Historically speaking, sales and marketing have always had a difficult relationship. In 2015, this might change. In B2B, the close communication between marketing and sales teams is crucial for getting maximum value from the new buyer behaviors. B2B organisations, where marketing and sales aligned, achieved 27% faster profit growth within a 3-year period [SiriusDecisions].
87% of the terms sales & marketing use to describe each other are negative [Corporate Executive board Survey]. Sales complain that “marketing leads are terrible quality” while marketing teams complain that “sales doesn’t work our leads”. The issue stems from both teams efforts being completed without any regard for the other.
The cold, hard truth is that marketers need to put down their swords and sales need to open the paths of communication. Marketing efforts that are not dictated by sales goals are wasted labour. The most effective strategy begins by working backwards from sales. Let’s end the debate once and for all and get everybody on the same team. Team Revenue!
So get your teams communicating effectively! Here’s how:
Have Sales and Marketing Meet Frequently
Have a weekly Smarketing meeting that includes the entire sales and marketing team and use it to review the activity for the week for both teams. Update the sales team on what marketing is doing and vice versa. Frequent meetings will help keep the lines of communication open.
Mix Marketing and Sales Desks Together
At most companies the majority of communication and relationship building is informal, so it’s surprising that marketing and sales teams so often sit in different parts of the office. Simply putting the departments near each other is not enough; you still have two distinct groups who happen to be in close proximity.
What companies should do is mix sales and marketing together. Every marketer should sit next to a sales person and vice versa. Marketers will benefit from this as they get to see whether their activities are helping the salespeople or not. While sales gain the advantage of having someone they can ask questions about incoming leads and programs. The salespeople’s improved understanding of leads benefits marketing and the company as a whole as they can more effectively go after them and convert them into customers, increasing overall productivity and happiness.
Provide Many Types of Feedback Between Marketing and Sales
Feedback and trust between the teams is key to successful communication. Aim to make everyone in marketing and sales feel empowered to offer feedback. Provide opportunity for sales teams to leave feedback on marketing efforts such as rating their leads in a CRM system. Marketing people could be provided the opportunity to provide feedback on how the sales team is doing whilst you monitor the stats of your sale reps on their success with following up leads. This enables you to show them if they are not doing as well as the rest of the team.
Agree on Terminology
Communication requires the two parties to use similar language and vocabulary. Define your key terms so that they are universally understood. It may seem obvious what defines a “lead” or “opportunity” but if you know that your team has exactly the same understanding, this allows you to build them into the reports and culture of the company.
Use Data to Communicate
Finally, all of this communication between sales and marketing is built on the principle that data never lies. Numbers leave no room for miscommunication so take the emotion out of the smarketing equation and replace it with number-based goals and outcomes that are universally understood.
Smarketing starts with sales so have your teams work backwards from sales to determine what they require from the marketing department.
Start with your Revenue Goal and divide by your Average Deal Size to determine the number of customers your sales team requires. Let’s use the example of a $10,000 goal and an average deal size of $1,000. Therefore, 10 customers are needed to reach the revenue goal.
From this you can determine exactly how many leads your marketing team needs to generate to reach the customer goal. Just divide the Current Customers by Current Leads to determine the Average Lead to Customer Percentage. For this example let’s say the company successfully converts 2% of leads into customers. Take the number of customers you need (10) and divide that figure by your conversion percentage (2%). So, in this example the marketing team would need to generate 500 leads in order to help the sales team reach the revenue goal of $10,000.
Now go forth and get communication flowing for smart smarketing.