smb-tech-trendsHow effectively are your marketing and sales teams working together? After all, they both have the same goal – to help generate revenue for your small business. It makes sense that the two functions should go hand in hand with marketing helping to generate leads by communicating the value of your offerings to the marketplace and sales converting leads into agreements.

But marketing and sales do not always align. Messages that marketing conveys via promotional channels and those sales delivers to customers and prospects during one-on-one interactions often are out of sync.

With the emergence of social media, such conflicts are inherently more of a problem than they were in the past. Today’s buyers are far more educated than before. Social media has enabled marketing departments to hold conversations with customers and prospects well before sales steps in to follow up with a lead or respond to an inquiry. As a result, inconsistencies between marketing and sales messages can cause confusion that may drive buyers to the competition.

When your company is small and the marketing and sales functions are handled by a few team members, it’s not difficult to manage communication between the two functions. However, as your small business grows, there is potential for a gap to emerge between the two functions. At its worse, some departments share a poor view of each other. According to a survey conducted by the Corporate Executive Board, 87 percent of the terms used by sales and marketing to describe one another were negative.

Align your marketing and sales

employees working togetherAligning marketing and sales teams to deliver better leads and an enhanced buyer experience leads to improved revenue and profits. In order to ensure the two efforts work together, take the following steps:

Clarify goals: Both efforts need to work toward the same goals as it applies to generating and closing leads. Determine your closing ratio – the number of closed deals to the number of sales opportunities – so that marketing knows how many leads it needs to generate.

Share a common language and terms: Make sure there is agreement between marketing and sales on what qualifies a lead and who is a target customer.  Also be sure that areas of responsibility between the two are clear in terms of producing content and messaging.

Encourage communication: Hold sales and marketing meetings so that both efforts understand the needs of each other. Sales can share information that they’ve learned through customer interactions to help marketing produce on-target marketing materials. Also provide opportunities for feedback. Marketing should understand the effectiveness of the tools they develop for sales. Sales should get feedback from marketing on how well they are communicating in sales demos and presentations

Keep messaging consistent: Be sure there is agreement about company, brand and product messages and ensure that they are consistent in your marketing content and sales pitches.

Measure results: Make it a joint effort for marketing and sales to measure results to see what is working and what needs adjusting or where new solutions are needed to meet stated goals.

What have you done to make sure your marketing and sales efforts are working together to identify leads, close sales faster and ensure customer satisfaction?