Marketing aims at creating leads. These leads are further nurtured into becoming buyers. Hence, marketing and sales are interlinked. None of these functions are possible in isolation. You need marketing to make sales happen. At the same time, you need to close business deals to achieve your marketing objectives. Therefore, it is important to plan for both in such a way that both the functions support each other. This being said, today, we are going to talk about ways you can align sales and marketing.

Sales are in fact a part and objective of marketing. You create brand awareness, you promote it on different platforms, try to develop a positive word-of-mouth, and make many other marketing digital marketing efforts to generate leads. While lead generation can have a number of objectives like increasing online traffic, reach, engagement, brand awareness, and so on—sales is the eventual purpose of lead generation.

Businesses create leads so that they can trail them later and eventually convince them to turn into buyers. Therefore, when you are marketing for sales maximization, it is important to sync both these functions.

Wondering how to do that? Read below to find out.

5 best ways of aligning sales and marketing

Sales and Marketing

#1. Sales and marketing should aim for same customer journey

Sales department generally have this one overriding objective, making a sale happen. Whereas, different marketing programs can have different objectives. This being the reason, both these department end up creating separate journey paths for customers. If you want to align your sales and marketing, it is of foremost importance to be on the same page with customer journey.

However, this requires getting a holistic view of the customer which is apparently a bit difficult to achieve. But no worries, there are certain tools and techniques that can help you out on this one. The list below notes some of these used by companies that have successfully aligned their sales and marketing- (sorted by Relevance [most to least])

  • CRM software
  • Email marketing technology
  • Analytics tools
  • Content management systems
  • Marketing automation software tools
  • Content calendaring
  • Digital asset management
  • Sales enablement platforms
  • Artificial intelligence

CRM definitely tops the list as it helps see a 360-degree view of a customer. By using the right software tools and techniques, you can bridge the difference between sales and marketing, and achieve alignment.

#2. Marketing first

When the sales and the marketing teams are misaligned, they have their different ways of approaching target customers.

Your sales team may make cold calls or send emails to a different set of target customers (whoever they think can buy from them). Whereas, marketers have a different approach.

In marketing, a digital marketing campaign may be created that is aimed at target audience. Then they further funnel leads that they can trail. Those leads are further nurtured into buyers with the help of different marketing programs like email marketing, and so.

Sales devoid of marketing can’t be efficient. If you go approaching random people with a vague idea, you will end up with disappointing conversion rates. Moreover, your time, efforts, money, and other resources will go wasted. Therefore, it is important to keep marketing first.

Let your sales and marketing teams agree on this. The latter should do customer targeting and lead generation. This is from where the sales team should take.

This way, your sales team will be spending its resources only on quality leads and your business will enjoy a high conversion rate.

#3. Create a single customer persona

Defining and understanding your target customer is important in order to market and sell effectively. A customer persona is a document containing details of a fictional customer. It basically consists of your target audience’s attributes. This fictional customer is based on the characteristics that define your potential customer best. Buyer’s demographics, behaviour patterns, preferences, motivations, and goals are some of the factors considered when creating a buyer persona.

Both sales team and marketing team need to create this buyer/customer persona in order to refine their strategies. However, both these teams can have varying ideas about who an ideal customer is.

Sales may go after anyone who has money to buy their products while marketing has a more targeted approach.

The disconnect between the two can lead to ineffective strategies, lower ROI, and even losses at times. Therefore, you need to check this misalignment in your business.

To get the best out of both your marketing team and sales team, it is essential that they are on the same page on who the ideal customer(s) is.

So, your marketing and sales team should all sit together and collaborate to make a buyer persona. It needs to be thoroughly discussed, continually improved, and updated.

You could use tools like Google Docs for creating a buyer persona. Here, it’ll be easily accessible by anyone who needs it. Also, it can be continually discussed and improved, and the updated version can reach both the teams in real-time.

By bring both sales and marketing teams on the same page about customer persona, you will be able to define, understand, and serve your customers better.

#4. Coordinate KPIs

KPI is an acronym for key performance indicators. Both sales and marketing teams need to measure their performance. Hence, they both use KPIs.

However, the way these two teams measure their performance is quite different.

Salesmen usually measure their efficiency based on how many-

  • Closed sales are there
  • New accounts are created
  • Renewals that take place
  • Upselling that

As you can see, these KPIs are mainly quantitative.

While marketers measure their efficiency based on:

  • How well the pipeline is performing
  • Quantity of the lead
  • Quality of leads
  • Brand awareness

When you compare these with Sales KPI, you will realise that unlike the former, these KPIs are a mix of qualitative and quantitative measures.

Since marketing and sales have such different metrics, it’s no wonder why these teams are generally so misaligned. Hence, to sync both of them, it is important for both to decide on some joint KPIs.

Joint KPIs can help both the teams unite under a common goal and measure their alignment better. This way, you’ll be able to maintain a sound customer acquisition funnel. You’ll be able to identify problem areas, rectify problems, and understand strengths to capitalize on them in regards to both sales and marketing funnel.

#5. Consistent message

For selling a particular product, the sales team will have a specific message. Whereas, the marketing team will have a different message for marketing the same product. This misalignment in the key message confuses your prospects.

As a result of this confused sales and marketing, you end up losing a considerable chunk of potential buyers. This is because when consumer sees your business giving differing messages for a same thing, it becomes hard for them to trust you.

Therefore, it is crucial that your sales team and marketing team is communicating the same message for a particular product.

A fractured brand message can be gravely detrimental for your brand. Hence, make sure that the message conveyed by marketing team is only reinforced by the sales team in the conversion phase.

Final word

Sales and marketing are two of the foundational pillars of a business. However, these two departments are generally misaligned. This lack of coordination leads to wasted marketing and sales resources. Therefore, it is crucial to align both of these departments. This can be achieved by making both the teams collaborate for the creation of a customer journey, customer persona, and key message. Moreover, there should be a middle ground on the use of KPIs. And a very important thing to be kept in mind is, marketing first (sales later). By following these points, you will be able to bring harmony in the functioning of both the departments and enjoy high profits gradually.

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Somya Sharma : Regardless of being a Delhi University graduate with a major in English Literature, Somya's interests are not limited to poetry and drama. As a person who loves researching, discussing and writing about topics rooted in various disciplines, the list of subjects that tickle her fancy is ever-growing. She finds the power of psychology in marketing particularly intriguing and has set out writing blogs with the aim of helping budding marketers polish-up.