Five ways to end the great divide between sales and marketing

Entrepreneurs

Bringing sales and marketing together – AKA SMarketing – is the way forward and the way to get big results.
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It’s a tale as old as time; sales and marketing don’t get along. And yes, it’s a stereotype that won’t ring true for many organisations, but like all stereotypes, there’s a kernel of truth in there somewhere. Sales and marketing might not be engaged in full-out warfare, but are they working together? The research says that in most organisations, they are not.

Even though the art of attracting leads (marketing) and converting leads into customers (sales) share many similarities, they are traditionally separated into different teams with their own leadership, staff, budgets, and goals. This separation in modern organisations makes it hard to coordinate activities along the buyer journey. And in a digital world, the end-to-end customer journey needs to be smooth and seamless – a perfectly contained funnel with no opportunity for leaks. With different approaches to metrics, goals, and strategy, marketing and sales become disconnected and misaligned, resulting in missed opportunities at best, and resentment or animosity between staff at worst.

Bringing sales and marketing together – AKA SMarketing – is the way forward and the way to get big results. According to Marketo, aligning sales and marketing departments can help generate 209% more revenue and ensures maximum conversion, results, and experience. But how do you actually get sales and marketing working together? Just like you can’t tell feuding siblings or a couple in a dysfunctional relationship to ‘just get along’ there needs to be some thought and energy put in to help create proper alignment. As the founder of a sales transformation company, I often say we are the ‘marriage counsellor’ between sales and marketing, and these are five things I’ve seen that make the biggest difference in creating alignment.

Strategy

When I work with sales and marketing teams and ask them who their ideal customer is or what the greatest opportunity is, 99% of the time I get a different answer from each department. If they’re running in a different direction from the beginning, no one’s going to end up at the finish line. You can avoid this by setting joint goals from the outset and using the same metrics to measure success – this will ensure equal levels of accountability and buy-in from the start. There can’t be a blame game when everyone gets to contribute.

Communication

The research shows that one third of sales and marketing teams do not communicate regularly. This is the first step in ending the divide and can be as simple as a fortnightly meeting to align.

Technology and processes

Repeat after me, “no more separate CRMs!”. Teams should be using the same technology platforms and systems – and everyone should be able to use them effectively to encourage information exchange, timely feedback, and ongoing monitoring of results. The digital world means customers are demanding an exceptional customer experience and this can only be done with one shared 360-degree view of the customer.

Messaging and content

Right from the beginning, provide opportunities for input from both sides to create consistent messaging along the entire purchase journey. Talk about what messaging is resonating with customers right now. Share the biggest problems and challenges you’re hearing from them and what you see is working and not working – this alone will quickly create alignment between teams.

Culture

Foster a culture of trust, joint decision-making, and respect. Both teams play an integral role and working together will only make everyone’s lives easier and results bigger and better. In my experience, this needs to start from the top. Leaders need to role-model the way forward to ensure alignment.

In a digital-first world, research continues to highlight that SMarketing is now the most effective way to get big results on your sales and marketing investment. SMarketing is officially the smarter approach; offering significant opportunities to improve business performance, and increase organisational and financial growth, all whilst keeping the customer experience at the heart of everything you do.


Abbie White is a leader in the field of high-performance sales, and is founder of sales transformation company, Sales Redefined. Find out more about Abbie: Our Founder | Sales Redefined