In many organizations, it’s as though the sales team is out on an island by themselves.
The marketing team knows they are out there, and will throw them leads to keep the machine running, but there is little interaction between the two. When results aren’t where they need to be, the marketing team may accuse sales of being lazy and not working their “killer” leads properly, and the sales team might accuse marketing of providing crappy leads that could never end in a conversion.
This is where the concepts of sales and marketing alignment and sales enablement come in.
It’s no secret that the sales and marketing teams in any organization are what bring in and nurture new business, but if they don’t share common goals, information, materials, assets, and support, then there will always be a disconnect and results will never be truly optimized.
What does all this mean? It means both the sales and marketing teams need to remove their heads from their posteriors (you thought I'd say "asses" huh?), and work together in ways that may seem a little awkward at first.
Here are 5 ways to get the process started.
1 – Redefine the “Sales Lead”
Since most sales people rely on the leads given to them to perform their jobs effectively, it makes sense that the marketing department should pass along as much information as possible.
In the modern digital world, marketing teams routinely have access to deep buyer personas that go far beyond what was available in the past. Today, a qualified sales lead can include name, age, gender, hobbies, family status, job title, salary, food preferences, buying habits, online habits, the length of time spent on particular web pages…virtually any detail you want to extract.
With this kind of information, sales teams have a tremendous advantage.
2 – Create a Sales Enablement Strategy
Sales enablement is a relatively new term that refers to providing sales teams with all of the resources they need to make sales.
For the sales enablement process to work effectively, it can’t be a passing fancy that’s only given moderate attention. The organization needs to take a strategic approach and allocate both staff and budget to keeping sales and marketing in alignment, so the sales team always has the most relevant information.
Some features of a quality sales enablementstrategy may include coaching sessions, multi-level support, automated sales systems and in-depth training.
3 – Ongoing Analysis & Evaluation
Saying, “We are making sales and marketing alignment a priority,” and hoping it all falls into place will never work.
Once the strategy is in place, you need to know if it’s working, and be willing to make tweaks and adjustments along the way. Regular, ongoing analysis and evaluation of the sales figures and other metrics will keep both teams focused and streamline the process, so any actions that aren’t working can be thrown out.
4 – Implementing a Notification System
Keeping the sales team up to speed and part of the overall process is easier with notifications.
If a prospect takes an action that moves them further along in the buying cycle, the appropriate sales rep should be notified. This may include downloading a white paper or guide, watching a particular video, spending a longer time on individual pages of a website like your pricing page or another action considered important.
A basic email notification may be the simplest way, but there are other ways to notify depending on the tools or automation system your team uses.
5 – Have the Sales Team Help with Content Ideas
In the online world, the way that all this information is gathered and organized starts with content. This includes blog posts, websites, landing pages, ebooks, white papers, tips, articles, infographics, videos and anything else that provides useful information and contributes to the sales process.
Most of the time, sadly, the sales team has nothing to do with content creation, but for effective sales and marketing alignment, they should contribute their thoughts and ideas. After all, they are the ones that have direct contact with the customer and close the deal, so their insight and experience can be valuable tools when creating content ideas.
These are just a handful of ideas that will help the sales and marketing teams join forces and really start to dominate your industry.
When everyone is working together, sharing information and taking advantage of modern technology, there’s nothing that can’t be accomplished.
Until next time,
If you’d like to learn more about optimizing the sales process,
check out our Definitive Guide to Selling Better and Faster eBook.