Aligning Sales and Marketing Part 1: The Easy Part
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
In my last post, I explored some of the often-mentioned but definitely not comprehensive list of challenges in aligning your sales and marketing strategies. (Have your own challenge? Drop me a line!)
Today, I’m going to tackle part 1: The Easy Part.
How easy, you ask? It all comes down to a conversation.
Can you, as a company leader, get your sales team and your marketing team in one big conversation together once a month or at least once a quarter? Step 1 is booking the conference room. Step 2 is thinking through what topics to discuss to make the most of everyone’s valuable time.
Who to have in the room:
Preferably not the managers and VPs - this should be a peer to peer conversation of front-line sales reps and the marketing staff who are actually developing and producing marketing materials. In a perfect world, you could have someone debrief leadership afterwards on any takeaways that are relevant for overall strategic direction. But ultimately, your goal is for these people to have a comfortable dialogue; no one should feel like they have to demonstrate their value, accomplishments, or represent what they are “supposed” to say based on what their supervisor expects of them.
For teams that are not aligned, be aware the conversation might drift toward a sense of competition, stepping on each others’ toes, or either team feeling challenged or threatened. Red Caffeine has found it works best to come in with an agenda and clear expectations for what each team is expected to contribute.
What your marketing team should learn from each point:
- This will inform our SEO and content strategy, and make our messaging more relevant.
- Here’s what’s working!
- Let’s answer this question before it’s asked.
- This qualification criteria needs to be incorporated in our hand-off to sales.
- Let’s build a profile and find more companies that are like this one.
- Our next project/revision to existing materials can meet this need.
Questions your marketing team should speak to:
- What campaign results can we share? What seems to be working? Why do we think that is?
- What customers/prospects are most engaged with our marketing efforts? Who is opening emails, filling out forms, and/or visiting our website every week?
- What are some of the competitors in our space talking about? Is it relevant to our business?
- What cool things are going on in our industry or within our company that our customers might care about?
- What opportunities do we see to grow business? Is there a new service or capability that seems to have buzz? Are there industries poised for growth where we might have a stake?
- What are some tools/resources that our sales team could use in their conversations with customers?
What your sales team should learn from each point:
- We just promoted this topic in our e-newsletter, and a lot of people responded well. I should reference that in my outreach.
- I should call these people or check to see if they’ve sent in work recently.
- Let’s make sure our customers know our capabilities and the unique value we add in areas where are competitors’ may have similar offerings.
- Our customers might not know about this big event/new regulation/recent innovation - it’s a good opportunity to reach out and add value to our conversations.
- I bet some of our current customers have divisions or capabilities in those areas. I will keep an eye out for opportunities and maybe ask my current contact for an introduction.
- Next time a customer asks about this, I can step them through this section of our website and/or send this resource to them.
Once a month, or even once a quarter, have your team compare notes in a way that respects that both teams are contributing to this process, both have valuable insights to share, and both can align their thinking to maximize their impact on the company’s growth.
And remember - this is the easy part, so keep the stakes low. This shouldn’t transform your business. What it should do is open some lines of communication, give everyone a little more insight, and make the overall process incrementally better.
Next up, part 2 - the part where you help me help you.
(Can’t wait? Drop me a line!)