In the modern business world, one of the biggest challenges for CEOs is managing the relationship between marketing and sales to maximize profits and optimize growth. Why? When there is a lack of alignment between sales and marketing teams, it negatively affects both departments. This misalignment is estimated to cost over $1 trillion per year for businesses. The root cause of this cost is a lack of trust and communication between the two departments, which slows down every aspect of their collaboration.
To accomplish this, marketing and sales departments must be in sync and effectively work together. Achieving this can be challenging, as they often have different objectives and goals. However, with the right strategies and tools, these departments can be unified and work together to create successful outcomes.
What is Smarketing?
More than a blend of words between sales and marketing, Smarketing refers to aligning your teams to work together towards common goals in the same department. This integration can increase efficiency and effectiveness, resulting in more conversions and better ROI.
By bringing your sales and marketing teams together, you can better understand your target audience and create content and campaigns that are tailored to their needs and preferences. This can lead to a more streamlined sales process, as well as a stronger relationship between your business and its customers.
To successfully implement Smarketing, it's important to have open communication between your sales and marketing teams. Regular meetings and collaboration can help identify areas for improvement and ensure everyone is working towards the same goals. In addition, it's important to use data and analytics to measure the success of your Smarketing efforts. This will help you identify what is working and what isn't and adjust accordingly.
The 3 levels of the Sales and Marketing alignment process
To achieve effective collaboration between Sales and Marketing teams, it's not enough to expect things to magically fall into place overnight. Instead, three key levels need to be addressed:
1 - Emotional Level
Firstly, at the Emotional Level, Sales and Marketing teams must have a strong relationship based on trust and support rather than conflict and blame. Ideally, the goal should be to foster a "best friends" bond rather than a more distant "brother-sister" dynamic.
2 - Process Level
Secondly, at the Process Level, it's crucial to establish clear and consistent procedures that ensure everyone is working towards the same goals in the same way.
3 - Feedback Loop Level
Third, at the Feedback Loop Level, it's necessary to create a system of open communication and feedback between the teams. Sales and Marketing can make mistakes, so it's essential to have a mechanism in place for providing constructive criticism and sharing successes, such as discussing how to replicate successful sales or avoid bringing in low-quality leads.
7 stats to help you make sales and marketing alignment a priority
I have gathered 7 eye-opening data to help you think about realigning your priorities and get your marketing and sales teams on the same page.
1. Half of sales time can be spent on prospects that convert
According to research by SalesHub, 50% of sales time is wasted on poor prospects. This means that your sales team needs to prioritize leads and do it effectively. One way to do this is by integrating marketing strategies that help salespeople focus their energy on leads with the most potential, such as lead scoring.
2. The vast majority of consumers buy from, at some point in their buying journey, has provided valuable content
Another crucial statistic is that 95% of buyers buy from someone who gave them helpful content at each stage of the Buyer's Journey. This means that it's essential to create valuable marketing materials that are designed to help buyers overcome friction points known to come up in the sales process. Your sales cycle may be short, long, or somewhere in between, but ensuring that your marketing materials are relevant and helpful at every stage is vital.
3. 25% of businesses report a misalignment between departments
Alarming 1 in 4 companies says their sales and marketing teams are either "misaligned" or "rarely aligned." However, "tightly aligned" companies achieve 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth. Therefore, sales and marketing alignment are crucial for creating more strategic, efficient marketing campaigns that result in more deals, more revenue, and accelerated company growth.
According to a LinkedIn report, an overwhelming 90% of sales and marketing professionals perceive misalignment in strategy, process, culture, and content within their organizations, which negatively impacts the business and its customers. Additionally, 97% of those surveyed faced challenges related to messaging and content, including marketing creating content without involving the sales team, content that emphasizes product promotion instead of addressing lead problems, and content that fails to facilitate prospects through the buyer's journey.
In fact, misalignment between sales and marketing can cost B2B companies 10% or more of revenue loss annually. This further emphasizes the need for alignment between the two teams.
4. Marketing needs to equip the sales team with the necessary content so as not to miss opportunities
On the other hand, 65% of sales reps say they can't find relevant content to send to potential customers. This is a huge failure as your sales team needs to access and leverage the right resources at the right time to seize opportunities. A collaborative marketing approach can help salespeople work together early on, helping to advise the creation of marketing resources. With that level of engagement, your reps will know precisely what resources exist and can pull them as needed throughout the sales process.
