Transform Growth with Sales and Marketing Alignment
A shared system of communication, strategy and goals, sales and marketing alignment enables your revenue engine to operate as a unified organisation, to deliver high-impact marketing activities and boost sales effectiveness to drive increased revenue growth.
As our reliance on technology to inform and shape our purchasing decisions continues to grow, consumers expect high-quality information and a seamless customer experience throughout all stages of the buying journey. Yet misalignment between sales and marketing remains common across all industries, meaning many businesses are at a disadvantage in today's connected marketplace.
This misalignment can not only cause revenue growth to stagnate but in some cases even decline, with studies revealing that those companies reporting strong sales and marketing alignment are 67% better at closing deals (Marketo) and enjoy 36% higher customer retention rates (MarketingProfs). With Forrester reporting that just 8% of companies have strong sales and marketing alignment, an opportunity exists for those organisations willing to invest the time into sales and marketing alignment (also coined smarketing). So how do you make this a reality for your organisation?
1. Lead by Example
As with any change initiative, leadership buy-in is critical for success. Where both top leaders are focused on alignment there will be a notable trickle-down effect to direct reports. Where management meets regularly to discuss strategy, explore opportunities for growth and celebrate cross-functional wins it becomes clear that alignment is not only encouraged, but expected.
In addition, consider the role of onboarding in supporting sales and marketing alignment. By baking this alignment into the onboarding process you can turn new starters into strong advocates for sales and marketing alignment, something which will help convert those who may be slightly more resistant to this change.
2. Establish Shared Goals
A cornerstone of aligning any group is the creation of a shared goal. And while sales and marketing teams share a common end goal, sales and revenue growth, differences in how they get there and the KPIs for success can further divide these two teams.
Build on this by working together to define the sales and marketing strategy. Use this as an opportunity to create cross-functional campaigns or initiatives and to identify potential bottlenecks or barriers to conversion. By working together to tackle challenges and define strategy, your sales and marketing functions will better understand how they can work together to achieve a shared business goal.
3. Facilitate Communication
In addition to a shared goal, open honest communication is essential for sales and marketing alignment. After all communication disconnect and further divide sales and marketing functions. Consider establishing a liaison from each team who acts as the bridge ensuring communication flow is maintained, or establish regular meets to share customers, discuss processes or share information on upcoming campaigns.These regular sessions can provide invaluable insights to better shape future communications and collateral.
Friction is natural and while uncomfortable, it can prove necessary for growth. Just ensure that any feedback remains respectful and honest. Doing so feedback will empower your sales and marketing team to challenge the status quo and make the right decisions for the business moving forward, rather than reverting to the easy or default choice.
Some ways to facilitate this communication include organising social events to establish rapport between both departments or simply reshuffling the office set-up to bring both teams together in a shared office space.
4. Use Integrated Sales & Marketing Tools
With transparency an essential component of building trust, consider how your organisation currently handles sales and marketing data. Is information centralised in an all-in-one sales and marketing solution or do both teams use standalone systems to support their day-to-day operations?
Leveraging tools such as Dynamics 365 your sales and marketing team can combine all customer data into a singular system. The result is a holistic view of the entire customer journey and improved information flow between departments. The sales team can quickly and easily identify the touch points which drove customer conversations to prioritise leads, while the marketing team can take a deeper dive into customer and sales conversations to identify opportunities for content development and address commonly raised questions or concerns.
5. Create Content for The Whole Funnel
While lead generation is an admirable place to start, the reality is that most customers are almost two-thirds through the buying cycle before they even speak to a salesperson. Providing the right content to the right people at the right time is therefore essential to keep your brand front and centre through all stages of the buying journey.
But content generation should not be viewed as solely a marketing task, customer insights shared by the sales team can help shape the content, to provide even greater customer value. Likewise, a strong website can pull in leads, but converting them will require a compelling sales deck. By getting both teams to work together and clearly communicating the value of each customer touch point, your team can create stronger collateral that can not only support the buying journey but drive cross-sell and upsell opportunities going forward.
To learn how D365 can help your business better align sales and marketing, register now for our upcoming webinar "Power Up Marketing with D365".