Aligning Sales and Marketing

Careful handling of the customer handoff not only increases motivation for sales and marketing but keeps everyone from having to work harder to get business.

It’s hard enough to close a sale when buyers have immense choice in the new economy. So, why hurt yourself further by having a disjointed sales and marketing process? If sales doesn’t close well qualified leads, then it creates a chasm that neglects revenue that your company could greatly benefit from.

If your marketing serves up cold leads that are not even ready to buy, then this can create disillusionment with sales teams.

To see the blame game between sales and marketing is not uncommon. The frustration between the two teams comes from a lack of alignment around winning customers together.

The fact is that there is no us and them when it comes to winning new customers. There is only we. We either succeed together or suffer from losing together.

Sales Needs to Close Qualified Leads

The job of sales is to find out if a person is ready to have a sales discussion and close them. If they are not ready, then there needs to be a fluid way to nurture the person until they are ready.

They may need more time or information. They may not have the right timing or take a long time to build trust with.

Having a marketing partner or team to nurture leads over the long haul helps keep the pipeline full ongoing.  Nurturing a relationship is a tricky ordeal and takes a lot of cycles of providing valuable information and timely calls to action.

Sales tends to be about urgency and moving towards closing. When a prospect is not ready, then most salespeople check out. It’s not the low-hanging and ready fruit they are seeking or adept at winning over months.

This is why it is important to have a way for an unready buyer to continually receive value and position the brand until they are ready. Once that happens, then the salesperson can reenter into the conversation to close the sale.

Marketing Creates The Pipeline of Ready Buyers

A marketing team that can make unready leads ready frees up sales team members to focus on the most profitable leads. This is rigorous work that is both art and science. There needs to be a way to build trust over time and woo a stranger to want to engage in a conversation. It’s a different pace than sales is used to. It’s typically a longer game of nurturing, waiting and making it easy to take action.

Ultimately, an unready buyer is part of a broader funnel pipeline that moves a person over time. It’s based on relevance and timing. Marketing’s job is to ready digital body language and continue to position with helpful information and content over time.

If a salesperson determines that someone is not ready to move to a legitimate conversation, they should easily be added to the marketing funnel from a CRM process or some other agreed upon method that is continuous and easy.

Integrating Two Teams

When the selling process and the buying process are not integrated, then opportunities are lost. There has to be an alignment based on goals and rewards. Both teams have to be looking out for each other because the reward is the same for both.

Marketing should care that the leads they do present or nurture are qualified and ready for a sales conversation.

Sales should act promptly and take the baton from a marketing generated lead to keep the momentum and opportunity ready for action.

If sales is working out of their CRM or their email, then these systems should be an integration point to push leads into marketing funnels and systems. This may be subscriber lists, lead flow campaigns or a variety of marketing management channels.

Ultimately, the entire process should revolve around the customer’s experience and make them feel like they are attended to in their unready or ready state of mind.

We realize that this can be harder to make happen because of team cultures, personalities or other irrationalities. But it doesn’t mean the issue will go away. Bleeding because of a lack of alignment costs everyone.

If you could make your sales and marketing process work together better, what would you want to happen?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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