Does Your Sales and Marketing Need Relationship Therapy?

While companies often pair marketing and sales in the corporate structure, these entities often don’t align in their approach and messaging. But today’s buyer is socially connected, digitally driven and empowered, with limitless access to information, which means marketing and sales need to present a unified message across all touch points or risk worrying — and losing — customers.

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Work Together to Maximize Growth

Tip #1: Bridge the Gap

Communication is crucial, so schedule regular meetings with the entire sales and marketing departments, not just the managers. Encourage both departments to attend events together — such as the lunch and learns by Sales & Marketing Executives Victoria — so they can interact outside of the usual office setting.

Tip #2: Recognize Differences

Harvard Business Review’s article “Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing” identified the friction points between the two departments as economics and culture. Educating each on what the other is doing — and why — and elaborating on the mutual benefits, can break down the disconnect.

Tip #3: Set Your Service Level Agreement

To help your teams reach their shared goals, consider implementing a service level agreement (SLA). This should detail marketing goals — with concrete numerical targets — and the sales activities that will support them. Both teams use this SLA as a commitment to support each other, based on those set targets.

Get Your House in Order

Misalignment between sales and marketing isn’t a new problem but it is one whose effects are being felt more than ever before. Aligned to Achieve: How to Unite Your Sales and Marketing Teams into a Single Force for Growth, written by sales and marketing executives Tracy Eiler and Andrea Austin, helps readers understand the cost of the disconnect and shares strategies and processes to kickstart collaboration.

Ask the Expert: Joe Girard

Joe Girard, the founder of Change Grow Achieve, is a Victoria-based sales coach who helps organizations around the world learn how to increase sales and make the most of their business opportunities. PHOTO: JEFFREY BOSDET.

How important is marketing and sales alignment?

It’s more important today because there is so much noise. We’re bombarded by email and marketing messages. If they’re not in line there is a continuity issue. As a customer, you want to know that if your contact gets hit by a bus, the company can deliver for you. The buying decision is always based on trust. If marketing and sales aren’t in alignment, [the buyer’s] spidey sense goes off.

What do you say to people who believe there is nothing new to learn about selling?

The biggest “ah-ha” for me over the last few years is that, while there are unlimited technical things you can learn about prospecting, building systems, CRM and all these new tools like chat bots, the area that really makes more sense to focus on is psychology.  By learning about neuroscience, influence, habit and subconscious communication, you can start to understand what is really going on in customers’ minds.

What do you think of social selling?

You have to go where your customers are. The challenge I see is that we’re being told we have to be on LinkedIn and Twitter and Pinterest, and the next thing — there are a million places you have to be. So everyone sells a program to teach you how to do that, not knowing if it’s exactly right for your business. You have to be social selling where your customers are. If they’re not on LinkedIn, a LinkedIn strategy is stupid.