Sales teams refer to customers by name and are the “boots on the ground” of the overall effort. When the two groups get together, it seems like they are talking about different customers. These teams need to embrace the challenge of coming together to reach a common understanding of who the customer really is.
Sales and marketing teams need to have the same understanding of the customer journey. The disconnect between the journey that marketing uses and the experience of the sales team can hurt both dramatically. Sharing the same means that both teams understand the stages, pain points, and obstacles to buying. Consistency in both departments’ ideas about who the customer is, what their journey is like, and what they need can empower both teams dramatically.
Marketing and Sales Need Alignment
The critical next step to improving the customer journey in your sales process is to achieve a new level of alignment between these two departments. Another barrier to achieving this is that many sales and marketing teams have different Key Performance Indicators. Our experience tells us that unless your marketing and sales teams share a set of KPIs, alignment will be almost impossible.
Another alignment tactic is consistent messaging. Marketing and sales teams need to use the same language when they speak to a potential customer. If the ad mentions a “free assessment” but the sales guy keeps calling it “the test”, then continuity is lost. The customer experience must be established and protected by both parties to gain the maximum benefit from all activities. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated (McKinsey). Older adults are twice as likely as younger consumers to give up entirely on a buying experience and never come back. Your messaging matters and the misalignment is costing you more than you think.
Integration of Marketing and Sales Data
To take the reporting element to the next level is to make sure you include integration on all marketing and sales activities. How many leads did that direct mailer bring in? What is the close % on all your social media ads? Integration of these and many other data sources can bring a wealth of knowledge to both teams, allowing them to have more dynamic conversation and produce better results. When the two departments see how their activities are linked, it can shape the shared KPIs and overall alignment of your teams. Once everyone can get on the same page about what works, what does not, and how the game is played, the company is more likely to win.