5. Time is money. So don't let them go!
35-50% of sales go to businesses that respond first. Therefore, responding to leads quickly is essential to gain a competitive advantage. HubSpot, a software company specialized in inbound marketing, sales, and customer service, recommends the best response time is about 10 minutes! Marketing tools such as chatbots can be highly effective in helping sales teams achieve this goal.
As a marketing mentor, I recommend utilizing AI to help sales and marketing teams achieve their goals. AI can effectively analyze vast amounts of data to uncover insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and trends. With this information, sales and marketing teams can tailor their strategies to reach their target audience better and improve conversion rates. AI can also assist with lead generation, automating routine tasks, and personalizing customer communications. Furthermore, AI-powered chatbots can provide quick and helpful customer service around the clock, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. Incorporating AI into sales and marketing strategies can provide significant benefits and help businesses stay competitive in today's ever-evolving marketplace.
6. Gone are the days of having a sales rep hunched over your desk. It takes a lot of your time!
Only 12% of Business-to-business (B2B) buyers want to meet with a sales rep in person, and 71% start their process with an unbranded search. This means that digital marketing, starting with the entry point of search engines, will likely initiate the sales process. However, it's important to ensure there are no significant disconnects in the digital-to-human hand-off. So before engaging with your prospects directly for the first time, be sure you know where they are in the buying process based on their online actions.
7. Businesses can improve their ability to close agreements by 67% by aligning their sales and marketing efforts.
Aligning your sales and marketing teams can help businesses become 67% better at closing deals. 67% and huge to put aside!
By implementing the strategies and tips that I'm giving in this post, you can ensure your business is well-positioned for growth and success.
How to align sales and marketing in your business: Start by reviewing the basics, it seems obvious, but it's often not done right
To begin, it is crucial to understand the role of each department. For example, marketing focuses on creating leads, awareness, and interest in products/services, while sales are responsible for the final phase of the purchasing process. It sounds basic, but by understanding the difference between these departments, companies can begin to plan the right strategies for linking marketing and sales.
One strategy to consider initially is unifying the customer journey for both departments. This involves creating a single customer journey that both departments use, ensuring that the customer experience is consistent across every interaction with the company. This unified journey begins with marketing, ensuring that customers are correctly informed about the products and services offered by the company, reducing future rejections. As a concept, the marketing goal is always to provide the right product/service to the right person at the right time. Once this is done, the customer then receives attention from the sales team, where customers can purchase the products and services necessary to close the sale. By providing a unified experience, customers will be more likely to acquire the company's products and services, improving the average conversion rate.
Another strategy to consider is using data to guide your marketing decision (always!). Data-driven marketing blends marketing and sales efforts using data to inform the right decisions and the best course of action. And with the help of artificial intelligence, this becomes even more accessible to small businesses. This allows companies to gain insight into customer behavior, preferences, and needs, allowing them to create targeted, hyper-personalized campaigns that are more likely to convert. Furthermore, data-driven marketing can help companies understand the most successful strategies and provide valuable insight into customer trends, thus being able to redirect the strategy at any time.
Finally, small businesses should consider using automation tools to strengthen the relationship between marketing and sales professionals. Automation tools are handy for streamlining processes, automating tasks, and eliminating unnecessary steps. This allows businesses to focus on what really matters, how to create effective campaigns, and provide a great customer experience. Automation tools can also be especially useful in managing customer data, allowing companies to quickly access the data they need to create segmented marketing and sales campaigns tailored to customers' needs and wants.
As all the above points have demonstrated, converging your sales and marketing teams can yield significant growth opportunities beyond what individual teams can achieve. By merging these two departments into a "Smarketing" unit, you can gain novel insights into the sales process, optimize sales and marketing strategies, and explore new business opportunities to enhance revenue.
To achieve success with sales and marketing alignment, several steps must be taken. These include restructuring the customer journey, developing a target customer persona, prioritizing marketing, measuring joint key performance indicators, collecting feedback and voice of customer data, aligning messaging throughout the campaign, creating marketing-led sales assets, and collaborating on post-sale, retention, and growth.
When your sales and marketing teams work harmoniously, your company can maximize the value of prospects and customers, leading to unprecedented growth.
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