Are your sales and marketing teams working with synergy, or in silos? The most successful organizations I’ve worked with all recognize one simple truth: sales and marketing share the same general goals and are better off working together.
David Stabel made a good point recently in his article Optimizing CX Through CCM. A positive customer experience (CX) “involves all parts of a business, from sales and marketing to operations and customer service. Businesses are challenged with taking a cohesive approach that unites individual engagements across the entire customer journey.” To address this, David suggests, among other things, rewiring your organization around customer touchpoints — a fantastic idea. But what does this actually look like? How do we reorganize in a way that actually helps sales and marketing collaborate? These are some practical steps I’ve observed my most successful clients take.
Align Sales and Marketing Goals and Objectives
I mentioned that sales and marketing often share the same goals, but it’s a little more nuanced than that. In most cases, sales and marketing are working toward the same overarching business goals: increase brand awareness, generate new business, and maintain or grow existing business.
Their objectives — the concrete steps they plan to take throughout the year in order to achieve those goals — might be different. To generate new business, for example, marketing may be deploying direct mail campaigns while sales is taking introductory meetings. But they’ve got the same end in mind, and for that reason, it’s worth taking the time each quarter and year to align these two teams.
We like to use a simple chart like this that allows sales and marketing to document their own goals and objectives in a way that visualizes how their plans roll up into the same business goal. Hint: if this can’t be done easily, you’ve got two teams that are likely working at odds.
The other thing it’s important for sales and marketing to align on is lead scoring. What criteria must a lead meet in order to be “marketing qualified”? To be “sales qualified”? If you use marketing automation software, add your scoring to the system so that leads can be passed over to sales automatically the second they become qualified.
Put Your Best Marketing Tools to Use for Sales
It’s important for marketers to view their own campaigns through a sales lens. How does each touchpoint move an individual along the customer journey? What type of content will help leads become customers and customers become brand ambassadors?
Kate Dunn of Keypoint Intelligence — InfoTrends recommends the following in her article How is Your Year Measuring Up: “Companies must develop key insights for buyers, consistently use that messaging in their marketing, and ensure that every member of the sales team can deliver those messages to prospective buyers through a variety of channels.” To me, this sounds like content marketing — developing targeted content for every step of the sales funnel so that leads can access the information they need in a self-service fashion until they’re actually ready to talk to sales. For any marketing teams that are already doing content marketing, ask yourselves: am I too focused on inbound leads? Have I developed enough content for later stages of the buyer’s journey? You may also want to consider developing email templates and phone scripts for sales to ensure that everyone in the company is providing a consistent message to the customer.
I love what Pat McGrew said about print samples in her article Telling a Great Story with Print Samples: “Story-telling print samples give your sales reps stronger talking points when engaging with prospects and existing customers.” It’s usually up to marketing to create imaginative print samples like this, print samples that tell a story — but it’s only with insight from sales that marketing can know exactly the right story to tell.
It’s key that marketing is able to either shadow or interview sales to learn more about what customers who are in the sales process actually need. What kinds of questions do they have? What are their objections? Create marketing materials that help sales handle those objections and you’ll both be closer to achieving your goals.
If your teams are already on the same page in this area but time is an issue, consider the readymade print samples that are available to thINK members as part of MKTG Lab. We’ve got multiple press-ready drip campaigns that demonstrate the capabilities of the VarioPrint i-series, and more campaigns for other presses are coming soon.
Share Your Resources
One of the best ways to ensure that sales and marketing are on the same page is for both teams to work from the same pooled resources. Keep the most recent versions of your message maps, talking points, scripts, and content offers in the same place. Include clear guidelines for how each document should be used and which pieces are for internal eyes only.
Both teams benefit from this setup. It saves marketing the precious time that used to be spent answering sales requests for the latest version of a resource, and it saves sales the time they would spend searching and asking for the things they need. More importantly, though, it means that sales can easily identify whether an important piece of collateral is missing so that marketing can create it — without the pressure of an emergency deadline!
To ensure these resources are kept up-to-date and that all stakeholders are able to easily bring new collateral ideas to the table, I recommend setting up a regular sales and marketing meeting. Whether you choose to meet weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, these meetings will ensure the two teams can maintain alignment on goals and help one another succeed.
This level of transparency and collaboration may sound common sense, but in my experience, it’s unusual to find in practice. But, as Kate Dunn pointed out in her article Selling the Value of Inkjet, “Businesses that have learned to use their sales processes to differentiate themselves are seeing higher margins, and increased share of customers, and higher retention rates.” In my experience, capitalizing on the natural synergy that exists between marketing and sales and infusing the sales process with more smart marketing content is one of the best ways for organizations to differentiate.
Sarah Mannone is Executive Vice President of Trekk, a tech-driven creative services agency. She works with Trekk clients to develop strategic marketing plans and craft measurable programs that that span print, web, social and mobile. As part of the Trekk management team, Sarah is involved in the decisions and strategy around new technologies and applications to meet the current and future needs of Trekk clients. She is a member of the Forbes Agency Council and a frequent speaker at marketing and print industry events.