“It has been my experience that sales teams are like an abusive spouse. When things are tough, they want to beat on somebody either it is marketing or development, but when they really need something they are as sweet as honey”, says Mitch Medford (CEO, Blood Shed Motors). Does it ring a bell? Well, sales-marketing relationship can be rocky, but you can make it much easier.
Aberdeen reports that companies that were better at aligning marketing and sales show an average of 32% growth in annual revenue, compared to a 7% decline in organizations lacking this alignment. But if cooperation between departments is crucial, why is this relationship difficult?
There are 4 reasons:
(1) over-complicated indicators of success,
(2) overall communication problems in the company,
(3) incoherent idea of qualified lead (resulting in passing leads too quickly to sales), and
(4) troubles with software.
1. Have common language based on a couple of relevant KPIs
One of the crucial problem is lack of common language. How do we measure our performance? What do we want to achieve? How should we operate? Many companies try to address it with increasing the number of data and KPIs they work on, what results in developing over-complicated, unfriendly evaluation system that serves nobody.
Too many KPIs is a common mistake – in that situation you lose crucial, critical, well, key indicators in the flood of other less relevant data. In order to communicate efficiently, you need a clear and simple system of common points you can easily measure.
2. Develop culture of dialogue
Problems with sales – marketing cooperation might stem from general troubles with communication in the company. According to an SMB communications study, “poor internal communications cost businesses $26,041 per employee per year in lost efficiency”.
It takes time to develop an organizational culture that promotes good communication, dialogue and giving feedback. You can’t do it overnight, but systematic work on establishing new standards and boosting vertical as well as horizontal communication will pay off.
For starters consider providing useful communication tools. We recommended you Slack already, but you might as well pick something else (our list of free online tools for business might be helpful). Measure how applying new communication tools impacted employees productivity and sales.
3. Create Buyer Persona to build common concept of lead
When it comes to Lead Nurturing, the main problem is definition of qualified lead and passing leads to sales too quickly. It’s one of the most common Lead Nurturing mistakes and we have already discussed how it can harm your results (you seem to shove the product down customer’s throat instead of educating and building relationship, what Lead Nurturing is about). But today let’s focus not on customers’ perspective, but on salespeople. Such leads waste their time and opportunities to close a deal. It forces them to conducting unproductive and difficult conversations with people who simply aren’t ready for such discussions and can react in a very unpleasant way, what causes a lot of negative emotions.
Use Buyer Persona (we prepared a free ebook on that subject) to develop one coherent concept of ideal customer, define qualified lead and moment when it should be passed to sales.
Remember also that funnel can be a two-way road: when your lead turns out not to be ready yet, issue Lead Recycling campaign.
4. Integrate Marketing Automation and CRM
It’s almost impossible to imagine sales department’s work without CRM, and marketers without their automation software. Both tools are crucial and complimentary. You can find Marketing Automation Platform that offers also CRM (as SALESmanago – thanks to that both departments share the same picture of situation) or integrate CRM with automation software.
Remember: improve your sales-marketing cooperation with simple and clear evaluation system, developing communication-friendly environment, creating buyer Persona and synergy of your software.
PS. Actually a little bit of tension and rivalry between sales and marketing is healthy!