8 December 2015
In part two of our ‘better together’ series, we look at the best methods to engage sales and marketing teams, and create a collaborative force to be reckoned with, within your organisation.
1. Start at the beginning
There are a number of opportune times throughout the year ideal for strategic planning. EOFY and the start of a new sales cycle are some examples. In many successful organisations, the lead up to a new year is a great time to start thinking about how sales and marketing teams can become strategic partners.
2. Create a calendar of planned events and promotions
Edging towards a new year, now is a great time to take a peek across the other side of the fence and see what’s happening for your sales or marketing counterpart. Is the company bringing in a new product line? Is it time to target a different segment ? Are there holidays and peak sales periods that are typically important for your market? This knowledge allows teams to forge a plan, effectively manage resources and gain visibility for the forthcoming year.
3. Share what you know
Both Sales and Marketing teams can plan ahead, but unless they are talking together and sharing this strategic information, then confusion and conflicts of interests can occur. Collaboration allows marketing to inform sales in advance of new promotions launches and offers they are intending to promote. While sales teams can talk about periods that are particularly busy, and highlight periods where promotional support would bring the biggest sales impact.
4. Seek to understand
Adopting a mindset that asks questions and really seeks to understand not only what the sales process is, but also who the customers are, what are the touch-points are in-between and how marketing can address their pain points will go the longest way. While the typical rule for sales is around ‘closing’, for marketers it’s important to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns. Asking sales directly how a promotion or campaign is working may bring some surprising insights.
5. Foster collaboration, transparency and trust
Yes, these are the ‘fuzzy’ buzzwords, but developing a sentiment of trust while difficult in some organisations is invaluable. An element of collaboration and transparency between the two functions means that ideas can be shared freely, as well as lessons from ‘the ground’ – i.e. what is actually selling. What works and what doesn’t. With increased collaboration, campaigns will receive more ‘by in’ from sales and team managers which will result in better execution of the marketing strategy.
6. Attend monthly meetings
Attend the monthly sales/marketing meetings and share a functional snapshot. Understanding what’s on the plate for teams as well as some of the pain-points allows marketing to understand what some of the key issues are in the day-to-day life of the sales professional. Informed, each hand now knows what the other is doing.
7. Give sales teams the ‘why?’
Sharing insights with sales teams as to why you have decided to target a particular segment, or implement a pricing structure will allow them to understand how a campaign serves to improve business. This is especially important where campaigns are more about brand strategy. When sales teams are clear on how they fit into the picture, you are likely to see a better outcome. Think effective emails, progress updates. The more that is understood, the less marketing teams are likely to encounter resistance.
8. Communicate the ‘how?’ clearly & share results
The best campaigns take into account the sales process, and customer touch points, targeting customers along the journey. Particularly if the campaign is ambitious, and untried, it is imperative that communications between teams are clear and easy to follow. K.I.S.S is the no brainer [Keep it Simple Stupid], keeping jargon to a minimum also helps. It is important to clearly articulate what the sales team needs to do.
9. Incentive you say?
We are talking about Sales here after all. A great way to engage sales with a campaign is to provide an incentive for reaching ambitious targets. This can help to serve the objectives on all sides if sales professionals are motivated to go above and beyond, with something to sweeten the deal.
10. Leads, leads, LEADS!
Perhaps THE most important element is how sales and marketing teams integrate and share leads. For example, an email marketing campaign can indeed be a database mailout, but its potential to convert into sales expands when data collected [such as open rates and click-throughs], are passed along in a timely manner to a sales teams who can follow-up with a targeted sales call. In an ideal scenario logged according to the campaign, gives marketing teams a visible and tangible ROI.
Sales and Marketing while different can make a wonderful pair. When the relationship is guided by a considered approach – they’re definitely better together.