By their very nature, sales and marketing people are like oil and water. Sales people can talk fast, go with the flow, and are ready for any curveball. Marketing people are measured, process-driven, and rely on hard data to make informed decisions. So speaking purely by what mother nature intended, the two functions should not get along.

But for those companies that intentionally work to align these two repellent forces, the results can be dramatically effective. According to Marketo, aligning both departments can help to generate 209% more revenue from marketing. When the two teams work together, they can combine their knowledge and expertise, strive towards the same goals, and improve your bottom line. Better yet, companies that align their sales and marketing teams outperform their competitors - remember mother nature? 

Ok, sounds good. But, how can we align these competing forces that have so much animosity, yet so much potential? Let’s look at some sales and marketing alignment strategies that you can use.

Recreate the Customer Journey

Marketing and sales teams often define the customer journey differently. When you combine your sales and marketing efforts, you need to throw those journeys out the window and start fresh with a customer journey the two teams can agree on. Then the teams can track the journey together and discover and eliminate friction points that might occur. Utilize technology such as a CRM to define and follow the customer journey.

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Define the Ideal Lead

Lack of quality leads is a concern for salespeople across the board. You can address that problem by having your sales and marketing teams define the ideal lead. This will help the marketing team better qualify leads before giving them to the sales team. Then it will be much easier for the sales team to close the deal. Your sales team will have a lot of information about what makes up a quality lead, but don’t discount the data the marketing team can provide. When you analyze both, you can more easily generate quality leads.

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Develop Buyer Personas Based on the Ideal Lead

Once you know who your ideal lead is, it’s time to develop buyer personas. Leads benefit the sales team, while personas mainly benefit the marketing team. However, when you put the two together, everyone wins. Since salespeople have hands-on experience with the people they serve, they can provide valuable information for developing buyer personas. That, combined with marketing data, will help your teams create personas that will benefit marketers.

RELATED POST: Manufacturer’s Guide: Creating your First Buyer Personas

Take a Marketing-First Approach

When sales and marketing teams operate separately, they handle tasks without thinking about the other side. Salespeople spend their days cold calling and emailing one set of potential customers, while the marketing team targets an entirely separate group. It doesn’t make any sense. Once you align the teams, take a marketing-first approach. Have the marketing team reach out to and warm leads. Then they can share the nurtured leads with the sales team to close the deal. This will improve your conversion rates dramatically.

Invite the Sales Team to Participate in Content Creation

Content creation is usually left to the marketing team, but your sales team has a lot to offer on this front. Because the sales team works with prospects, they can test ideas. The team can ask prospects if something interests them. They can also come up with ideas they think their prospects would like. Give them a seat at the table so your marketing team can create effective content.

Don’t Waste the Opportunity to Improve Sales

Instead of allowing the marketing and sales teams to function independently, make it your mission to align the two. You should notice an increase in all of your sales metrics shortly after the alignment. The two teams might drag their collective feet at the idea of working together at first, but it won’t take long for them to realize this is the best strategy for reaching and exceeding sales goals. Begin by holding a meeting to go over the plan and then incorporate it. Analyze the metrics, and you will see that this is the key to improve sales across the board. 

For help with both sales and marketing projects, contact the team at Ironmark. Our experts bring together skills in sales and marketing to help our clients with a wide variety of projects, and we can’t wait to work with you. 

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Written by Lynne Kingsley

Lynne Kingsley oversees the digital marketing client services team as well as the marketing strategy division for the company. Since joining the company in 2016, she has increased Ironmark’s digital presence by over 700%, establishing a new lead generation mechanism for the sales team. A certified inbound marketing professional and HubSpot agency partner, Kingsley has been helping companies transform their marketing function into fully diverse and streamlined growth engines since 2003. With agency and client-side work under her belt, Kingsley’s strategic experience spans both the B2B and B2C sectors. Prior to joining the Ironmark team, she served as in-house marketing director for several non-profit organizations. Kingsley is an honors graduate of the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communication at Syracuse University.
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