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Measurable Progress: Why Encouraging Competition Between Sales and Marketing Is A Mistake


The success of your marketing campaign is directly measurable by your sales. At least, so it would seem. But when your marketing and sales teams aren't closely aligned, it can be difficult to get a clear picture of the success of either team.

When they work together, however, you could see as much as 20% revenue growth. Now that's measurable progress. 

Despite the clear correlation between sales/marketing alignment and measurable progress, however, many CEOs actually encourage competition between the teams as a way to spur productivity. Read on to find out how to avoid this common mistake.

Are your sales and marketing teams truly aligned?

Before you start grumbling about how you have already aligned your sales and marketing and you haven't seen any progress, ask yourself:

  • Have you really created an integrated strategy between your teams?
  • Do they communicate and report together?

Or have they simply been given a common set of goals and told to work on them together, with no clear idea of how to do that?

Deb Calvert, President of People First Productivity Solutions, says,

"The biggest faux pas (for sales and marketing alignment) is the illusion of alignment. Take lead generation via content marketing. Too few sellers really know what the content is about and how to build a conversation from this springboard. Opening with "I noticed you downloaded our white paper..." is not adequate alignment between sales and marketing."

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A truly collaborative approach involves getting your teams to:

  • communicate
  • understand each other's needs
  • strive toward common goals

You should also foster a corporate culture that makes all this not only feasible, but a natural part of your employees' daily work lives. 

So how do you get these often opposing teams to join forces and drive real growth? These key tactics will turn the long-standing enmity between marketing and sales into a synergistic relationship that effectively carries your potential client from curiosity about your brand through to decision in a seamless customer experience. 

1: Agree to Agree

Get your teams together and have them hash it out between them:

  • What messages do we want to communicate to our leads?
  • How can we most effectively transition a customer from learning about the brand to engagement?
  • What constitutes a quality lead?

If you have to, lock them in the same room until they can agree to agree. 

2: Encourage Communication

Monthly or even weekly meetings between the teams keep them on the same page throughout a campaign.

Keeping them physically close as well, in adjoining offices or even in the same open workspace, encourages communication throughout the day.

And when you do those team-building exercises that are designed to get your employees working together, put sales and marketing on the same team. 

3: Market and Sell to the Same Persona

Your marketing team has put together a strategy to target mid-level large corporation executives. They send their leads over to sales.

Sales, in the meantime, has been working on techniques to convert medium-sized business owners, because that is their definition of a quality lead. It's pretty easy to see where things can quickly go awry in this situation. 

4. Set Clear, Specific, Common Goals

"I want to increase sales" can be a common goal, but it isn't very specific.

"We need to generate 30% more leads than we did last quarter" is more specific, but it only applies to marketing.

While your sales and marketing teams each need their own set of goals, these goals must stem from a set of clear shared objectives in order to truly align the two teams. 

5. Share Data

Data-sharing is the most productive way to measure progress. It is also the most efficient way to make sure you are on the same page regarding who your target audience is, where your leads came from, and what your customers want and need. 

Aligning your marketing and sales efforts doesn't have to be a scary task. When sales and marketing can lay down their weapons, come to a few fundamental agreements, and make communication a priority, your entire business will benefit. 

To learn more about developing an actionable smarketing strategy, check out the eBook, "Joining Forces: How To Combine Marketing and Sales to Strengthen Business Strategy."

Topics: Marketing, Inbound Sales, Smarketing