When Marketing and Sales Misalign
You’ve heard the saying, “The right-hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.” It means chaos ensues if the two sides of one system don’t communicate. Unfortunately, that happens to many companies trying to create effective marketing strategies. They often fail to communicate with the people responsible for selling.
Content marketing is what connects the two. The marketing department must create content that speaks to those most likely to buy. That allows the sales team to bring in revenue that supports the brand. What happens when there is a misalignment between marketing and sales, though?
It’s a Common Problem
If that scenario looks familiar, just know that you are not alone. LinkedIn’s The Art of Winning” guide estimates companies in the U.S. lose around one trillion dollars a year in revenue because of a misalignment between the sales and marketing departments.
That statistic is a bit heartbreaking when you think about the amount of blood, sweat, and tears both of these critical departments put into making the brand a success. Even if you run a small business and handle both tasks, you may not align your sales and marketing goals. The result is content that fails to improve organic search results, drive traffic to your store or website and bring in little to no conversions. This dampens motivation and leads to a failure to meet even modest sales goals, and a vicious cycle develops.
What Are the Signs of a Sales-Marketing Misalignment
You’ll understand the need for effective and straightforward communication if you think of the sales and marketing teams as being in a relationship. How do you know when that is not happening, though?
Consider some signs that you have a misalignment, such as:
- The sales team is working hard but showing few results.
- You see your loyal customer numbers start to dwindle.
- Your marketing efforts are getting more expensive but providing few leads.
- Each department is blaming the other.
Recognizing a problem exists is the first step in finding solutions.
What You Need is Smarketing
Smarketing refers to the integration between sales and marketing efforts. Specifically, it is bringing sales-qualified leads together with marketing-qualified ones. It is the heart of inbound marketing.
Sales and marketing face two separate but related challenges. The sales team needs to convert as many leads as possible, which only happens about 15 percent of the time.
Marketing’s job is to reach as many potential leads as possible, so they become sales leads. For example, let’s say you own a coffee shop, but your blog talks about coding. A certain percentage of coders that read the blog might also drink coffee, but it is a limited reach.
In this case, the marketing is failing to reach as many potential leads as possible because they are limiting their topics to one narrow group. That means the sales team has very few leads to work with, and only a tiny percentage of those will buy coffee. Sales and marketing can work together to ensure the content reaches a broad but targeted audience, giving sales more opportunities to convert.
Tips for Effective Smarketing
There are steps you can take to get these two hardworking fractions together. A practical place to start is with buyer personas. They allow the two departments to understand the target audience and direct their work product toward them.
Buyer personas fix one of the primary sources of miscommunication. If marketing thinks the target is coders, but sales is trying to move coffee, there is an apparent disconnect. This simple step realigns marketing and sales so they work towards a common purpose.
Monitor the Leads
If the marketing department dumps every lead on sales, it’s no wonder they have few conversions. The sales team must focus on the leads most likely to convert, which will only be part of what marketing collects.
Instead, there needs to be a clean handoff. Having someone go through the leads and determine who qualifies as a potential buyer will ensure sales uses its time wisely.
Use Common Tools
It is essential that businesses create a relationship between the two areas and not build silos for them. Think of the customer journey as a relay race. Marketing takes the first leg and then hands the baton to sales to close the deal.
Allowing both teams to use the same tools, in this case, CRM software, ensures they know where the other is in the race. It creates a bridge that connects the two areas to make them one entity for the brand.
Both teams need to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to know how they are doing and to see disconnects when they happen. The performance of the sales team relies heavily on how the marketing goes. Both sides should follow common metrics so that they can meet their goals.
Use Continuing Marketing Strategies
Brands must also realize that marketing doesn’t necessarily end with the baton handoff. Business is about building customer relationships, and that is done with continued marketing. You don’t want them just to buy coffee once; you want them to be regular customers. Without continued marketing, a competing coffee shop may steal your business.
The marketing and sales teams have different responsibilities and different work processes. It is easy to see them as separate, but all that does is put up walls that are hard to break. It requires a change in thinking, and that starts at the top.
The marketing and sales departments are two halves of the same whole. Sometimes, they just need reminders that they have common purposes. That is why buyer personas, shared tools, and standardized goals are so vital. They show the two teams that they need each other to succeed. The only way to make that happen is through effective, aligned communication.
If you are struggling to get your sales and marketing teams on the same page, the experts at Vinci Marketing can help. Contact us today to set up a consultation.