When business hits a stone wall, companies often turn to reactionary tactics, from aggressive discounts to complete rebranding. These strategies can be effective or even necessary in some cases, but another approach is to have a serious look at how your sales and marketing are (or aren’t) working together.
While there’s a distinct difference between sales and marketing, we believe the alignment of the two can not only fix a downturn in business, but also boost it. And the best part? It’s something every business owner or executive can do right now, before a crisis strikes. Here are the four key ways to align sales and marketing.
#1 Aligning Data & KPIs
In the digital era, data is what keeps the business world go round. Businesses no longer have to rely on gut feelings or out-dated experiences to make decisions. But if you’ve ever put a marketing report and a sales report side by side, you’ll notice that there’s very little overlap (if any at all).
Typically, marketing will focus on data like unique reach, engagement rates, website traffic etc., whereas sales will focus on numbers such as revenue, opportunities won, and opportunities lost. This makes sense of course, because marketing and sales have different KPIs (key performance indicators). However, without marketing data, sales can lose insight on how their prospects are finding them, which can inform sales talking points. On the other hand, without sales data, marketing will be unable to optimize their efforts for purchases or closing deals. In fact, one of the most common issues companies have is calculating return on investment – especially advertising spend.
Of course, this doesn’t mean all data needs to be shared. An overload of information can also do more harm than good. By focusing on key stats and getting your sales and marketing to trade notes, you can completely transform your business.
#2 Aligning The Message
For a salesperson, having a prospect come through the door who knows more about their product is a nightmare situation. Or even worse yet – when someone is ready to buy, but they’ve been given completely inaccurate information.
This happens when marketing and sales are misaligned in their messaging. As simple as it is, you’ll be surprised at how often marketing will advertise a new promotion without informing their sales teams first. This is a surefire way to lose business.
Aligning the message, doesn’t just involve having the same content (what you say), it’s also about having a consistent tone of voice (the way you say it). This will help to reinforce your branding and avoid any confusion for your customers in their journey.
#3 Aligning The Personas
To get the message right, you also need to know who you’re talking to – your customer personas. In most cases, a company will have several types or categories that define their customers. Marketing should be directing the type of people sales can convert into customers. But agreeing on who your target audience is, is not the end-all for aligning customer personas.
Sales should also be actively providing feedback to marketing on which customer persona has the highest conversion rate. This way, marketing can reallocate their efforts so that they’re directing the right type of people.
Here’s a common example of misaligned customer personas: marketing sees that audience X is responding very well to their communication, so they spend more of their budget there, when in reality, audience Y is actually the ones purchasing more. Again, here is where sharing data between sales and marketing is a big advantage.
#4 Aligning The Journey
The customer journey – here is where everything comes together. In our article on sales vs. marketing, we discussed how marketing operates more at the beginning of the customer journey, to drive traffic and new leads to the brand. Meanwhile, sales is more at the end of that journey, focused on closing those leads. Having both your sales and marketing teams on the same page means that there’ll be less friction for the customer between the two stages.
A common mistake we see is that marketing thinks of “sales” as an end-goal, rather than a process. In a similar fashion, the sales team will often spend little time thinking about how their lead arrived. When this happens, sales and marketing are unknowingly putting themselves in a blindspot.
With the full sales process in a customer journey in sight, marketing can find ways to ease any tension that could be preventing sales from converting by providing the customer more information before they become leads. Similarly, when a salesperson recognizes the path a customer has taken to get to them in the marketing stage, they can adjust their sales tactics and tailor their strategy to win over customers more effectively.
This is all about marketing leveraging sales – and vice versa – to achieve a common goal. In other words, the customer journey is the exact place where sales and marketing can come and work together.
Aligning sales and marketing can be easier said than done. As the cornerstone of Junction43, we help companies bridge that gap for business growth. Need a hand? Leave us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org!