March 6

Boosting Sales and Marketing Teamwork: Strategies for Effective Collaboration

Marketing Strategy

5  comments

Just returned from a industry summit, and it was a blast. Yet, it highlighted a persistent challenge: the critical need for teamwork in sales and marketing teamwork.

The familiar narrative of misaligned marketing and sales teams swapping complaints is all too common, and frankly, it’s a narrative we need to change.

Addressing the Problem

The gap between marketing and sales departments is costing companies millions in wasted opportunities. Despite having stellar lead generation programs, the lack of teamwork in sales and marketing teamwork can derail even the most promising campaigns.

Solution Introduction

To bridge this divide, it’s essential to cultivate daily teamwork in sales and marketing, far beyond the occasional planning meetings. At markempa, we’ve developed a unique approach to foster marketing teamwork through what we call ‘huddles’.

Huddle Details

Our huddles are short, focused meetings between the sales and marketing teams, held daily and weekly, designed to enhance teamwork in sales. These sessions are built around three core actions: Talk. Understand. Execute. This simple yet powerful loop encourages marketing teamwork and ensures everyone is aligned and moving forward together.

Broadening Collaboration

Collaboration is crucial for effective sales and marketing teamwork, and huddles are just one way to achieve it. Apart from huddles, teams can share insights and best practices, jointly develop strategic plans, and explore additional avenues for collaboration. These efforts contribute to stronger teamwork between sales and marketing.

Maintaining a collaborative environment requires daily interactions and strategies. It’s important to ensure that teams are communicating regularly and effectively. This helps to foster a sense of shared responsibility, and encourages everyone to work towards common goals.

Sharing successes is also essential for improving collaboration. By celebrating wins and highlighting best practices, teams can learn from each other and continuously improve their performance.

Enhancing Teamwork Through Huddles

During our huddles, we focus on several key activities to foster better collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Here’s how we break it down:

Customer Understanding and Communication

  • Get feedback from the sales team – look at the conversion process and have regular face-to-face meetings or conference calls.
  • Seek to understand if the sales team is at capacity. Don’t generate more leads if they are focused on closing deals.
  • Encourage salespeople to follow-up on leads and hold them accountable, while still treating them like customers.
  • Remember what Steven Covey says, “seek first to understand. Then be understood.”
  • Mutually share new insights gained from customer feedback.
  • Discuss common concerns raised by potential customers and how the sales team is addressing them and develop solutions together.

Strategy and Planning

  • Develop a strategic lead generation and growth plan between sales and marketing.
  • Be flexible in your planning, so that you can adapt to changing requirements.
  • Assign revenue goals to your joint sales and marketing plan.
  • Go over the upcoming lead generation program strategy and what the outcomes of that strategy are expected to be.
  • Jointly develop message map and value proposition for your lead generation program.
  • Map out your customer’s decision and buying process and then map out your value proposition for each role involved in the buying process.

Process Improvement and Best Practices

  • Marketing and sales can work together on standardizing and documenting their lead generation and sales process.
  • Centralize the lead qualification process.
  • Share lead generation best practices amongst the sales team.
  • Develop a culture that values leads by creating a universal lead definition.
  • Close-the-loop on each sales lead being generated.
  • Define and map out the responsibilities shared by both sales and marketing.
  • Does your lead generation messaging align with your target audience’s needs?

Collaboration and Support

  • Use team huddles to introduce team members.
  • Develop a marketing program that helps the sales team sell at a personal level.
  • Train your salespeople on how to optimize your lead generation investment and provide feedback.
  • Get the marketing team out in the field with the sales team regularly.
  • Arrange your compensation so there’s shared accountability around lead generation.
  • See that marketing takes over as many of the non-selling tasks as possible.
  • Integrate sales and marketing activity by using the same database or CRM system.

Insight and Analysis

  • Share details about upcoming events, articles, and press coverage.
  • Share effectiveness measurements from recent lead generation activities.
  • Analyze competitive information, and develop a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis.
  • Ask, what have you learned from the leads? Are there changes in hot topics for your target audience?
  • Improve the relevance of sales tools and marketing materials with sales input.
  • Determine an answer to the question: What is the life cycle of a lead?

Strategic Customer Engagement

  • Strategic accounts: Can you develop content and lead generation events with your existing customers as references (ambassadors) to your audience?
  • Define your expertise: how can you demonstrate your ability to solve business problems and share new ideas?

I’m wondering what you do in your company to foster better sales and marketing collaboration?

About the author 

Brian Carroll

Brian Carroll is the CEO and founder of markempa, helping companies to convert more customers with empathy-based marketing.

He is the author of the bestseller, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale and founded B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group with 20,301+ members.

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  1. Brian,

    Really glad to have come across your site and blog. Always good to have more ammunition when communicating to our clients the importance of the daily relationship between sales and marketing. This is the stuff they should be teaching in business school. In fact most fortune 500’s don’t have a clue as to how to work these two disciplines together. The middle market can be even more painful to watch. Thanks again for your insight.

    Mike Kolbrener, CEO Kolbrener USA

  2. Brian,
    I completely agree with your comments. The lack of collaboration between Marketing and Sales remains a huge challenge, especially in B2B. I would like to emphasize the importance of feedback. Many B2B businesses have trouble telling how effective their marketing campaigns are simply because of long sales cycles. If marketers were able to get better feedback and actually get an idea of what they need to change in their lead generation process, they could give Sales better leads. I think that feedback could go a long way toward bridging the gap between Sales and Marketing and establishing a more trusting atmosphere.

    Nick
    http://www.pardot.com

  3. Agreed, I have been strugling with this sales and marketing for a few years. All of a sudden I realised I was working in a new role that needs to be created.

    kind of a “smarketing architect” idea.

    PS: I think sales and marketing should be paid on one thing and one thing only – CLOSED revenue. (+ a nice high base salary of course”

  4. Brian,

    I am with you 100%. Marketing and sales should be working together toward the same goals. Unfortunately, both fail to get it.

    I have called repeatedly for sales and marketing to be under one senior executive, whose compensation is partly based on goals that are complementary to both functions–lead generations that create sales. Furthermore, everyone in marketing and sales should have a portion of their pay based on those same goals. When leads are bad, employee pay in both sales and marketing take a hit. Similarly, when deals aren’t closed, they both take a hit.

    This is a partial and simplistic solution but space does not permit a thorough review of the challenges.

  5. Brian,

    As always, thank you for your pithy tips on how sales and marketing can work together more effectively as a team. The operative word here being “team.” Sales and marketing are really one team with one ultimate goal—revenue growth. CEOs can play a bigger role here by emphasizing that sales/marketing are accountable for revenue. Statement of the obvious but it’s actually far less common than you’d think. So I would add to your list three to-do’s for the CEO:

    1. Ask your sales and marketing VPs to show you lead conversion rates—from first customer contact phase to closed sale. This should pinpoint exactly which sales stage (or buying phase) needs work.

    2. Separately, ask your sales and marketing VPs to define a “qualified lead.” The closer the definition , the closer the teams are working together. See Brian’s Universal Lead Definition piece at:
    http://www.markempa.com/guidelines_for_/

    3. Ask your inside sales manager what she thinks of marketing (upstream) and sales (downstream). Inside sales often has the best vantage point. They know which marketing messages and tactics work best with customers and which don’t. Inside sales also knows which leads the sales team has converted to sales.

    Thanks, Brian.
    Sridhar

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