Teamwork. Every highly successful team gets just how important it is to propelling an organization forward. When true teamwork exists, all players are in lockstep.
Just like in sports, every player must be consistently in sync in each play for a maximum result. And the proverbial chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
So goes a company's sales and marketing efforts, which all too often operate in silos within a company. Sales teams often don't see tangible value in marketing's work product and find marketing messaging inconsistent with their "real world" experiences with customers. Many a marketing team harbors frustration that the sales team doesn't leverage the tools it provides or value its contributions to the company. And typically neither defines their company's sales strategy in the same way.
It is a common challenge that's imperative to course correct, if your company is to realize its full potential. Oracle reports that a recent Aberdeen Research study found that companies which are best in class at aligning sales and marketing experienced a 20 percent annual revenue growth compared to a 4 percent decline by those out of alignment.
Alignment begins with a common understanding of your marketplace and your firm's position in it, which can be accomplished via research. Research your customers, prospects and influencers to understand how they see your company compared to competitors, where your brand is strong and weak in comparison, and what it will take for you to ultimately win and retain their business -- from product adjustments to messaging changes to marketing delivery channels likely to break through.
Armed with these common truths about your company, next establish common definitions for every step in the sales cycle and clarify each team's role in contributing to those steps. After all, both the sales and marketing team's ultimate role is to contribute to the sales funnel and help advance prospects through the sales cycle.
As an example, how do you define a lead, a qualified lead, and an opportunity? Is marketing's role simply lead generation? What role does marketing play in ensuring leads generated are qualified? Is the sales team also responsible for generating leads? If so, what lead generation activities are most effective and therefore the focus? What messaging, informed by the research, does everyone agree resonates most with prospects?
Equipped with consumer research, shared definitions and clear roles, next determine how you'll measure success for each member of your sales and marketing team. Also create collective marketing and sales team targets reported via a monthly dashboard to all, along with best practices in sales and marketing collaboration that ideally spur others. And finally, establish joint sales and marketing team growth projects allowing participating employees to see the business from the other's perspective.
Lori Turner-Wilson can be reached at www.redrovercompany.com.