There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about better aligning sales and marketing teams in order to get better overall results. But even though the recurrence of this conversation has been a giant step in the right direction, HubSpot recently found that fewer than half of marketers would describe their companies' sales and marketing teams as "generally aligned."
This is a big problem, because this alignment is crucial to each of your departments’ optimization, and your company’s overall success. And it’s why the term “smarketing” was coined, which refers to a business’ intentional integration between sales and marketing.
Whether both of these key departments within your company are already collaborating - or not - here are a few more ways you might not have thought of in which marketing can help sales.
1. Provide the content your salespeople need.
Traditionally, marketing would handle external outreach and sales would handle direct outreach to prospects and customers. But this system wasn’t ideal; after all, salespeople are not professionals in design or messaging. So, the materials they’d create on the fly to send to customers would often not reflect company branding or be as effective as it could be.
Today, with the right blend of smarketing, sales teams can ask marketing to help them create the content they want to use at each stage of the customer journey. Then marketing can build and design these pieces in a way that’s on-brand and highly effective, and helps sales better nurture prospects and customers through their customer journey.
2. Deliver the best-qualified leads.
We all know about Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs), yet what we really should all be focusing on are Most Qualified Leads Overall (yes, we made that up). But in all seriousness, there’s been a historic problem of marketing sending leads to sales that are either low quality, or not at all ready to talk to sales - leading to frustration and ineffectiveness.
When your sales and marketing departments are in regular communication, working on lead criteria should be a joint activity. Sales needs to be clear about what they need to see in order consider a prospect truly qualified to move into their hands, and marketing needs to be truthful about how this new definition may impact their qualifying process. Once the criteria are defined and agreed upon, marketing will have exact guidelines to follow and can ensure every lead they pass over to sales is one they will be able to act upon.
3. Take care of internal education, too.
Internal marketing isn’t often talked about, but it’s every bit as important as external marketing. One of the pain points for sales teams is when their goals aren’t being hit, and the rest of the company doesn’t understand why or - worse yet - blames them without understanding the full context.
The marketing team is perfectly suited to keep the rest of the internal team informed about what’s going on in both marketing and sales. This helps prevent misunderstandings or assumptions before they take root and possibly damage the culture.
4. Exchange customer and product insights.
Part of the beauty of having marketing and sales working closely together is that each department has distinctly different perspectives into your customers and your products (or services).
Marketing will generally have more of a macro view of your buyers, often based on market research and personas. Sales, on the other hand, will have a micro - or more personal - view of your buyers, as they interact with them daily and see them on a human-to-human level. Having a dialogue about these different views will give each team greater understanding.
When it comes to your product (or service), your marketing team will know its general features and benefits, and how they can improve the lives (or work lives) of your customers as compared to what else is available in the market. Your salespeople will know your product well too (after all, they have to sell it), but they’ll also hear objections, complaints or other specific feedback directly from customers. There’s a lot to be gained by sharing these insights, back and forth, to better equip one another and see other perspectives.
5. Capture results - and celebrate wins together.
When there’s a division between marketing and sales, it’s only natural for one team to take credit when things go well or assign blame when they don’t - and vice versa. But when both teams are working together in true smarketing fashion, toward shared goals, you can improve your results and all share in the glory together.
Since your marketing team is likely engaging in some sort of marketing attribution, they should be able to tell you what’s been working and what hasn’t been - on the marketing and sales fronts (depending on how sophisticated they are). Rather than assuming, they can connect the dots conclusively. This helps to remove any subjective guessing and can help both departments get more efficient and effective over time.So, is your sales team relying on your marketing team as much as they can be? If not, contact us if you’d like help improving your sales and marketing alignment, marketing strategy or for other marketing tips.