Historically, the two “top guns” of customer engagement have never really seen eye-to-eye thanks to a long time rivalry fueled by their ego and perpetuated by differing metrics. All over the world, sales and marketing teams have inherited various roadblocks that keep them from working well together. Mistrust, miscommunication and different goals continue to pull the teams in separate directions.
And while the two departments have been on a highway to the danger zone since they were created, the past decade has introduced many changes within each position to bring back that loving feeling with respect to promoting your business, getting in front of customers and closing the sale.
The Customer Journey Has Changed Over the Years
Gone are the days of taking leads straight to bed or losing them forever. And you can’t just ask for permission to buzz the tower with a little bit of information and expect to create a long and distinguished list of customers who have everything they need to make a purchasing decision.
No, to create a successful strategy that helps convert prospects into customers, this tenuous relationship between marketing and sales must be rebuilt.
Okay... if you haven’t made the connection yet, this is just another example of how life imitates the quintessential 80’s film Top Gun; sales and marketing fall into the role of wingmen with the same reluctant, lone-wolf turned altruistic hero mentality as the film’s main conflicting characters, Maverick and Iceman.
Both enter the relationship thinking the other doesn’t know what they’re doing, but, once they are forced to collaborate, they discover how much easier it is to be successful with another expert at your side. All that’s missing is a beach volleyball scene…
How Inbound Marketing Helps Marketing and Sales Teams Work Together
Nowadays, if you want top gun performance, there are certain rules of engagement to follow and they’re dictated by, who else, but the customer. Yes, thanks to inbound marketing, the goal is to attract visitors, convert them into leads, close the sale and then delight them with a continued high standard of quality content and service.
Businesses that match these requirements are among the elite. So, how do we optimize our content to attract qualified leads? It starts with rebuilding and then cultivating the relationship between marketing and sales.
To do that, we need to address what is pulling the two apart and what can be done to mend them back together again.
6 Common Issues Between Marketing and Sales and How to Solve Them
1) Sales doesn’t always see the relevance in marketing campaigns
This is often due to a lack of communication that can easily be mitigated by joining each other’s meetings or talking through the goal of each campaign. Maybe some fine-tuning can be done to optimize the results and provide a much needed outsider’s view.
2) Marketing gets frustrated when sales doesn’t share the content that has been created
Usually, this is because sales doesn’t know the best way to bridge the gap between the content and the intended audience. Remedy this by discussing the purpose of your content and what pain points or topics they address.
3) Sometimes, sales just can’t find the marketing collateral
To help with this, marketing can create a shared space on the intranet or CRM or even Google Drive where updated content can be added or removed to help educate a sales prospect.
4) Marketing isn’t providing quality leads.
It’s the age-old complaint of sales and it’s often yet another result of miscommunication or conflicting metrics. To help, sales can forward any questions they get from prospects or customers so marketing can create content around the pain point, which should attract more optimum leads.
5) Sales needs to “close the loop” and mark contacts in the CRM
This will provide critical feedback to Marketing so they know if the leads that are coming in are working. Additional training in the CRM can help both sides create a more productive system for everyone involved. Data input isn’t necessarily fun – it’s just necessary.
6) Marketing often hands over information to sales and then goes their separate way
For many companies, there isn’t enough accountability for lead generation, nurturing and conversions. By working together through the entire buyer’s journey, Marketing and Sales can further delight customers.
When It Gets Too Close For Missiles, Switch to Guns
There is an intimate, shared responsibility between Marketing and Sales that must be understood by both sides to move forward. Collecting leads doesn’t make you a good marketer, and contacting leads doesn’t make you good at sales. Quality is what sets it apart. Are the leads qualified? Are they being contacted regarding their interests? Anything less and the customer will hit the brakes and let you fly right by.
Before the credits roll on another missed sale opportunity, your business must create the professional relationship we’re left with between Iceman and Maverick. To do this, Marketing and Sales must set aside their differences and start working for the same boss – the customer.
Get sales and marketing on the same page by working through your differences. Tighten up your communication by discussing lead quality and establishing clear goals and expectations. Also, take the time to walk a mile in each other’s shoes by attending each other’s meetings and sitting in on calls. This helps both see the other’s perspective more clearly.
Finally, track and measure what you’re doing by gating content that’s relevant to different stages of the customer journey behind forms so the leads can be filtered to appropriate channels. Sales and marketing automation make life a lot easier, but you must remain vigilant in entering the data that will make it easier to qualify your leads.
With a proper relationship in place, marketing can be sales' wingman anytime.
Originally published Feb 9, 2016 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017