Sales and Marketing; formidable apart, unstoppable together. So how can you get these two teams to put aside their issues with each other and work more closely?

Batman and Robin – the dynamic duo! Spending their nights protecting the citizens of Gotham City from diabolical villains with a series of well-rehearsed and coordinated strategies.

The pair are inseparable in most people’s minds, like Holmes and Watson, Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy. If you hear mention of one, chances are you automatically think of the other. 

And then there’s Sales and Marketing. You might not think of them as a dynamic duo in quite the same way. In fact, you might not see them as a duo at all – more like constantly squabbling siblings.

In reality, Sales and Marketing are often out of step with each other. Marketing is frustrated because Sales don’t follow up on leads; Sales is frustrated that Marketing doesn’t give them enough of the right leads.

These constant clashes can be exasperating because, ultimately, both teams are supposedly working towards the same goal.

But when Sales and Marketing do come together to fight cri … erm… hit targets, they can be a formidable force.

Shorter sales cycles, lower costs, improved productivity and better-aligned campaigns are just some of the potential benefits.

So how do you get Sales and Marketing to work better together?

Set mutual goals and objectives

It’s important for Marketing to identify the goals and the expected results for each campaign.

Not all marketing campaigns are about generating sales. Some are about brand awareness. Others are about growing your online audience in certain channels.

So, for a lead generation campaign, you need to be clear about the type of lead you intend to attract and capture. Is it a basic lead, a profiled lead, or a BANT (Budget, Authority, Needs and Timeline) qualified lead?

Have well defined buyer personas

To accurately target clients, marketers need to understand their pain points and objections. Salespeople need the same information to close the deal.

Knowing exactly who you’re targeting means both teams are speaking to the same people. Plus, it’ll be easier to align on things like decision priorities and pricing.

Communication, communication, communication

If you don’t have Sales on board before planning a marketing campaign, you’re possibly doomed from the start. While you’re running the campaign itself, touch base regularly with Sales to make sure they understand how the campaign is progressing.

If the campaign isn’t delivering as expected for Sales, take the opportunity to adjust as necessary. Regularly scheduled meetings with pre-organised topics and data are a good idea. In fact, why not try mixing up the desks and seating the sales and marketing people together?

After the campaign is completed, debrief both teams and go over the results together to see what worked and what didn’t. These findings will help shape and inform your next campaign.

Standardise your processes

Establish easy to follow, standard handover processes. Agree on processes for how to hand over leads to Sales, and how and when salespeople should report on the failure, success, or status of leads. Don’t forget to outline what to include in the feedback and to whom they should report.

Reverse-engineer your SLAs

Start with your sales goals and work backwards to establish how many qualified leads you need and how many overall inbound contacts and visitors you’ll have to attract to hit those numbers. Do the maths. Don’t let your business success rely on assumption and guesswork.

Update everyone on ROI

Marketing campaigns don’t always produce results instantaneously. Sometimes it can take a quarter, six months, a year or even longer to see ROI. While this will depend on your sales cycle, a good rule of thumb is that it takes 6-7 touch points to convert a lead into an opportunity.

Given how long some sales cycles are, you’ll need a good CRM in place so you know exactly who responded to which campaign, and when, and how. This information is crucial for both your marketers and salespeople.

Sure, Sales and Marketing are certainly capable of achieving some success by continuing to work separately. But when these teams come together and align with each other, the whole becomes much greater than the sum of its parts.