It’s a tale as old as time — sales teams and marketing teams don’t get along. Both sides should be working toward the same goals, but historically these departments have had a contentious relationship, misunderstanding and mistrusting each other.
Despite that history, the evidence is starting to show that organizations have a lot to gain from breaking the status quo and bringing sales and marketing together. According to Hubspot, companies with united sales and marketing departments — often referred to as “smarketing” — see a 36% boost to customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates.
So how do you get your sales and marketing teams to play nice with each other? There are four key points to focus on to create a cohesive sales and marketing strategy.
Sales and Marketing Starts With Communication
The attitude of a team starts at the top. If your Sales Director diminishes the contributions of the marketing team, the salespeople will follow suit. If the Marketing VP thinks that salespeople refuse to get behind important lead-building initiatives, the team will start to feel the same way.
Uniting the two departments means that team leaders will have to change not only the mindsets of their teams, but their own as well. While day-to-day objectives will differ, it’s vital that teams understand that their broader goals are the same — create leads, close accounts, and increase revenue.
Trust is also a vital component of a good smarketing strategy. Marketing must believe that the leads they generate are being converted to the best of the sales team’s ability, and the sales team has to trust that the leads handed off to them by marketing are valuable.
To achieve trust, communication is imperative. A survey by ToutApp indicated that 70% of marketing professionals want to meet with the sales team more frequently, and of those who met more often, 89% deemed the meetings "effective" at improving marketing outcomes.
Unifying The Vision Of Sales And Marketing
Both teams are working toward the same goal, but it’s not always obvious to both of them that that’s the case. Both sales and marketing have a vested interest in showing a return on investment on ad campaigns, rolling out new products, developing new markets, and increasing revenue.
Share your successes, too! When sales and marketing win together, they can start to share in admiration and respect for the other’s role in the company.
Creating An SLA: Agree to Agree
An SLA, or service level agreement, is an important piece of any smarketing strategy. In an SLA, the marketing team agrees on a certain number of leads to deliver to the sales teams as well as a benchmark for lead quality.
The sales team agrees to pursue those leads in a certain way, making a certain number of attempts to contact the leads before giving up on them, to ensure a good ROI for the marketing team’s efforts.
In order to set up the SLA, you have to answer a few questions. How many leads does sales need in order to perform? Do all of them come from marketing, or is the sales team generating some of its own leads? And are the marketing team nurturing the leads at all? Regardless of the source, some leads might need extra work before the sales team is ready to pursue them.
Track Your Results
One of the most useful tools to facilitate cooperation between the sales and marketing teams is data — the more tangible and quantifiable your results, the more accountable both teams will be toward their common goals.
Define measurable results. What qualifies as a warm lead? How many followups will sales conduct? What constitutes success or failure? Both teams should agree on key performance indicators (KPIs) and understand exactly what’s expected of them.
After KPIs are set up, close the loop! Measure and track all your initiatives to see what’s working and what’s not. Stick to the strategies that generate good results, tweaking them and using more of them. As for the ones that don’t work? Ditch them for something that does!