There’s a lot of high level advice out there about why sales and marketing alignment is important but you’ve got to know how to actually implement that alignment, and it’s got to be deeper than “Communicate.” That’s why we’ve put together our top 5 tactics for nailing your company’s sales and marketing alignment.
Good Sales and Marketing Alignment Agrees on Personas
Before you do anything, you’ve got to shake hands on who your personas will be. Each department has a good deal of insights to bring to this conversation.
Sales talks to potential personas every day, getting a glimpse into what they may look like. Your marketing department is tracking trends that relate different audiences. The following are a few questions to kick off your discussion for chiseling out detailed personas for each member of the buying team:
- What kind of companies are we targeting?
- What kind of departments within those companies are important to us?
- Which titles within those departments will have an impact on the decision making process?
- What are their priorities, pain points, and deliverables?
As you answer these, you should come out with about three to five different personas you’ll want to target. Keep in mind that not all of these will be weighted the same and consider creating different tiers that rank your personas by importance.
For instance, one of your personas might be a C-level decision maker who directly weighs in on the ultimate buy. However, an operational member of that decision maker’s team deserves your attention and consideration, as they’ll have some influence on product/service selection and ultimate company buy in.
Align Behind Social Selling
Once you’ve established your personas and picked out your target audience, it’s time for your sales department to delve into the realm of social selling. A goldmine of information is waiting to be panned from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and whatever other platforms you deem most of your prospects are hanging out. While this can seem intensive, it doesn’t have to be. A quick skim of someone’s profile will show you trends in what your prospect is interested in. A glance and someone’s bio and a thirty second scroll down someone’s Twitter feed could tell you they’re a Bulls fan, an avid coffee drinker, or a parent. Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of your social team if you’ve got one.
But here’s the thing—all this info can’t go to die in a Word doc on your sales rep’s desktop. This valuable information should be communicated between marketing and sales. Pick a method that works for your team and stick to it. Marketing can then create variable resources and templates for the sales department to be able to insert that relevant information for a more personalized interaction with the target account.
Sales & Marketing Bridge Data Gaps
Even the best companies are going to have gaps. Gaps in data, gaps in content. But by working together, sales and marketing can help each other find the holes and fill them in for a better customer experience.
Holes in your data can be sneaky and ruin a perfectly good campaign. You may have a prospect in a preexisting ABM campaign that has since moved on to a new company without your marketing team’s knowledge. When your sales department delves in on LinkedIn and discovers the job switch, you save time and money, and can readjust your campaign accordingly.
Likewise, your sales department will have insights into gaps in your content that your marketing department simply can’t see. When the sales team is continually asked for creative ideas about how to use your product, or for a data sheet with a detailed outline of product features, they hold golden information. Bringing that info to marketing will result in new content that empowers the sales team to provide a relevant experience for the prospect.
Alignment Leads to Excellent Customer Experiences
With the buyer journey being more and more curated, the buyer’s expectation for flawless communication gets higher every day. That is why it’s imperative that your marketing and sales departments don’t send the same content over and over to targets—it hurts your brand image and comes across as outdated.
Use your a marketing automation platform to gain visibility into each prospect’s path through their journey and how they’ve already interacted with your marketing and sales.
Communicate Loudly, Clearly, and Often
This one is pretty simple. Dearest marketing, whenever you launch a campaign, please tell sales. Marketers’ entire roles center on the campaigns they great, and they’re so immersed in the campaign they can forget that not everyone knows what’s happening when. When a campaign kicks off, share it with sales and be sure to share all the content it includes. This empowers sales to use the same language and value propositions in their communication with the target accounts in the campaign. Your message becomes much more holistic and powerful as prospects are exposed to it over and over again.
Content isn’t the only area where you should sound the starting bell. Make sure that sales and marketing are both using the same metrics, or at least are aware of each other’s goals and when metrics start ticking.
When it comes to creating that actual content, nothing will set marketing up for success like sitting in on some of the sales calls that take place with prospects. Marketing can take the pain points, goals and motivations straight from the mouth of the potential buyer, turn around and craft extremely applicable content.
But remember, marketing can’t attend a sales call if they don’t know it’s taking place. Be sure to open up communication about when sales is holding calls and invite marketing to attend. Sharing whatever pertinent material sales already possess about the target with marketing before the call will help set them up for even more success.
Make a clear list of short term, long term and campaign specific goals. Sometimes marketing may have a really good reason for dialing back lead generation and focusing on retention or advocacy. Likewise, sales may have a hot account that could springboard into lots of future opportunities.
Getting your sales and marketing departments aligned will take time, and you’ll certainly have some kinks to work out. But keep at it. Following these 5 steps will definitely launch you in the right direction. Sales and marketing that’s well aligned will agree on personas, use social selling, fill in gaps, not repeat itself, announce campaign kickoff, and listen.