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Rachel Clapp Miller

By Rachel Clapp Miller

Jun 5, 2014


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5 Ways to Improve Sales and Marketing Alignment Right Now

Rachel Clapp Miller

By Rachel Clapp Miller

Jun 5, 2014

5 Ways to Improve Sales and Marketing Alignment Right Now

5_Ways_to_Improve_Sales_and_Marketing_Alignment_Right_NowThis post originally appeared on the Force Management Blog. To read more content like this, visit the blog here.

Sales leaders believe marketing has some work to do when it comes to driving the right leads.

In the latest CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization Report, only 33.4% of sales leaders gave marketing a passing grade when it came to lead quality. That number dropped 6 percentage points when it came to quantity. 

Poor alignment in sales and marketing is nothing new.

If you asked marketing leaders the same types of question, the results would probably be very different. Almost every sales organization has been challenged at one time or another with “out-of-sync” sales and marketing departments.

The Root of Disjointed Departments 

Often, the problem is not the content.

It’s very likely your marketing team is publishing great content that effectively demonstrates the value your organization provides.

The challenge is in the usability.

Your sales organization either (1) doesn’t know how to correctly leverage that content or (2) marketing hasn’t made it sales consumable, so your sales force can easily use it with customers.Marketing and sales speak very different languages.

They have different DNA.

If both of them are going to improve sales and drive revenue effectively, they need to understand each other’s goals and motivations.

Participate in your own rescue.

Sellers, don’t just sit there and complain that they’ve never sold and have no idea what you deal with on a day-to-day basis. Those are tired excuses, (P.S. they’re likely saying something similar about you.)

Help your marketing team first, understand the language of salespeople. Then, help them speak it.

Here are five things your sales team can do right now to improve your sales and marketing alignment and help improve the sales process:

1. Proof Points

The best proof points come from the sales team. Best-in-class salespeople know the success in their accounts. They have the client relationships and the trusted advisor status to gather the measurable results. Sellers can quickly enable marketing to demonstrate the value of your solutions by taking charge of gathering the proof as soon as possible after a successful

engagement. Help marketing determine the gaps. Share with them our Proof Point White Space Template or do your own analysis. 

Which of your value drivers need stronger proof behind them?

Develop a process to fill white space for future prospects. When that next opportunity comes up, you’ll be glad you did the work to fill in these gaps.

2. Sales Calls

One of the most powerful components of an effective sales messaging platform is that it arms the salesperson with what is needed at the “moment of truth,” when you’re in the middle of the conversation with your prospect.

Help marketing understand your world.

Invite them to sales conversations as silent observers.

They’ll welcome the opportunity to better understand the questions you answer in your sales process and as a result, will be able to better produce content you can easily apply to your sales conversations. (Where do you think we get our blog ideas from?!)

3. Pipeline Planning

Involve marketing in the pipeline planning reviews.

What activities are your reps planning to drive pipeline next quarter? How can marketing help in specific territories?

Include them in the meetings and invite them to share ideas on how they can add value to your sales planning process.

4. Get Social

Studies show sellers who engage socially drive more revenue.

It’s likely your marketing department is spending a lot of time and effort sharing information socially. They’re trying to drive leads and nurture clients, on your behalf. Help them spread the word.

Share their content on your own social networks. Promote them on Twitter, like their posts on Instagram, engage with their LinkedIn posts.

Social media shouldn’t be something they just do.

By engaging on social media, you build an unfair advantage over your competitors. Your social contacts will attach your subject matter expertise with the valuable information you provide. You’ll build contacts and enhance your professional brand.

5. Check-In Calls

Don’t underestimate the power of communication.

Schedule a regular check in call between a member of the sales team and marketing to determine areas of opportunity. These calls don’t have to be long.

Limit the discussion to three action steps each side can take in the next 1-3 months. For example, marketing can commit to participating in 2 sales calls.

Sales will commit to gathering one marketable proof point in that time period. Sometimes, the simplest of efforts can make the biggest impact.

Rachel Clapp Miller is the Assistant Marketing Director at Force Management. Force Management specializes in sales transformations that help B2B sales organizations increase revenue, improve sales margins and gain market share. Follow them on Twitter: @ForceMGMT and on LinkedIn.


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