Sales and Marketing can share the best camaraderie or have the worst rivalry. When these two functions support one another it could result in increased revenue, with the sales team meeting more than their targets generating overall higher revenue with the marketing teams drawing up campaigns with consistently higher ROI. On the other hand these could be extremely uncooperative, working in silos resulting in duplication of effort, loss of resources, time and effort.
As an ex-salesperson and a current marketer I feel a lot has got to do with the different incentives these teams have to meet that results in the big rift. As a sales person I remember the terror that filled me up closer to the month end while having none of that as a marketer was a pleasant surprise. Although the month end madness was replaced with a consistent need to ensure marketing campaigns engaged audiences, encouraged them to take action and of course not to forget ‘proved the ROI’ of doing them in the first place.
Understanding the benefit that each department brings to the business is key to be able to work collaboratively. It won’t be wrong to say that marketing teams often feel the sales teams are wasting the leads they are handing over to them; while the sales team thinks that there aren’t getting quality leads in the first place. Sharing accountability and understanding each other’s pain points will certainly help both teams complement each other. If only the marketing team feels the same rush of adrenaline when targets are met they would bring in their fierce creativity and color the town red!
So, how can they work together?
Understanding and sharing all data
It is important that both teams understand the data being collected. If the sales team cannot make use of the data collected by marketing folks, and instead need other parameters which marketing does not think important, then the entire data gathering exercise is a waste of time. Also if one team is collecting data that the other cannot access or use, then that is not going anywhere. It is proven that unlimited access to data by both marketing and sales team can lead to greater insights into customer behavior enabling better customer engagement.
Get the customer profile right
It is surprising to see how many organisations get this wrong. If the marketing team does not share with the sales guys the type customer profile it intends to target, then the sales team would continue working independently on those set of people they think are to the business, which may significantly differ. This could be extremely disruptive to the process of reaching common organisational goals.
Understanding the customer life cycle and the all important FUNNEL
Marketing can be used to target customers at each stage of their life cycle. Sales teams need to make the marketing teams aware of these stages, the pain points if any within these stages and or any opportunities that could encourage customers to turn into loyal clients. When both the sales and marketing teams understand the customer life cycle, they can work towards improving processes that convert prospects when pushed down the sales funnel into a loyal client.
Collaborate and co-operate
Sales folks often use various tactics to close a deal, like offering discounts that are valid until a certain time limit. Lets say marketing teams also undertake a campaign to launch a new product or service around the same time. These two diverse approaches towards different products and services could work against each other and not really benefit anyone. Hence it is important that these two teams undertake campaigns with a collaborative approach and cop-operate with one another.
Bad leads? There isn’t any such thing
There is nothing as a bad lead. It only means that they need more nurturing. Sales team should explain why they think the leads are not fit. Handing them over to marketing and allowing them to be developed and nurtured through appropriate campaigns until they are ready to be converted will certainly go a long way.
Share activity schedules
It is important that the marketing team knows what the sales teams are working on so their activities are supported rightly. For example, if the sales team is focusing on converting leads in a particular geographical region, marketing could support by running geo-specific campaigns online and offline. Similarly it is important that the sales teams know what the marketing schedules focus on so they can spread the word about it when they are out in the market. For example, if the marketing team is working on promoting an event later in the year, it is important that the sales teams are equipped with all the information they need to talk to their leads about this proposed event ensuring the message is spread far and wide, and of course to the right audience when they are out in the field. This joined up approach often results into a far better enriched customer experience.
Let content do its magic
There is a reason for a marketing team and for a sales team to be separate, purely because of the skills they bring, Once leads are established it is best marketers get involved early on to engage them without an overly ‘salesy’ content for the fear of turning them away. Understanding the leads and their needs will certainly prove beneficial rather than to convert them. Once they become warm or hot leads showing enough interest, that is when the sales team should play its move and maximize.
It is like the offense and the defense of Football. When sales and marketing don’t respect the inherent differences there are problems that will arise. When the top order sets clear objectives to each department giving different performance targets for these very differently functioning teams things will go hand in hand and happily ever after…