Best of Both Worlds
When you have your marketing team create blog posts for your website, have them communicate with your sales team so they can be informed of the behaviors of the prospects and customers who have purchased from you previously.
This way, your marketing team can be equipped with another level of understanding that goes beyond even your buyer personas. The better your content appeals to its audience, the stronger it will inevitably be at producing solid leads and convincing prospects to buy the product or service you offer.
Here are some strategies you can use to help you take advantage of your two departments:
Have someone from your sales department shadow the marketing team, and vice versa, so they can see how “the other side” operates in their day-to-day routines. The better acquainted the two teams are, the better their communication will be. When you’re two teams understand how the other operates, they’ll be able to work more effectively to create content and accomplish other goals.
Host Joint Meetings
In a similar fashion to encouraging crossover between departments, start implementing joint meetings between them. This doesn’t have to be every week, but whenever you can, try to bring the two teams into the same room for a bit. Encourage each of them to outline their successes and pinpoint where there is room for improvement. Let them review their current projects and identify their goals moving forward.
This is also a great scenario to have the two departments brainstorm together. You should have sales and marketing both producing content, so rather than risk redundancy by making them work independently, let them coordinate their efforts and share information. The more consistent their communication, the better acquainted they’ll be with each other’s ongoing work. This means that aligning marketing and sales will not only be a more seamless process, but will product more potent, relevant content.
Have Fun Together
A workforce that actively enjoys working together is a workforce that will produce the best kinds of content. Planning company outings can be nearly impossible when you’re a large company, but regardless of your size, you can still set up fun outings for individual teams. If you allow your sales and marketing team leaders to work together to stage a fun bonding exercise you’re empowering them to get to know each other and build the kinds of relationships that will help anchor their future attempts at coordination.
You can have your sales and marketing teams do typical team-building activities together (yay, trust falls!), but something as simple as going for a walk or eating lunch together can have a huge impact as well.
Better Coordination = Better Leads
If you want to take advantage of the full power of aligning marketing and sales, then you need to get them on the same page. This is never more vital than when it comes to lead generation.
There are few things more frustrating to a potential customer than redundancy. Customers want their time to be respected, and usually, don’t want to spend longer than necessary with a sales representative. So, if you want to empower your sales team to efficiently close sales, then they need to be on the same page as your marketing team.
You can do this by teaching your marketing team when to send leads to your sales team, and how to equip your sales team with the information they’ll need to convert those leads into customers.
Sending Leads to Sales
One of the problems you might encounter while aligning marketing and sales is the sense that it complicates the lead conversion process. When both teams aren’t in agreement over what defines a qualified lead, the marketers could end up sending someone to sales who isn’t actually ready to buy anything yet. This is frustrating for both the lead and the salesperson, as it’s ultimately a fruitless way to spend their time and energy.
There needs to be a specific set of criteria, decided on by both the marketing and sales teams, that will make up the qualifications a lead must possess before they’re passed from marketing to sales. This should be done as part of your alignment efforts, and early-on in those efforts.
These qualifications are going to look differently from company to company, so be flexible, and work alongside your teams as you iron out what the specifics will ultimately look like.
If you need a place to start though, HubSpot introduced the GPCTBA/C&I, a framework for identifying qualified leads by outlining their Goals, Plans, Challenges, and Timeline (GPCT); their budget and authority (BA); the negative consequences of a lead not achieving their goal, and the implications if they do (C&I).
That may sound complicated, but it’s not as bad as it seems. These are categories you should be paying attention to already, but with the GPCTBA/C&I framework, you have a standardized guide you can stick to. This unifies both the sales and marketing departments and allows them to establish standard criteria for what qualifies a lead for the sales process.
Equipping Sales to Convert Leads
Once you have consistent criteria for segmenting your leads, then the conversion process can begin in earnest. Your marketing teams will be ready to send qualified, sales-ready leads to the sales department.
To help sales convert those leads, they’re going to need access to the information your marketers have been compiling on them. Again, if you're not currently aligning marketing and sales, then your salespeople will struggle with the conversion process since they won’t have anything to build off of.
Try having your marketing teams keep thorough, organized records of the work they’ve already done so when the sales department is given a lead to work with, they can clearly track where they’ve come from and where they want to end up. When you make use of a CRM like HubSpot, then you can generate all this information organically and automatically. It will even be housed in a single location where both your sales and marketing teams can find it easily.
The important thing, in the end, is to make sure you're aligning marketing and sales and that there is consistent information being shared back-and-forth between the two teams. If your salesperson knows what pages a lead has visited on your website, which blog posts they’ve read, and what they said when they filled out your form, they’ll be able to hit the ground running when they first get the lead on the phone.
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