Historically, sales and marketing have worked in silos, segmented from one another. Marketing would own the top of the funnel with sales owning the bottom. Once a lead was ready for sales, it could be handed off and, in many cases, would never hear from marketing again. This linear process no longer applies in today’s MSP landscape.
Over the years, the roles of marketing and sales have evolved. Unlike yesterday, marketing is now responsible for selling and qualifying leads while sales is responsible for closing the deals. In times when marketing and sales departments share an interesting relationship, it is important that both departments gel together and do not play the blame game over leads.
Despite this, many MSPs struggle to stay aligned. Newly remote work setup and pressure to outperform each other in the post-COVID economy can make working in lockstep difficult. Regardless of the root cause, overcoming sales and marketing misalignment is necessary to secure long-term success. A shared system of communication, strategy, and goals can enable marketing and sales to deliver high-impact marketing activities, boost sales effectiveness, and ultimately grow revenue.
To break down the keys to achieving — and maintaining — real sales and marketing alignment, I invited Harbinder Khera, Global CEO & Founder of Mindmatrix for this week’s podcast. Harbinder has been with Mindmatrix for the last 20 years – the leader in direct and channel enablement software.
Set shared goals
Lead handoff can easily become a point of tension between sales and marketing teams. By agreeing on how leads are scored and how fast sales should act on them, both teams will be on track to operate more efficiently. This ensures that interested buyers see a timely response and no opportunity is left on the table. This will reduce tension between both teams who may feel that one is not pulling its weight.
To achieve this, formally recognize that both departments are working towards the same goals. Whether these goals mean doubling revenue or successfully launching a new product, it’s important to agree upon business outcomes. Uniting these perspectives under an all-up goal will deepen sales and marketing’s understanding of how their objectives relate to one another and foster better collaboration.
Get ’em talking
Sales’ responsibility is, of course, to sell. But that doesn’t mean that sales cannot support marketing by offering a wealth of valuable insights into buyer needs. By delivering intel on market data, CSAT scores, and other important info, sales can help marketing stay up-to-date on customers’ pain points and needs., Therefore marketing is able to execute the most strategic and effective marketing campaigns, especially Google AdWords.
To support sales in closing deals, marketing must:
- Educate prospects,
- Nurture and qualify leads
- Provide competitive intel
- Consistently engage existing customers with thought leadership content
Through these actions, marketing can support sales by ensuring that all customers’ profiles are educated, interested, and engaged — and more likely to start, or continue, doing business with you.
Agree on processes and roles
As you start to execute on your goals, sales and marketing managers should inevitably interact. A repeatable model for enabling cross-functional collaboration will let the head of both departments easily engage one another using agreed-upon language, thus eliminating confusion on roles, responsibilities, and expectations. Determine and document how you expect sales and marketing teams to interact and what two departments are responsible for. Establishing these elements upfront will streamline collaborative engagements down the line.
Also, exchange feedback
Typically, marketing creates, develops, and delivers sales assets with little to no input from the sellers themselves. As a result, content doesn’t meet sales reps’ needs or fails to make an impact. With regular meet-ups, marketers can create content that addresses sellers’ needs effectively — resulting in greater adoption of marketing content and the reduction of wasted hours and one-off requests.
In case of new product launches or campaigns spurring growth, leverage closed-loop feedback to fully empower your leaders from both teams to examine market dynamics and buyer behavior, assess new opportunities and quickly pivot strategies to go after agreed-upon goals.
Build a collaborative culture
Here at IT By Design, our sales and marketing leaders regularly meet to communicate progress on goals, explore opportunities for growth, and offer feedback. When top leaders make the effort to stay aligned, there is a trickle-down effect to direct reports. These actions show their teams that collaboration is not only encouraged, but expected. Simple changes, such as celebrating cross-functional wins and joining another team’s L10 go a long way toward building a tightly aligned, highly successful culture.
Remember, friction between teams can be uncomfortable, but it’s also necessary to grow. Encouraging constructive criticism in regular collaborative meetings should act as an opportunity for sales and marketing leaders to come together as a team to understand what the customers’ needs are and how your products can address them.
Final Thought: Whether you’re a team of ten or a global MSP, sales and marketing alignment is critical to your success. Start your journey to greater alignment by exchanging ideas and understanding customers’ pain points together.