4 Ways to Align Your Marketing and Sales Departments

by Dec 19, 2016B2B Lead Generation, Marketing, Sales

4 Ways to Align Your Marketing and Sales Departments

It’s typical that sales and marketing departments don’t see eye-to-eye. Sales labels marketing as paper pushers, academic and irrelevant, and marketing accuses sales of being simple-minded, according to a Harvard Business Review. But if you are to succeed as an organisation, you should align these two departments.

The Function of Sales

The sales department focuses on individual selling strategies. Everything this department does has one focus in mind, “Will I meet my sales target?”

The sales department usually make money via a small basic salary and commission for every sale they make. It is normal, then, for this department to pay more attention to their individual sales figures because it directly affects their income.

The sales department focuses on short-term sales on a client-by-client basis.

Typical activities:

  1. Contacting leads received by the marketing department
  2. Setting up appointments
  3. Drafting client proposals
  4. Negotiating sales with prospective clients
  5. Closing sales
  6. Managing after-sales relationships

The Function of Marketing

Often, marketing is separate from sales. They are responsible for research, developing promotional plans and managing strategic communication. Their overall purpose is to promote and distribute the company’s products or services in the best possible way so that sales find it easier to close deals.

The marketing department focuses on the longer term and markets to the general population.

Typical activities:

  1. Identifying customer needs
  2. Designing innovating products to meet customer needs
  3. Advertising the products to raise awareness and build a brand
  4. Pricing the products to maximise long-term profits

How to Align the Two

It’s understandable from these two definitions, that sales and marketing are closely intertwined, and that one division cannot function without the other.

If you’re stuck in a company that struggles to align these two departments, never fear. Here are four proven ways to do that:

  1. Attend each other’s meetings

Sometimes these departments don’t get along because they don’t understand what the other does in the company. Let sales sit in on marketing meetings and vice versa to foster a sense of unison.

Marketing can also use this opportunity to request content feedback from sales. The sales department works closely with leads and customers and therefore are in a great position to give ideas for future content.

  1. Enjoy socials together

Usually, these two departments will have separate social gatherings such as Friday drinks or sundowners. Have these two teams get to know each other outside of work as well. When setting up a social, invite the other team to join you.

  1. Draft a process flow

We mentioned that the biggest cause of the animosity between the teams is a lack of understanding. To improve this understanding, create a process flow that shows everyone where they fit in the process.

Here is an example of a good process flow:

  • The marketing department sets up a shared calendar for both departments.
  • Once the calendar is ready for editing, the marketing department adds their campaigns, promotions and content to the calendar.
  • Sales will have a look at the calendar and give feedback.
  • Marketing acknowledges sales feedback and revises the calendar.
  • Once the campaigns go live and leads start coming in, the marketing department will email sales with the lead details, including their advice for how sales should speak to the client.
  • Marketing should also at this point create an email marketing template that sales can send to leads.
  • Once sales have met with the client, they can give feedback to marketing.
  1. Implement group training

Once you’ve created the process flow and sent it to both departments, it will help to train them to put it into practice. Training in a group will make them feel more like a team working towards one common goal.