Make sure Marketing and Sales are both represented at the table, and that the initiative is backed by a C-Suite member.
With all the best intentions, marketing and sales teams embark on the journey to gain more customers through initiating strategies and tools. Things will quickly go South if both parties are not part of the process from the kickoff, and if a C-Suite representative (or sponsor) is not at the table initially. If you set the ground rules early in this kickoff meeting and provide a clear pathway for escalation should a dispute arise, then you will surely be headed in the right direction.
Establish rules of participation aligned with a common goal.
Once your team is assembled and backed by a C-suite sponsor, it’s time to establish a unifying goal and make sure there are rules for the road ahead. You’ve all heard the phrase “don’t boil the ocean”, well it goes double for setting goals to gain marketing-sales alignment, while implementing the strategies and tools necessary to achieve them. So keep the goals to a minimum where each department can mutually benefit. It’s alright if a couple are high-concept, as long as you have a few key ones that are measurable. For example; you may have a goal to increase closing rates by 20% (and track via analytics for marketing), while also providing sales associates with new tech to engage with customers more effectively.
Provide a technology that everyone can agree on.
Too often companies throw tech at a problem expecting it to instantly solve a problem. This approach can be costly not only in dollars, but the tech fatigue it perpetuates when “solutions” ultimately fail due to poor user adoption creating a huge hurdle for the next solution.
To avoid this trap, make search for a technology that is designed for both marketing’s need to control the brand, the messaging, their assets and provide analytics; and sales need to have a mobile tool that can dynamically interact with customers on their terms while serving up the right contact, at the right time, instantly to address any question or concern with rich media content (on or offline). In short, you will need to find a solution that satisfies marketing’s need to control things, and sales need to be flexible and confident when standing in front of a customer.
“In today’s tech savvy world it’s unfortunate that 2/3 of customers feel that salespeople are unprepared for initial meetings. This means that reps don’t have the content or resources they need to get ready for the meetings and have value-add conversations with prospects.”
Measure your results.
It’s true that marketing needs to know more about sales, sales needs to know more about marketing, and we all need to know more about our CUSTOMERS. If things are done correctly through the selection of an adequate technology, your organization does not have to wait before getting a solution in place that starts capturing real-time data from the field, and provides powerful insight into what content is being presented and how customers are reacting to that content. The analytics derived from this data will be invaluable to your strategic execution today, tomorrow and in the future. The C-Suite is desperate for the reports generated from this activity.
Be agile, constantly looking for improvement on both marketing and sales fronts.
The final step in this ramp up to marketing-sales alignment is to realize that this is (and always be) a work in progress. With the newfound knowledge realized by implementing a technology that satisfies both marketing and sales needs, while gathering powerful analytics, both departments will have the tools to create Best Practices for presenting content, gathering customer data and creating engaging rich-media materials. The efficiencies gained and money saved throughout the organization will be a real game changer.
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With all the best intentions, marketing and sales teams embark on the journey to gain more customers through initiating strategies and tools. Things will quickly go South if both parties are not part of the process from the kickoff