Sales and Marketing TrainingSales Enablement

Healthy Competition Is Good, but It’s Time to End the Sales and Marketing Feud

Although you might not admit it to HR, sometimes a tiny bit of rivalry crops up between sales and marketing. These two teams share close quarters, but at times, they seem to come from different planets, speaking different languages and with different goals and expectations.

It can be challenging to uncover this rivalry, even more so to acknowledge and admit that a culture of difference is thriving in your organization. But pay attention, and you’ll see that blame is common in siloed teams. Marketing teams will blame sales teams for mismatched, poor-performing content. Sales teams will blame marketing teams for poorly nurtured leads (MQL versus SQL). Besides these internal affairs, economic and cultural strains undermine both marketing and sales efforts and push teams even further apart.

While the daily business of marketing and sales teams involves vastly different tasks, both groups of people should be working toward a common goal. Sales and marketing teams should strive to work together to help your company sustain growth, gain revenue, and exceed customer expectations. However, this common goal is often forgotten, and many organizations need help finding alignment — or at least common ground — between sales and marketing.

What Does Your Business Have to Gain From Sales and Marketing Alignment?

First and foremost, aligning your sales and marketing strategies can help your organization achieve sales success. If you’re unsure how, let’s break it down one by one, starting with marketing.

Your marketing team’s job is to get eyes and ears pointed at your organization and its endeavors, bring leads into the world of your products and services, and get customers excited about what you have to offer. For this to work, the marketing team must target the correct audience and provide them with the content and messaging necessary to spark engagement with a particular product or service. However, without alignment with the sales team, this targeting tends to be vague and inaccurate.

Your sales team can help marketing create more qualified leads and sales-ready prospects. Sales expertise can also provide the information needed to align content with your target audience and ensure you have all-around messaging alignment.

How can marketing support sales in return? Marketing provides a steady stream of leads. As your sales team further qualifies and nurtures those leads, feedback gets passed back to the marketing team. Then, the whole cycle starts again, becoming more and more refined.

A greater union between sales and marketing also ensures that both teams are working together to drive conversions so that the sales team can focus on closing deals instead of dealing with unqualified leads.

Alignment between sales and marketing teams can lead to 32% higher revenue and help companies retain 36% more customers.

Abstrakt Marketing Group

With better alignment, sales teams can also close bigger deals and increase the customer base to include more people, which will contribute to brand growth overall.

When marketing and sales teams work together, they can develop and deliver a more unified customer experience. Together, they create a customer experience that makes more sense and drives people more definitely toward a sale. Alignment throughout sales and marketing processes helps create a united front and a cohesive message, which can increase brand awareness and trust with potential buyers.

How Can You Bring Sales and Marketing Together for Better Company Alignment?

So, you want to achieve a greater state of harmony in your team and benefit from the business boost that true collaboration can bring. One significant way of doing that is to promote better alignment between sales and marketing teams. Ease the division, break the siloes, and see how much your talented employees can learn when they’re working together.

The following three strategies can help sales and marketing teams put aside their differences and combine their talents towards more intuitive and successful projects:

1. Establish a set of shared goals and objectives.

Setting clear and comprehensive objectives is one of the areas that historically separate sales and marketing teams. This division is likely caused because sales and marketing goals are usually quite different, requiring distinct metrics, benchmarks, and KPIs to be tracked and varied wins to be celebrated. But if you can encourage a culture of goal-sharing in your company, sales and marketing teams can find greater crossover in their work and actually make each other’s jobs easier and more rewarding.

Setting these shared goals might take more time and effort than setting internal team objectives because different roles will need to share their own priorities first. Conversations will allow each team to understand the other’s needs and explain why certain KPIs are essential to their processes.

The most important thing about shared goals is that they open up other modes of sharing. Shared goals mean shared analytics, shared experimentation and evaluation, and even shared success when things work out. This sense of collaborative accomplishment works to bond and bind your team in greater union going forward.

By creating shared goals and objectives, sales and marketing teams can work together to ensure they are on the same page and working toward the same outcome.

2. Host regular cross-functional team meetings.

Divisions between sales and marketing functions can grow and stagnate because the teams’ daily routines are so different. They rarely interact except when something goes wrong. Consequently, they don’t develop the shared language needed to work together effectively or even want to.

Regular meetings will help cultivate this shared language. A weekly or even daily check-in meeting keeps sales and marketing employees on the same page about who their customer is and reminds both teams of their shared and unshared goals, as well as their priority actions for that day. These meetings will also give teams greater visibility into problem areas. A regular check-in provides an opportunity to catch a problem, troubleshoot it then and there, and nip it in the bud before people have a chance to get offended and start the blame game.

Cross-functional meetings can also continue giving even after the fact. You can use them to create a weekly newsletter or digest report to keep teams connected during the working week when things get hectic. What could you share from your cross-team meetings? News? Ideas? Problems and pain points? Inside jokes?

Meetings serve as ways to allow teams to huddle over strategy and discuss means for success. They also play vital roles in bringing people together culturally. Give marketers and salespeople a social pit stop where they can share work tales, life news, complaints, celebrations, and any number of other topics to foster workplace communication.

3. Collaborate on data-sharing to inform strategy.

By leveraging data, both teams can have a better understanding of customer needs and preferences, as well as what’s working and what isn’t. This data can then be used to inform future strategies and help the teams make better decisions.

If there is one thing that both sales and marketing can agree on, it’s data. Data is critical to both roles and connects sales and marketing teams to higher degrees of accuracy and control over their results. For sales teams, data adds detail to customer calls and relationships, helping them convert leads. For marketing teams, data adds context to content, helping them build more of the campaigns that work.

Just imagine what good you can do for your company by bringing sales and marketing data together, using one to enlighten the other.

Data collaboration can help you develop a cross-functional strategy. A sales-supported marketing strategy is a working document that defines how sales and marketing will operate, what they’ll measure, what tools they’ll use, and what their objectives will be to grow their business and increase revenue. This document makes working together and continuing to work together easier. Plus, it can diminish the kinds of misunderstandings and complaints that come from not having a clear authority to work from.

Building Teamwork Between Sales and Marketing at Long Last

Teams are so used to being disconnected, going about their respective days, progressing along their different timelines, working toward their individual goals, and celebrating them — separately. But just because this is how they’ve done business so far doesn’t mean it’s the way they must continue to work going forward.

Learning about how sales and marketing teams can aid each other for the overall good of the business is the first step. Fostering alignment can make marketing tasks more manageable, allow sales tasks to be more successful, nurture higher-quality leads, and provide a more unified and pleasing experience to your audience, visitors, and customers. The bottom line is that this kind of alignment has an immediate and lasting impact on your revenue.

What if you got so good at recognizing what sales and marketing have to offer one another that you started plotting your whole brand strategy with alignment in mind? What if sales and marketing people came to work expecting to meet each other for coffee and chat about the combined project they’re working on? Sure, a little healthy rivalry can be fun, but you won’t miss it when you have a more collaborative and supportive atmosphere to look forward to every day.

Amie Milner

Amie Milner is the executive vice president of sales enablement at Abstrakt Marketing Group, a business growth company that provides lead generation solutions.

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