138186632In a small company, the sales and marketing functions are usually the responsibility of one or two people with blended roles - which makes the communication of goals and priorities simpler and clearer. But as an organization grows and teams are formed, the lines of communication often begin to break down.

Your sales and marketing teams are like two sections in a choir - if they’re singing different tunes, or are playing at different tempos, be prepared for conflict! If your performances are painful to everyone involved, you need to track down the source of the dissonance so you can get everyone singing in perfect harmony!

1) Complaints About Poor Lead Quality

When you’re off-key, your sales team spends too much time talking to unqualified leads or cold-calling to make their quota, which is frustrating and inefficient. They may be forced to sell to non-ideal customers to make their numbers, which can also result in customer service, satisfaction, and profitability issues for your company.

Solution: Make sure you’re attracting the leads your sales team wants

Have your sales, marketing, and customer service teams work together to create an ideal customer profile so everyone is on the same page about who you want to sell to. Then design content that educates these customers about your company’s ability to provide solutions to their problems. You’ll attract more qualified prospects with content aimed at their specific needs, and your sales team will thank you!

When you’re in tune, your marketing team understands your company’s ideal customer profile and generates content and collateral designed to attract enough qualified leads to meet your revenue goals.

2) Too Many "Cat Videos"

When you’re off-key, the marketing team is busy posting cute videos of cats on the newest social media channel instead of helping the sales team nurture leads through existing channels.

Solution: Align new marketing ideas with established sales goals

Many marketing teams have a habit of getting distracted by cool tools and hot trends. Help them maintain focus by making sure your marketing team is committed to supporting the sales team’s goals, and that those goals are in turn aligned with your company’s vision for success. Organize your ideas by campaign or buyer persona to stay focused on building content and infrastructure that is designed to support and optimize your sales process.

When you’re in tune, the marketing team brainstorms ideas for helping the sales team achieve their quarterly goals, and new ideas are only implemented if they help advance the company’s vision.

3) Poor Communication Between Teams

When you’re off-key, the marketing team celebrates their increase in Twitter followers and Facebook likes, while the sales team laments the fact that they’ve missed their sales quota again.

Solution: Establish a regular meeting pulse between sales & marketing teams

It’s not uncommon for marketing teams to have very little knowledge of the sales process, and for sales teams to be clueless about the effort required to generate the leads they are following up on. Meet regularly to establish shared goals and success metrics, anticipate issues, celebrate successes, and plan content that supports the sales process.

When you’re in tune, your marketing and sales teams are meeting regularly to set strategy, review results, uncover issues, and develop solutions together.

4) Generic Messaging and Content

When you’re off-key, your marketing team develops generic materials that sound like everyone else in your industry, and your sales team loses deals to inferior competitors.

Solution: Clearly define and communicate what differentiates you from the competition

Work together to define three to five unique differentiators, and then develop marketing materials that will help your sales team convey your competitive advantage to prospects. Don’t forget to talk to customers to find out why they chose you over your competition - the results may surprise and delight you!

When it’s working: The marketing team has developed white papers, videos, and other collateral for the sales team to use when educating prospects about your competitive advantage.

5) Missed Opportunities

When you’re off-key, your sales team spends $15K exhibiting at a trade show, but nobody has a plan for collecting contact information from attendees or following up with them after the show.

Solution: Develop joint sales & marketing plans for each event you attend

During your joint meetings, make sure each team is aware of each other’s scheduled events, including who will be participating, and the purpose and theme for each event. Agree on your goals for participating, then develop communication plans and content campaigns to maximize your company’s exposure before, during, and after the event.

When you’re in tune, your sales and marketing teams have developed a multi-platform campaign for attracting visitors and following up after each event, and you can track the ROI of each event you attend by reporting on the leads and sales that resulted from your participation.

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Originally published Jun 3, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016