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4 Strategies to Unify Sales and Marketing for Sustained Growth

By Carey Madsen, Vice President, The Fletcher Group

Sales professionals today are up against rising customer acquisition costs and a highly competitive environment, making prospecting increasingly difficult. Improving the alignment between sales and marketing is one crucial strategy to overcome these obstacles. Yet, sales and marketing teams often work in silos or only communicate on an ad hoc basis, resulting in higher costs, longer sales cycles, and lower conversion rates that stifle a business’s growth potential.

More than ever, sales and marketing teams need these four key strategies to unify their work and establish robust communication channels, routines, and joint planning sessions for enhanced collaboration. By synchronizing strategies from brand awareness to lead gen to closing deals and retaining customers, both teams can meet their objectives and work towards shared success and business growth together.

1. Align On Shared Goals and KPIs

A pivotal step in sales and marketing alignment is collaborating on shared goals, including KPIs that are crucial for both teams. This includes setting joint targets for customer acquisition, revenue, lead generation, and retention metrics. It’s important to work together on establishing criteria for marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs), metrics that are likely independently on each team’s radar. This helps ensure both teams can take joint responsibility and credit for the sales process and outcomes.

Lead quality will improve when marketing performance is tied to sales conversions. Similarly, your sales team can leverage takeaways from marketing campaigns to better resonate with its leads and understand their decision-making process, which can help improve the lead nurture process. Tasks may be divided along departmental lines, but working toward shared KPIs and reporting outcomes to the C-suite reinforces joint accountability over the sales cycle and results.

2. Collaborate On Buyer Personas

As a sales leader, you and your team know better than anyone that understanding your buyers is paramount. And that work never ends, as there is plenty of data to capture, analyze, and work from at each level of the sales funnel. This is where marketing and sales alignment can really shine. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, both teams should understand the total addressable market (TAM) or marketable universe and work together on co-creating detailed buyer personas. Working together on buyer personas benefits marketing, too, as they need accurate, detailed information to get their campaign targeting and messaging right—and there’s little room for error as lead acquisition costs continue to rise.

To create these profiles, your sales team should work closely with marketing to combine intelligence and distill the prospects’ firmographics, demographics, pain points, decision-making habits, preferred content, online behavior and more at every stage in the buyer journey.

Both teams bring something different to the table here. Sales colleagues will contribute valuable qualitative data from direct customer feedback and on-the-ground insights, while marketing will have quantitative data from social, website and content engagements and primary targeted research campaigns or secondary research. This joint effect will allow you to focus on the buyer segments most likely to convert and identify personalization strategies to attract and nurture the right leads effectively.

Read More: SalesTechStar Interview with Laura Zwahlen, Chief Revenue Officer at NextRoll

3. Champion Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is another area where marketing and sales can collaborate. Typically, sales enablement materials are created by the marketing team as a way to highlight a brand’s valuable owned content and media wins. Marketing teams will package these up as easy-to-personalize sample emails or social media posts with trackable links driving back to the website. The sales team can use the template as an engagement point for prospects or to help maintain existing customers.

If your marketing team already provides sales enablement materials, champion them and encourage your colleagues to use them. If not, talk to your marketing team about the potential. Emphasize how these tools can help achieve mutual goals by driving website traffic and boosting engagement with marketing materials while also enhancing the sales and nurture process.

4. Prioritize Ongoing Collaboration

The overarching lesson to be learned is that the work between sales and marketing should never stop. You should have continuous feedback loops to discuss progress from high-level goals to specific campaigns, leveraging the unique vantage point that both teams have in the sales funnel.

For example, when kicking off a content campaign, your sales team can advise on certain messaging that resonates well with that audience group to help guide the content creation. Then, once the campaign is live, you can share timely feedback on the quality of leads, how the nurture process is going, and any pain points that have been shared by the prospects. Marketing will be able to share insights into market trends, customer preferences and helpful data on audience engagement.

Remember to also discuss the state of the collaboration itself and what’s helpful or not in the partnership to further streamline the partnership. This ongoing partnership is also hugely helpful when business priorities inevitably change, ensuring both teams can quickly share learnings and adapt to remain agile and responsive.

Aligning sales and marketing efforts is essential for businesses to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. By embracing these four strategies, organizations can dismantle silos, enhance efficiency, and drive growth.

Read More: AI Trends Redefining Sales and Marketing in 2024

Also catch: Episode 200 Of The SalesStar Podcast: B2B buying and selling habits with Raul Murguia, Sr Dir of Integrated Marketing for LinkedIn Sales Solutions

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