When I meet with companies to consult with them about lead generation, I'm amazed at the level of disconnect that still exists between their sales and marketing teams. Here are just a few of the common problems I see:
- The marketing department is creating content that is not relevant to the sales team's funnel.
- The sales team has no voice in what type of content gets produced.
- The marketing team in unaware of the sales team's revenue goals and which products they need to push to hit their targets.
- There's zero collaboration or joint projects.
However, I have also seen the alignment of sales and marketing that has finally started within a few forward-thinking companies after so many years of being estranged from one another.
Marketers need to work closely with sales so that their activities are directly attached with the revenue-hitting goals of the sales team.
Here are the ways to ensure that your sales and marketing teams are collaborating toward common goals in 2017.
Implement Social Selling
Social media has caused a blur in activities that are now both sales and marketing related, which has forced greater levels of alignment to begin occurring between the two departments in some companies.
Your sales team should be actively using social media by sharing the company content on their personal profiles. With more buyers using the Internet to seek out product information and reviews, inbound marketing has become a critical strategy within almost every company.
Marketing teams are creating content and sharing it regularly to the company-owned blog page and social media accounts via Twitter, Medium, LinkedIn, beBee, and Facebook. The problem I see in some companies is the sales team does not engage at all with the content marketing is producing.
The sales team should be encouraged to share the company posts on their personal social media pages.
Getting the sales team involved helps with the distribution of your company's content, increasing brand awareness and ultimately generating more leads.
The sales team should also participate in the content-creation process at some level to ensure the content is actually creating interest amongst prospects. Also, encourage your sales team to create their own content on social media. Salespeople are experts at knowing what problems exist within the marketplace and how their solutions can solve them. Give them a voice!
The marketing team should help distribute the content created by sales via the company social media pages when appropriate. Your salespeople are your company's best communicators and relationship builders with clients. Helping get them out in front of as many people as possible will build the company's brand.
Schedule Regular Meetings
In all my years of being in B2B sales for some of the most-well-known companies in the mobile technology sector, I never once had a meeting with the marketing team. In fact, most of the time we were housed in completely different buildings or areas of the country for that matter.
Sales and marketing should meet to review the sales team funnel and list of target accounts to help develop buyer personas for each vertical and discuss ways to reach them. The marketing team should always be in the loop of the sales team's revenue goals so that their activities can be directly attributed to the company's revenue streams.
Use an Effective CRM System
Feedback from sales is essential for marketing to be able to improve campaigns and generate more leads. An effective CRM will have the reporting features your company needs to track KPIs like:
- The percentage of leads being converted into sales.
- Determine the most effective content to produce.
- The best methods for follow up.
- A CRM with a two-way reporting system is critical for ensuring accountability from both teams.
It Takes a Shift in Culture
Sales and marketing have been separated for so long that it often takes an entirely new mindset by companies to implement change. The push must come from the top.
Sales and marketing should be working together to develop a lead-generation strategy for your company in 2017, period! Because once sales and marketing finally realize they are on the same team and begin to collaborate, it's a win/win for everybody in the company.