In most companies, sales and marketing teams don’t collaborate efficiently. They don’t have access to each other’s data, nor do they fully understand each other’s roles and responsibilities. This arrangement has many downsides, including:
- Longer buying cycles
- Poor campaign deliverability
- Lower ROI
- Loss of business revenue (upwards of 10% or more annually)
What’s more, disorganization between the two teams can breed a toxic environment that hampers productivity and work satisfaction. According to CSO Insights, companies with adaptable sales and marketing processes witness 10.2% more sales reps achieving their targets.
Besides, they can extract 208% more value from marketing, with 108% less friction. However, that would be harder to achieve now that everyone is working in a remote environment.
Ensuring remote readiness is a challenge; HBR reports that 52% of remote employees feel their colleagues mistreat them and leave them out in important matters of work.
So, if your company is seeking to reap the benefits of a remote sales and marketing alignment, it is necessary to restructure the two teams to facilitate better workflow between them. Here are five best practices to follow:
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1. Have unified buyer personas
The end goal of both the teams is the same, i.e., to target, nurture, and convert as many consumers as possible. However, if you ask each department the definition of their target customers, you are bound to find some variation.
This gap often leads to situations where sales and marketing invest time and resources on those who are not necessarily their prospects. The point is that both departments have the same target audience, and they need to be reminded repeatedly.
Therefore, it is necessary to develop and communicate accurate and uniform buyer personas across the company. Understanding your ideal customers well is vital to drive product/service development, content creation, sales follow up, and everything else relating to customer management.
Simply put: your remote sales reps will become more adept at connecting with the target audience, and the marketing team will be better informed as to who it wants the content to reach.
2. Systematize lead scoring
Remote sales and marketing teams must have an ongoing conversation about qualifying criteria. They should have one process for lead scoring and evaluation. That is where Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) enter the picture.
These terms represent the goals of each team. Therefore, while defining them, marketers should ask questions like:
- How much did the target customer engage with a particular eBook?
- How many times did they interact with it?
Similarly, sales reps should find answers to:
- What do their prospects need?
- Can they afford your business offering?
- What other solutions/competitors are they considering?
If the two teams don’t define these terms in the same way, their leads are highly likely to be scored incorrectly, resulting in many missed opportunities for your business.
Remote working often increases lapses in communication between and within teams. Therefore, it is essential to define the terms accurately to eliminate any confusion and convert MQLs to SQLs easily.
3. Put a Service-Level-Agreement (SLA) in place
If you don’t have an SLA between sales and marketing yet, now is the time to make one. An SLA is a contract that details what both departments have to do to boost business revenue together. A typical SLA comprises:
a. Individual goals of sales and marketing teams
For example, marketing personnel may need to provide a specific number of leads to their sales counterparts every month, and the sales team may be required to follow up on those leads within a particular period.
b. Resources needed by both parties to do their job
What do both teams need from each other to be successful? Consulting on sales pitches? Weekly status reports? Important documents that could give an overview of client pain points?
c. Sales and marketing SPOCs
A remote working arrangement requires every employee to communicate clearly and proactively. Therefore, appoint one person from each team to ensure a smooth flow of information.
d. Way forward when targets are not achieved
If the monthly or quarterly goals of sales and marketing teams are somehow not met, document how each of them will move forward to make up for potential lost revenues.
With an SLA in place, both the teams can support each other based on clear, numerical goals. It eliminates the possibility of “blame game” (a common issue among remote workers) and shifts the focus on what needs to be done by every sales rep and marketer in your company.
4. Facilitate the sharing of information with an integrated CRM
Sales reps spend a considerable part of their day glued to their company’s CRM, while the marketers stick to their marketing automation software. As a result, it becomes difficult to know the progress being made daily, which in turn causes significant communication and information gaps.
An integrated CRM will allow both the teams to function easily. Marketers will have access to all the leads being pursued by the sales team. Any target customer moves through various stages such as cold lead, warm lead, opportunity, and others, depending on how much interaction they have had with the business.
With this information, marketers can help the sales teams tailor prospect conversations accordingly via email drip campaigns, lead magnets, paid advertising, and more.
Similarly, by adding information surrounding the lead’s likes, dislikes, and concerns to the CRM, sales reps can help their marketing counterparts in aligning their resources (e.g., newsletters or social media) with new insights.
For example, if the sales team observes a surge in GDPR compliance-related queries in March, then your marketers can produce more blogs on GDPR around Feb-March and promote them extensively via the company newsletter.
That way, leads will only receive relevant content from your company, and will thus be more inclined towards doing business with you.
5. Promote clear communication lines
If you want your remote sales reps and marketers to develop honest working relationships with each other, you must promote the use of tools such as Slack, Zoom, or Google Meet aggressively. Ensure the two teams catch up once every week or 14 days.
These status meetings will help them stay on top of each other’s progress, discuss MQLs and SQLs, identify new opportunities and content needs, brainstorm lead generation ideas and campaign concepts, and more together.
Alternatively, through remote work, it is easier than ever for marketing to join client or prospect calls with their sales counterparts to get an understanding of what content and messaging resonates with the buyer personas.
Besides, deploy collaboration tools such as Asana, Ryver, Trello, or Basecamp to enable both teams to schedule, assign, and track tasks efficiently.
Summing it up
Sales and marketing alignment is vital for business success; however, many companies struggle to implement a strategy that enables both the teams to work in sync. Therefore, start with the basics: set buyer personas and goals to be achieved to convert prospects.
Implement processes and tools that enable your remote teams to do their job. Almost 90% of companies that put collaborative sales and marketing efforts report an exponential in lead conversion. When your sales and marketing teams work together, more can be accomplished.