Sales and marketing alignment is more important for your business than ever. Misalignment can create internal tension between your sales and marketing personnel, and at its worst, can be extremely costly in both wasted time and lost potential revenue. One of the most common things you’ll hear when sales and marketing are not properly aligned are sales reps complaining about the quality of sales-ready leads coming in from marketing, while marketing accuses sales of a lack of follow up with the leads presented. Meanwhile, your company is bleeding money and resources as more and more prospective sales slip through the cracks. If this isn’t enough justification, we’ll walk you through a few additional reasons you need to align your sales and marketing efforts right away.
Prevent or Repair Misunderstood Customer Personas
Salespeople are communicating with potential consumers every day; they have their finger on the pulse of your future customers. They are constantly responding to the questions people are asking about certain services or products, they know where there is confusion or dissatisfaction, and know which things are getting people really excited. Marketing is consistently testing and measuring, planning and implementing. They are trying to get ahead of the consumers using a ton of data and some feedback. Both sides of this equation are necessary in order to see a complete picture of what your target customer looks like. If sales and marketing operate completely separately, chances are, they are going to have different definitions of the typical or ideal customer, otherwise known as customer personas.
Why does that matter? Customer or buyer personas are the target demographic. If your marketing team is using only data, they’ll see a big part of the picture. However, if they are basing all of their decisions on numbers and algorithms and not hearing what consumers are actually saying or how they are responding to different information, they won’t have a complete picture. If your salespeople are communicating with consumers every day, but have no data on how the lead came in, salespeople will always be in a responsive position.
These types of misunderstandings will lead to wasted resources through incorrect targeting and unprepared salespeople which may send potential customers a different direction. According to MarketingProfs, “organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing functions experience 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates.”
Avoid a Segmented, Confusing, or Frustrating Customer Journey
Nothing scares a potential customer away faster than over communication from a company, especially if it is immediately after they decide to trust you and provide their information. As an example, say you sign up for a cool looking, new app, and within 5 minutes, you’ve received 3 emails, a phone call/voicemail, and a text message. Are you going to stick around to see what you just got yourself into or run away as fast as you can? This kind of aggressive behavior creates an immediate lack of trust and gives that person a negative image of your company before they even have much of an idea what you’re all about.
If sales and marketing aren’t aligned, they are most likely both handling a new contact, in their own ways, simultaneously. This is a waste of effort on your end and can lead to disjointed communication that is overwhelming or confusing to an interested consumer.
If you do have sales and marketing alignment, you can put into place systems that will allow marketers to send personalized messages using assigned salespeople’s names, taking some of the initial legwork off the salesperson’s plate and making it a streamlined experience on the customer side.
Today’s Evolved Consumer Requires Equally Evolved Sales & Marketing Efforts
The evolution of the technology-backed consumer has created urgency for the alignment of sales and marketing. The consumer of today is more connected than ever before, both to information and social networks, and is massively mobile. They have the ability to find more information and do more self-discovery quickly.
This hyper-connectivity has made consumers more picky, more informed, and less patient. They are able to access endless amounts of information at their fingertips, so they expect your website to be easy to navigate and full of useful information that answers their initial questions. They expect to be educated from your content and they expect to speak with your company when and how they prefer. Consumers operate under a “don’t call me, I’ll call you” (if I need anything) mindset.
The Evolution Has Already Begun – With or Without You
There have been evolutions in both sales and marketing that have naturally brought the two closer together. In sales, it’s becoming more difficult to reach people over the phone, especially through cold calling. Nobody will answer calls from numbers they don’t recognize anymore.
The ability for salespeople to speak with customers on the phone will always be a necessity. However, according to Demand Gen Report, 49% of B2B buyers said they now rely more on content to research and make purchase decisions. So, because people find information online so easily and communicate via written messaging, it’s important that your sales team be empowered with additional means of communicating with customers and are equipped with tools to meet consumers where they’re at: online.
Marketing has typically operated under a “funnel” method, meaning potential consumers go through a series of pre-defined stages as they get closer to purchasing. The marketing funnel has undergone some pretty major overhauls in recent years with the addition of marketing-focused technology and automation. Marketing funnels today have more conversion points than ever before and it is highly likely a customer could make a purchase without ever speaking to anyone within your company. Most funnels used to be sales led, now the funnel tends to be more marketing driven at the top and closed with sales. Here are some other marketing trends, if you’re interested, as well.
Sales and marketing alignment is so critical right now that the movement even has its own couples name: Smarketing. HubSpot defines smarketing as alignment between your sales and marketing teams created through frequent and direct communication between the two.
Still not convinced? A joint Marketo and Reachforce research piece found that businesses are 67% better at closing deals when sales and marketing work together. According to Jill Rowley, Founder and Chief Evangelist, #socialselling, “The new reality is that marketing needs to know more about sales, sales needs to know more about marketing, and we all need to know more about our customers.”
If you’re ready to get started with aligning your sales and marketing teams, we can help get you started. Give us a ring (a metaphorical ring, of course… we don’t answer numbers we don’t know ;)).