How to align sales and marketing?

Upsail team


Sales in a company depend simultaneously on how well managers process applications and on what kind of leads marketers bring in (there are many more factors that affect sales, but here we will focus on these two). However, often these two parties “roll a barrel at each other” if the plan for customers and profits is not met.

See this article for how to combine align marketing and sales in a company effectively.

What are marketers and salespeople responsible for?

The areas of responsibility of sales and marketing alignment are delimited. Their interaction is coordinated by the head of the company, to whom they report on the results of their work.

Marketing and sales are two departments in a company, each performing another task at a specific funnel level. The first step is to convert visitors into leads, and the second is to convert leads into sales, which will result in a profit for the company.

The tasks of marketing in relation to sales are as follows:

  • Tell the target audience about the product

  • Motivate to buy

  • Inform regular customers about promotions and new products.

As for sellers, they:

  • Sell ​​the product to potential customers “brought” by marketers.

  • Sell ​​new products to regular customers.

  • They do upsell and cross-selling to those who have already bought.

What causes conflicts

Here are the main objections. According to sellers, marketers bring untargeted leads who will never become customers. Marketers think sellers do not interact with potential customers, so it is impossible to convert them into buyers.

Of course, if most of the traffic is spam, there can be no talk of any sales. A large number of site visits does not guarantee a large number of conversions. That is, if a marketer is only concerned with the number of leads and not their quality, it is unlikely that he will be able to find a common language with salespeople.

In turn, marketing activities that bring in targeted customers are meaningless and do not pay off if the sales department processes applications poorly.

For example, managers:

  • Not all contacts are called upon request.

  • They don’t know what conditions to offer to potential customers (they don’t know what this or that advertising campaign is aimed at)

  • They make mistakes in communication.

All of these things hinder sales. But you can blame another department for all the sins as much as you like, but this will not solve the problem.

Marketing and sales alignment activities must be more transparent for employees and management to find all weak points.

What needs to be done to get synergy from the joint work of sales and marketing

Step 1. Start developing work plans together

Unfortunately, the word “strategy” has been discredited by too much use in inappropriate contexts. So let’s start small – sales planning (annual, quarterly, monthly – it all depends on your sales cycle).

Sales planning are a key process of a company. But when top management relies only on sales statistics, then such plans do not take into account factors such as:

  • market changes;

  • changes in consumer behavior;

  • all stages of sales, including new and repeat sales;

  • planned new products/services;

  • planned promotion program;

  • work with attraction through the Internet and mobile technologies.

And here, marketing can come to the rescue: it must monitor changes in the market, “interrogate” customers, make changes to the assortment and promote the company in every possible way. Therefore, the first necessary step is to involve a marketing representative in sales planning. Here it is essential not only to get an expert opinion from a marketer but also to back it up with market data and, in the future, to materially interest the marketing service in the implementation of the plan.

Step 2. Make meetings productive, without recriminations

Some working relationships will finally begin by involving marketing in sales planning (and sales in marketing work planning). And here, the main thing is not to slide into scandals, accusations, or quiet sabotage. It is best to have an unbiased moderator from an authoritative person outside the commercial departments, such as a CEO or an independent consultant. He will be able to immediately determine the rules for holding meetings and will not let you waste time.

Step 3. Get in the habit of creating workgroups

Now that meetings are gradually becoming more efficient, and relationships between departments are smoother and more productive, we need to consolidate the result. For all essential cross-functional issues, instead of leaders’ meetings, it is better to create expert working groups. Such a working group will consider the issue raised, examine all the details, and propose a plan for further action. An employee of any department – marketing or sales – can be appointed as the leader of such a working group. The main thing is that he enjoys authority among colleagues. This will help him better structure the work of the group.

Issues on which you can create working groups of representatives of marketing and sales:

  • Assortment change;

  • Creation of new processes, for example, quality control of customer service;

  • Result of new promotions, promotions, and events;

  • Opening new channels or points of sale;

  • Change in pricing, etc.

The methodology by which the working group will work depends on the preferences of its leader. There are many such methods: from Six Sigma and Agile to personal development. Give freedom to the working group, having previously outlined the desired result, time frame, and resources provided.

You can call the working groups whatever you like: an expert council, a decision-making committee, a fellowship of the ring. The format and features of the work of groups may depend on your system of non-material motivation and corporate culture.

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