Bridging the Gap
If you think of yourself as a Marketing or Sales professional, then you likely have direct experience navigating the chasm that can exist between the Marketing & Sales teams. Even though both teams are working to achieve revenue goals and company growth, Marketing & Sales have very different approaches. The difference in these approaches is equal to the gap or chasm between the two sides.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Marketing delivers strategies and tactics while focusing on market share. On the other hand, sales delivers tangible results based on action with incentives based on volume. Often, Marketing advocates pricing based on “value”, while Sales approaches with cost-plus pricing perspective. The key is understanding how to bring these perspectives together in order to create a synergistic approach.
In order to meet short-term goals, Sales really needs Marketing to increase the quality and number of leads, participate in sales calls (to get some perspective), and create marketing materials and sales tools that are relevant to real-time conversations, integrate with the sales process and address the needs of the different stakeholders involved in the decision making process. Sales needs Marketing to think globally while enabling Sales to act locally.
At the same time, Marketing is looking to long-term goals. To reach these objectives, Marketing really wants Sales to help eliminate wasted leads, provide feedback on customer needs & wants, utilize corporate marketing materials consistently (No DIY), and find ways to sell value, not price.
What to Do When Sales is Bred to Compete and Marketing is Bred to Collaborate?
Step 1: Understand Barriers to Adoption
To create alignment between Marketing & Sales, begin by understanding barriers to adoption. Focus groups can be used to identify adoption problems internally and Customer Advisory Boards can serve the same purpose externally. Using this data, gaps in the information flow between Marketing & Sales can be identified. At this point, Executive Ownership is critical. Commitment from the top-down must be communicated through multiple channels internally. The Executive Team will want to specify short and long terms sales tools gained, hold Marketing accountable as a change agent, and challenge Sales to use a consistent selling approach using the tools provided and continuously offering feedback. Promote early wins to build grassroots support and focus on early adopters who “get it” – others will follow.
To drive measurable results and hold both Marketing & Sales accountable, key performance indicators (KPIs) should be established for both Marketing & Sales. These tangible performance measurements should reflect both company goals and customer experience objectives. To further facilitate Marketing & Sales momentum, encourage Sales to contact Marketing for help and support. Be sure to also measure Marketing participation in customer calls and strategic account planning sessions.
Step 2: Structure Alignment Around Customer Success
For dramatic results, keep customer experience at the core of measuring success. The performance measurements for a synergized Marketing & Sales team MUST parallel customer measurements and CLEARLY hold both Marketing & Sales accountable. Enable Marketing & Sales to meet their goals by creating market-based strategies which reflect defined customer values. Marketing’s job is to inject innovation, while Sales offers the experiences of the customers. This will help to ensure successful Sales execution of business driven market-based strategies. In this way, a synergized Marketing & Sales team is focused on customer needs, the value proposition and competitive strategy.
Overall, it’s critical that your Marketing & Sales team views understanding customer needs as part of their job, sees marketing and sales as complimentary processes, and works with common operating procedures for meeting customer’s needs.
Quick Start to Improve Synergy between Marketing & Sales
- Make sure Marketing & Sales visit customers together
- Create Marketing & Sales forums with agendas focused on customer driven goals
- Establish shared KPIs, goals & performance management strategies
- Enhance consistency through training on both sides