Don’t Draw Align in the Sand.

October 24, 2016

Though traditionally seen as separate silos, Sales and Marketing, as an aligned unit, is critical to a company’s success. Here at InsideOut, we believe the integration needs to go beyond just keeping each other in the loop; the two areas must actively collaborate. In doing so, the Sales team can increase funnel velocity and gain access to the resources they need, and the Marketing team can get a better understanding of how to shift their efforts and create appropriate content, further increasing velocity.

A number of different tactics can be implemented to help promote this collaboration. Some simple to implement, others a bit more involved, while all sharing the same goal— to foster the ongoing relationship between Sales and Marketing:

1)   Start from the top-

True alignment of Sales and Marketing extends beyond the two departments. Revenue goals should be shared, encouraging strategic collaboration to best achieve said goals…together. Another potential layer of this ‘executive’ goal-setting method is to assign a Sales Operations “point person”. Someone who has a clear understanding of both departments’ wants and needs and can help execute, with both individual and cohesive goals in mind.

2)   What’s the process? –

This aforementioned ‘middleman’ is a key player to the process development. Conducting discussions regarding the integration of your company’s CRM, marketing automation platform, data flow, departmental lead hand-off, etc. will let both teams know how efforts, throughout the entire sales cycle, intersect and how to address any potential issues that arise— as a group— instead of simply pointing fingers.

Beyond this initial process alignment, ongoing weekly/monthly discussions should be held to include:

  • Content creation needs
  • Status reports of current and upcoming initiatives
  • Review of both sales and marketing metrics
  • 10-minute open brainstorming sessions

These ongoing group discussions help ensure everyone is on track to achieve their goals and determine where any potential gaps may lie.

3)   Communication station- 

While proper process alignment and regular check-up meetings are essential, day-to-day discussion is also crucial. Set-up a common ground for both teams to come together to ask questions, make requests, and discuss any potential issues or concerns. Whether it be a Slack channel, a project management tool, or even group email or text, a place to brainstorm and share thoughts and ideas will make the two different groups come together as one.

So what’s the point of all this?

Too many companies look at their sales efforts as a sheer volume game— “if SDRs send enough messages to enough people once in awhile something is bound to stick”. This ‘needle in the haystack’ approach may work now and again; but wouldn’t it be better if you could decrease the size of the haystack?

This is where alignment plays such a critical role.

By getting both departments to work together as a team, we are able to increase the insights gleaned by looking at both sales data and marketing data together. This approach allows both teams to be especially agile in where time and energy is best allocated.

Additionally, such an approach enables the collective team to focus on the warmest leads. Combining clearly identified warm leads allow the sales teams concentrate on the most important people at the best times— ultimately increasing both velocity and conversion rate.