At the end of the day, every department is working together to scale the business. Every role and unique skill is a cog in the machine. Whether it’s the engineers working to improve the product or service to blow the competition out of the water, or the marketing team getting the offering out in the wild in front of new customers, each team has the same end goal: company growth. Many teams will work in silos, focusing on their own projects and deadlines, to achieve the overarching goal of the business. But in some situations cross-departmental collaboration is required to get projects out the door. Specifically, marketers and sales representatives will often work hand-in-hand to get the offering in front of the customer.
When sales and marketing teams aren’t aligned, it can be detrimental to the success of the business. A study conducted by Marketo revealed that a unified sales and marketing plan has a 67% higher probability that marketing-generated leads will close. They claim that nailing that cross-departmental collaboration is “potentially the largest opportunity for improving business performance today.” Both marketers and sales representatives have customer-facing roles, which require them to be strategic in their efforts. The teams should work together to produce the best content, communication, and go-to-market plans, but creating a unified plan that works for both teams can be a challenge.
If you don’t know where to start, consider this your official guide to merging sales and marketing efforts and creating a sales and marketing plan that drives results.
Know your role
The sales and marketing teams each have their own unique strengths, and while collaboration among the two is important, it’s also important that each team stays in their own lane.
Marketers are creatives by nature, and own the brand and voice of the company. As a marketing professional, you’re more prone to trying new strategies, collaborating on ideas, and taking bigger risks for the sake of the business’s overall success. Whether you’re inspired by impressions, or traffic, marketers tend to be motivated by results. As such, every piece of content, each campaign, and marketing plan is driven by numbers.
Sales representatives, on the other hand, are trained to be more transactional. While being personable, and having the ability to identify a good lead, sales representatives have to be persistent. They’re always chasing the next deal, and are eager to win new business. Sales representatives are the face of the company, so they tend to be the most connected to customers and their needs.
Create a plan
The two teams can support each other by coming together on a joint sales and marketing plan. Using a sales and marketing plan template is a great way to bring both teams together, outline ideas, and bring everyone up to speed. Below are some tips for creating a sales and marketing plan.
Outline the goal
First, you need to define the overarching goal for your business. How will you measure your success? Is your success defined by active users, or dollars (or both)? Once you have a goal, it’s important to look to the sales funnel to see how it can support your efforts.
Regardless of the industry, the top of every sales funnel is awareness. Insert: marketing. Awareness could be generated by organic social media posts, word of mouth, advertisements, search engine optimized content, or affiliate or influencer marketing. From there, the next stages of the sales funnel—interest, decision, and action— rely on the sales team to get in front of the prospective customers. By outlining your sales funnel, you’re defining the objectives and key results for each team member which will help them perform to the best of their ability.
Define the ideal customer
Who is your ideal customer? Is your goal to acquire more teams or individual users? Are you targeting more entry-level employees or c-suite executives? Does your offering better serve small to medium size businesses, or enterprises? A big component to outlining your goal is creating your customer persona.
Each team should be aligned on the clients you’re trying to reach and capture. If sales is running a business-to-business (b2b) campaign, while marketing is going for business-to-consumer (b2c), there will be a huge disconnect in your efforts. Define your ideal customer profile from the beginning and mold each sales and marketing plan and campaign accordingly to fit that audience.
Align on communication
While marketing owns the voice and brand of the company, the sales team can help inform them on what’s going on in the field. The sales team has their finger on the pulse of the customer— their behaviors, needs, and pain points— and those understandings can be leveraged to create more targeted sales and marketing campaigns.
The overall voice and tone of your brand should remain consistent across all marketing and sales efforts. An introductory cold-call should position the business offering in the same way that any marketing collateral would. By providing a consistent experience for the customers throughout the entire sales cycle— from prospecting and discovery to closing the deal— you’re more likely to retain the business. In fact, a satisfied customer sticks around and contributes 2.6 times the revenue as a mildly satisfied customer. A satisfied customer is the pulse of the business, and that starts with consistency and their overall experience. They should be able to recognize your brand in an advertisement the same way they would from a sales email.
Nail the content
Sales and marketing teams can work together to map out their content needs to see if there is any overlap between the two. The impact that marketing assets have should be used to boost what the sales team is trying to achieve. This means insights and input from both teams should be considered when creating new assets.
To avoid a marketing bottleneck, the sales team might need to create some of their own materials. Specifically: presentations. Instead of relying on the design team to create their sales proposals or pitch decks, sales reps can lean on presentation software to help them create something brilliant. With Beautiful.ai, even the most inexperienced designers can create something professional, and on-brand. By giving each sales representative access to Beautiful.ai, it’s like giving them their own personal deck designer, and as a result will free up the marketing team. This helps optimize efficiency for both teams, and allows marketing to work on other content necessary to create brand awareness and buzz.