The Marketing and Sales functions are two parts of the same engine – the business development engine – and yet, in too many organizations, they operate in very distinct silos, each pointing fingers at one another for not working as a team and, ultimately, blaming each other when revenue goals are not hit.
But when Marketing and Sales work in unison, each supporting one another and taking advantage of what the other has to offer, both functions can achieve new levels of success. Here are 8 proven ways to get these two critical functions to work together…
#1. Joint meetings
It’s likely that weekly staff meetings are part of your firm’s standard operating procedures. But are your Marketing and Sales teams having their meetings together? There needs to be maximum transparency between the two groups. Both need to know what the other is working on. Joint meetings become a forum for Q&A, new product discussions, marketplace issues and so on.
As the old saying goes, if you really want to know me, “walk a mile in my shoes.” If your Marketing folks occasionally go out on sales calls with your sales reps (or listen in on telephone sales calls), they’ll develop an empathy for what your salespeople go through day in and day out. Likewise, if your salespeople spend a day every once in a while, shadowing your marketing team, they’ll develop an understanding of what marketing is doing to help support sales.
#3. Market research
No one is closer to your clients and prospects than your salespeople. They know what’s happening in the marketplace, they understand the needs and challenges of your target markets and they know what clients and prospects are asking for. All of that is vital information for Marketing, giving them real-world feedback to continually enhance strategy, positioning and messaging. And Sales will appreciate that they were asked for their input… and that it was used.
Marketing should always include your sales team in the review process during the creation of new marketing materials, advertising campaigns, website updates, etc. After all, it’s the salespeople who will be the primary beneficiary of those marketing efforts.
#5. Whaddaya need?
One of the primary roles of your marketing department is to support sales, but they can’t do it in a silo. Sales needs to tell marketing what kind of support materials they need – e.g. sales collateral, case studies, white papers, exhibit booth materials, PowerPoint decks, etc. – and why, when and how they will be used. Make sure that line of communication is always open.
#6. Yell at them both!
When revenue targets are not being achieved – don’t just focus your blame on sales. Scold Marketing and Sales equally. Admonish your salespeople for not being active and closing enough deals… then point the finger of blame at Marketing for not achieving a high enough level of awareness or generating enough high-quality leads. It will help them both realize that “we’re in this together” and accelerate their bonding as ‘teammates.’
#7. Create a “mutual admiration society”
These two functions really do rely on each other for their respective success. So, make sure they publicly recognize each other when something good happens. Your marketing team can acknowledge a new client publicly, congratulating the appropriate rep for closing the deal. Sales can thank Marketing for their help in closing those deals, as well as saying ‘thank you’ publicly for the creation of new sales materials and selling tools.
#8. Grab a cold one.
Getting Marketing and Sales to work better together isn’t always about ‘work.’ Sometimes, you’ll need to get them out of the office – to break down barriers – so they can get to know each other on a more personal level. Take them out together for a drink after work, take them all bowling or to a ballgame. Friends always make better co-workers.
The more opportunities that you create for interaction, information sharing and working together in support of revenue growth, the more that Marketing and Sales will each come to recognize that both roles are vital to each other and to their company’s success. And once you get to that point, you will have created one, unified team.