Aligning sales and marketing teams is a challenge as old as the corporate structure itself. For most companies, marketing’s job is to generate leads, and sales’ job is to turn those leads into clients. But this process should not be siloed. It should be a cohesive, aligned strategy. Sales and marketing alignment shortens the sales cycle and links ROI directly to marketing materials, which makes you look like a marketing Rockstar.
Top 4 Ways to Align Sales and Marketing Strategy
- Top-down Initiative
In a lot of businesses, there’s huge tension between sales and marketing teams. In sales, they don’t appreciate all the work that marketing does, and marketing doesn’t understand all of the different situations that the sales team faces. The very first step is an executive agreement.
Once you have executive buy-in, bring in a fresh pair of eyes, such as a sales operations person, who works directly at the intersection of marketing and sales. This person should work directly with each team to direct where content marketing assets are kept and how they’re organized, keep CRM systems aligned and organized, and help marketing and sales leaders create effective analytics tools.
- Content is King
You’ve heard this expression before. Content marketing’s role, as it concerns sales, is to push potential customers further down the sales funnel before a salesperson even contacts them (refer to previous post about the customer journey [link]). Since customers today research purchases in the early stages of the buying cycle, content marketing takes on the education role once held by sales professionals.
When creating marketing assets, think about how content can help answer customers’ questions and concerns along each step in the customer journey. Content needs to be distributed throughout the funnel. Let sales direct the content you come out with, and then you’ll be able to help at every level of the sales funnel.
- Better Lead Generation Strategy
Lead generation suffers when sales and marketing aren’t aligned. With marketing and sales working together, there’s a higher focus on the quality of leads. Marketing is a continuous process of strategy, execution, evaluation and adjustment. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing is intuitively built to align sales and marketing, by sharing the same database for a 360-degree view of prospects and customers. It allows for easy access to contact and lead information, lead scoring, and communication between sales and marketing. Marketing can assign calls or follow up to a sales team member when it’s time, and sales can login and see the prospect history.
- Build a Marketing Funnel That Supports Your Sales Process
Using the right digital tools allows your organization access to insights that will help build a process for sales and a funnel within marketing that are not only aligned but customized to the needs of your buyers—thus creating a process built on 1:1 engagement at scale.
Inbound marketing best practices focuses on moving buyers from the Top of the Funnel (ToFu), to the Middle of the Funnel (MoFu) and ultimately into the Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu)—engaging with digital touchpoints through their buyer’s journey and responding with the right content at the right time and right context. This creates more sales-ready leads that are more likely to convert to paying customers and ultimately improves marketing’s ROI.
Adding automation with digital tools helps accelerate your pipeline and gives you insight into how buyers are moving within their journey to the BoFu. While marketing has control and data of the content at the ToFu, they typically don’t have control or view of the BoFu. Aligning process and tools is extremely important to improving sales and marketing success.
Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing by checking out our webcast.
Take a look at this guide that addresses four common marketing challenges and will walk you through: lead generation and scoring, customer journey examples, the top four ways to align sales and marketing strategy, and marketing ROI.