Every year, businesses lose $1 trillion of potential revenue due to decreased sales productivity and wasted marketing efforts caused by sales and marketing misalignment! That's a trillion with a "T." Let that sink in for a second. Wow!
Despite their common goal of driving sales, marketing and sales teams often don't get along. This can be due to differences in thinking on strategies, tactics, and overall objectives. As a result, organizations can miss out on all the benefits of aligning their teams, including increased ROI and increased agility when responding to market changes. In this blog post, we will:
- Discover the benefits of great sales and marketing alignment,
- Examine why marketing and sales don't always see eye to eye, and
- Explain a very simple, practical, yet highly efficient way to unite both teams behind a common goal (your customer) to ensure they work together more effectively.
By the end of the article, you will understand why sales and marketing alignment is crucial in today's highly competitive marketplace and how you can fix it.
Top 5 Benefits Of Sales & Marketing Alignment
Because a potential customer (from their point of view) interacts with a single company rather than with individuals from separate departments, they expect to have a seamless, consistent, and pleasant experience. Achieving this has a tremendous impact on your close rates, revenue, and even customer loyalty.
- Aligning marketing and sales can increase lead generation by 67%, resulting in more conversions and higher business revenues, according to Marketo.
- Marketing and sales alignment can result in a 20% revenue growth rate on average, according to a survey by Gartner.
- When marketing and sales are in sync, it results in 36% higher customer retention rates and a 70% higher likelihood of purchase, according to HubSpot research.
- According to McKinsey, when sales and marketing are aligned, organizations can shorten their sales cycles by 16%.
- A prospect who has read 30+ pages of sales enablement content before a sales appointment has an 80% chance of closing, according to research conducted by Impact, an elite sales and marketing training firm.
In summary, the benefits are more high-quality leads, shorter sales cycles, higher close rates, increased revenue, and happier customers.
Top 10 Reasons Why Sales & Marketing Teams Are So Often Misaligned
Despite the tangible business value of aligning both departments, most sales and marketing teams can't see eye to eye. The ten most common reasons for this are as follows:
- Different views on how best to engage customers: Sales teams tend to send a blanket response containing an immediate pitch, while marketing would prefer to see the sales team give more individualized responses (e.g., I saw that you downloaded this. Do you have a question I can help you with?).
- Lack of clarity on roles and objectives: Each team is unsure of its individual roles, resulting in an overlap of responsibilities that creates confusion and challenges. For example, is it the responsibility of the marketing team to follow up on incoming inbound leads?
- Poor communication: Without clear and regular communication, both teams can become unaware of the other's objectives, leading to misalignment.
- Different perspectives: Sales teams tend to have a short-term focus, while marketing teams tend to be more long-term oriented. This difference in perspective can lead to misalignment between the two teams.
- Misunderstanding needs: Each team has different needs and may misunderstand what the other team is looking for, leading to misalignment in priorities.
- Unclear leadership: Without strong leadership from management, it can be difficult for sales and marketing teams to collaborate effectively and stay aligned with each other's goals.
- Lack of cohesive buyer persona/ICP definition across teams: For example, marketing is usually focused on brand-building and demand-generation campaigns based on their own buyer persona and ICP research. At the same time, sales will often do mass prospecting based on their own definition of whom they should talk to.
- Different systems and tools used by each team: Without a Customer Relationship Management platform like HubSpot CRM at the core of all communication, alignment will be impossible.
- No clearly defined handover process: Often, companies have a CRM in place but aren't taking the time to map out their lead generation and sales process clearly. This leads to a muddled handover between sales and marketing.
- Lack of trust between the two teams: Sales blames marketing for the insufficient number and quality of inbound leads coming through the website and other marketing channels. In contrast, marketing complains about sales not following up on the leads they do produce. Both accuse each other of not doing their jobs right and, therefore, lose trust in each other.
Fixing such deep organizational friction won't happen overnight and requires strong leadership, a mutually agreed-upon goal to rally behind, and an organizational structure that makes it all come together. That's where the revenue team comes in.
What Is A Revenue Team?
The idea of a revenue team is very simple:
Definition: The revenue team consists of representatives from sales and marketing who collaborate consistently and regularly to create helpful, educational content that can be used across the sales process aimed to educate the buyer proactively.
There are two other important terms you should know in the context of revenue teams:
Definition: Sales Enablement Content can be defined as content specifically created to answer all generic questions buyers usually have, making them more educated and faster to close. It also frees up the sales team to home in on specific questions to add value.
Definition: Assignment Selling is the skillful process of the salesperson assigning sales enablement content at strategic points in the buyer's journey with the goal of proactively educating the buyer. This can consist of educational content (video, text, or audio) at different points in the sales process to proactively answer questions and address concerns buyers have.
Did you know that 88% of sales pros who use sales enablement content feel that it moderately to extremely contributes to making a sale, resulting in higher sales performance than their peers? Yet, 76% of content marketers forget about sales enablement in their marketing efforts. This is a great way to jump-start your sales and marketing alignment as it results in immediate ROI, incentivizing both teams to collaborate more closely.
How A Revenue Team Works
Your revenue team hosts regular revenue content brainstorming sessions — usually every two weeks, but you can also find a cadence that works better for your team. One to two days before the next brainstorming session, your in-house content manager sends out bi-weekly revenue content updates (via email, Basecamp, or however else you communicate) covering the following three points in detail:
- What assignment selling content (written and video) has been published since the last meeting, and how valuable was it?
- What assignment selling content (written and video) is currently in the content production pipeline, and when is it expected to be published?
- How has the already-published assignment selling content performed for sales?
In the meeting, you will go over these points briefly to highlight specific achievements or shine the light on someone's contribution, but the meat of the bi-weekly revenue team meeting is to hold a brainstorming session to come up with new revenue content ideas. For this, you will discuss the following question: What questions are buyers currently asking that we have not addressed in a piece of content but should?
To get to the bottom of it, try digging deeper by asking follow-up questions:
- What questions do you get asked that immediately indicate that a buyer isn't yet ready to decide?
- What do your clients and buyers push back on the most?
- What are your buyer's biggest doubts and worries (products, process, company)?
- What do your buyers have to convince the key decision-maker of?
Lastly, your in-house content manager should have 30-minute 1:1 meetings with every single sales team member every 90 days to have an opportunity to get further insights. It helps to ask questions like:
- How often are you using this content in the sales process?
- What specific challenges or barriers stop you from using content in the sales process?
- What opportunities have you spotted where we could use an assignment in the sales process?
- and so on.
Aligning sales and marketing teams has clear benefits for businesses. Sales cycles can be shortened, more deals can be closed, and customer satisfaction with the buying process increases. To take advantage of these benefits, organizations must ensure that both teams are aligned in their strategies and objectives.
One way of achieving this is by creating a revenue team that meets regularly to brainstorm and report on the success of sales enablement content. This ensures that sales heavily influences marketing's editorial calendar, actively contributes to content creation, and uses the produced content to educate buyers proactively. When sales and marketing are working together effectively, there is a greater chance of success for any business venture.
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