Note: This is a guest post by Lisa. The author’s views are entirely her own and may not reflect the views of Deepanshu Gahlaut’s Blog.
Synergy may come with different names, but it simply means to have everyone on the same page. It is the best way to make sure that the entire team is stronger than the sum of its parts and that every member of the team is in perfect harmony with its other members.
If we were to consider a company as a single team, the leaders of these companies need to ensure that there is synergy and alignment between the team members.
This is all the more pertinent when we look at different departments whose efforts complement one another, such as marketing and sales.
Even though marketing and sales might have different roles within the organization, the success or failure of either of these departments hinges largely on the efforts of the other.
While marketing might try to identify the ideal customer and build a strong brand, their efforts are futile without a sales force that can close the deal.
Alternatively, a sales team that tries to sell without having a list of qualified leads will waste valuable time and probably end up with dismal results.
With that in mind, let’s look at how a leader can create alignment between the marketing and sales team.
Unifying the terminology
Thanks to the cloud, different business
departments all store and share their files online. In the case of marketing
and sales, both departments need to unify their terminologies and speak the
same language. Otherwise, the information stored by one department will be
incomprehensible to the other.
The first thing marketing and sales should do is to sit down together and agree on a set of definitions that they will use. This means clarifying terms such as “lead” and being clear on what constitutes a “quality lead.”
In fact, going one step further, the sales department might do well to instantiate a sales level agreement, shortened as SLA.
An SLA can prove instrumental in clarifying the roles of the marketing team and the sales team when it comes to generating leads, preventing any future confusion.
Also, an SLA will specify the agreed-upon terminologies, letting everyone know why some leads may be categorized as high-potential prospects while others aren’t.
Coming up with marketing materials that serve both teams
The marketing team is responsible for most of the communication between the company and the outside world, including the website copy, the social media presence, the company brochures, and the various promotions you see on TV or online.
Unfortunately, for many companies, the marketing department works without taking any input from other departments. As a result, the messages issued by the company may seem dissociated from what the customers want to hear.
Instead, marketing teams should collaborate with other departments when creating marketing materials. This means taking input from the sales department and thinking about how different forms of communication can make it easier for sales to close a deal.
For instance, the people at marketing may find out what are the most frequently asked questions posed to the sales team and then include the answers to these questions in the brochures and website copy.
Agreeing on a persona
Sales and marketing need to work together to agree on who their target customer is. While the marketing department will rely on its market research, the sales team will actually look at the deals it has closed.
Together, both teams will be able to create an ideal customer profile, also known as ICP, which can be a powerful tool that guides both teams’ efforts and ensures that they are both speaking to the same audience.
Once the ICP is identified, it will be easier for the marketing team to create clear personas and target them. These personas will have all the traits, interests, needs, and wants of the ICP, drastically increasing the number of qualified leads marketing passes onto sales.
Even if both marketing and sales speak the same language, agree on the ideal customer, and work together on the same materials, this will all do very little to help the company if these two departments don’t communicate with one another.
In fact, according to Forrester Research, a mere 8 percent of companies enjoy the good synergy between their marketing and sales teams. A big reason for that is a lack of communication.
Members from the marketing and sales teams need to discuss different issues that affect them both. They need to work together to find productive solutions that benefit everyone involved.
One way to achieve this is to schedule regular meetings between both teams. Throughout these meetings, marketing and sales can shed light on their respective concerns and discuss which strategies have worked well so far and which ones need fine-tuning.
It’s not all about work
We just saw how regular meetings can help tune both teams to the same wavelength. However, an even better strategy would be to foster a sense of camaraderie and friendship between members of both teams.
After all, we are all much more effective at our jobs when we work with people we actually like.
This means creating opportunities where sales and marketing teams can spend quality time together, be it through after-work outings or book club meetings during the weekend.
Regardless of how, what matters is that marketing and sales learn to act as a unit, celebrate their wins, and work together to learn from their losses.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor, and a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.