How B2B Companies Benefit When Sales and Marketing Are Aligned
Depending on the organization, chances are the Sales and Marketing teams have been at odds with each other at one point in time or another. Certainly, both functions are critical to generating revenue for a company, although each side will claim dominance in making the most significant contribution to the financial welfare of the organization.
It’s no wonder that a fractious relationship exists between B2B Sales and Marketing departments. In many organizations, the roles between these two teams are blurred, responsibilities are unclear, and most often, blame is placed on the other when something goes wrong. In fact, a Corporate Board survey of Sales and Marketing executives found that 87 percent of responses regarding the opposite functional group were negative.
In a competitive environment such as healthcare IT, it’s time for Sales and Marketing teams to bury the proverbial hatchet and start appreciating each other for the role each plays in improving the way an organization does business.
Perhaps one reason for the rift between sales and marketing is a lack of clarity concerning respective roles and responsibilities:
- Marketing’s primary role is to build awareness, drive demand among target audiences, and create material that moves leads through the sales funnel. Generally, Marketing controls strategy, brand management, content development, inbound and outbound activities, and website management.
- Sales presents the product or the service to potential customers to close leads. Sales teams know detailed information about each prospect and what their needs are. They connect with the customer by establishing one-on-one relationships, and know what type of conversations customers are having with the competition.
Moving a prospect through the sales funnel takes multiple touchpoints across both functions. As such, without a clear definition and delineation of the role each team plays, problems arise that are counter-productive to the success of a business. For example, each team might end up doing the same work the other is doing, or work against each other. But the reality is, a successful and productive relationship between Sales and Marketing disciplines can only occur with a clear distinction of roles and responsibilities.
Communications is Key
Key to any successful relationship is communication, and the same is true for the Sales and Marketing relationship. Effective communications must occur at every level. For example, marketing tactics that are part of an overall strategy may change as the demands of the market shift and brand goals change. When this happens, Marketing needs to inform Sales of any shift in strategy or tactics so the Sales team can be prepared and effective in their ongoing customer-facing role.
Similarly, Sales should provide insights to Marketing since Sales teams have the benefit of direct dealings with the customer and can gather feedback from the field.
Maintaining an open line of communication between Sales and Marketing teams will help ensure that both sides learn from each other and apply that learning to enhance each other’s role. In fact, according to an Aberdeen Group study, 77 percent of best-in-class organizations report having good or strong Sales and Marketing relationships when the leaders of each team meet regularly.
The Right Tools
Using the right tools can also help facilitate effective communications between Sales and Marketing by providing them with access to the information needed to perform their jobs effectively. Marketing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools such as Salesforce and SugarCRM maintain customer and prospect records in one place to be accessed by both teams.
Another way to foster collaboration is through:
- Shared metrics – when using similar metrics, both teams can create attainable goals that unify them. To avoid misinterpreting data that may be delineated by different team terminology, map the buyer’s journey with input from all functions within an organization, then standardize the information through a standard set of metrics and associated terms so that all are using the same scale to measure data.
- Content – identifying the right content to lure prospective customers is key to moving through the sales funnel. Sales can leverage their expertise and intimate knowledge of the customer to help boost contents’ significance.
- Updating buyer personas – These may be a useful tool for marketing campaigns but will be more accurate and nuanced when developed with insights from Sales.
Sales and Marketing makes an effective pairing when each function’s roles and responsibilities are defined, respected, and open, honest communications is the rule. When aligned, the collective contribution of each to an organization’s bottom line is unbeatable!