You may assume marketing and sales teams naturally function in lockstep. They share the same core goal: to grow the business they serve. However, if you are a sales or marketing professional, it is likely you have felt friction between the two groups. Unfortunately, not all marketing and sales teams speak the same language. Despite sharing the same long-term mission, short-term priorities can clash when not aligned. This misalignment is compounded when the teams do not serve each other, share insights, and establish mutual measurable goals.
Many marketing and sales departments tend to work in silos and do not have many opportunities to collaborate. The result is that the marketing person suggesting the blog post topic or authoring the ad copy is completely disconnected from the salesperson’s growth goals and the real-world questions the sales rep gets every day. The less communication and collaboration between the two parties, the less effective both teams become. Sales departments grow resentful feeling they never have materials that resonate, while marketing teams feel like short-order-cooks catering under pressure to business development whims.
This story may sound familiar to you, but it does not have to be this way. Marketing and sales teams can, and should, align and collaborate. Even if the sales team is more focused on quota and the marketing team centers more on presentation and messaging, the two departments can benefit from leveraging each other’s strengths. Successful coordination starts with developing a culture of openness and partnership between marketers and salespeople in which both teams function as one communicative, cohesive growth team.
Establishing true alignment is no small task, especially if the “us versus them” culture is engrained. However, when the two groups navigate the dip between adversarial obligations to each other and willingly enrich each other’s work—the result is a more efficient sales and marketing machine that delivers more, higher quality prospects and nurtures them through your organization’s sales pipeline.
In our experience aligning sales and marketing efforts over the past decade, these four pillars drive successful cohesion:
- Promote open communication.
- Establish shared incentives.
- Clearly communicate success metrics.
- Establish consistent practices to make sure you are reinforcing all the above.
Here is why it is so important to align your teams, and some practical tips for achieving all four of those lofty goals.
Why Should Your Marketing and Sales Teams Be Aligned?
Sales and marketing teams tend to stick to their own circle. If there are not any obvious issues and business is steadily ticking up, does it matter if the strategy is aligned across each team?
It really does.
If open two-way communication and knowledge sharing are missing, then you are leaving growth opportunities on the table.
The long business-to-business healthcare sales cycle means a single campaign, message or presentation is rarely the silver bullet that immediately generates new clients. Rather, meaningful results come from the collective effect of many sales and marketing efforts at every level of the sales funnel over a period. The longer the buyer journey, the more crucial marketing, and sales rapport becomes. When sales and marketing communicate, they can collaborate to refine messaging in the market over time and build new materials and campaigns that resonate.
Marketers miss the full picture if they are buried in Google Analytics and spec sheets for the new convention booth. Sure, those things are necessary and matter. However, the most important thing a marketer can do is understand the up-to-date questions prospects are asking and what customers appreciate about the business. As it turns out, salespeople (and operational colleagues) have those answers.
Salespeople miss opportunities to refresh and refine messaging when they are buried in calls and CRM data entry. The most effective salespeople are great listeners, and they practice and refine their pitch based on what they hear. As it turns out, marketers are professional communicators, experts at crafting effective messages that get to the heart of audience pain points.
Looking at it this way, it seems clear the two parties can make each other more effective. While members of both teams have differing strengths, they both benefit when they share strategies, data, and feedback across the cubicle wall (or Zoom room).