5 no-nonsense ways to improve the relationship between marketing and sales

5 no-nonsense ways to improve the relationship between marketing and sales

You’ll read everywhere on LinkedIn and Twitter about the importance of cross-collaboration between marketing and sales teams, but is any work actually getting done to make improvements?

A poll by LinkedIn revealed that only 46% of marketers describe sales and marketing as “highly aligned.” Despite a shared objective for gathering and converting more leads into long-lasting customers, this collaboration issue stems from a few different causes:

  • Each department works in silos and there’s little to no communication between them.
  • The marketing team is expected to create and tweak the brand’s assets without any feedback from sales.
  • Sales are expected to convert more, even if they aren’t receiving quality leads from marketing.

By working together even incrementally better, both teams can see huge gains, like up to 209% more revenue, improved morale, and faster sales cycles. Let’s look at five no-nonsense tips to try in your organization.

1. Don’t keep your insights within your department

For sales: If you’re reviewing prospect call recordings, taking notes in your CRM, writing briefs for account managers, or all of the above, that’s qualitative data that you could be sharing with marketing. Marketers aren’t talking with prospective customers in the same ways you are, so real-life transcripts and examples will go a long way to make their content and positioning better.

For marketing: Share valuable insights and data with your coworkers in the sales department.. For example, you can see which web pages are converting more, you can see what your audience is saying about your brand on social media, you can see your brand’s organic visibility on Google and where people are clicking through. Don’t withhold this information. This could help your sales team close faster or shift their focus/strategy.

Whether you're a seasoned marketer or just starting out, choosing the right CRM platform is essential. Learn about the best CRMs for marketers in this article to make the best choice for your business.

2. Keep your messaging consistent

Consistency in your messaging between teams is key. Leads should be able to read your messaging on your website and social channels, and the same messaging should be reiterated as they move down the sales pipeline. If there’s a cross-up from what marketing is saying versus what sales are telling prospects, that can create frustration and confusion. If this continues, you’re looking at more and more lost deals.

Consistent messaging helps manage customer expectations. No one wants to be told one thing, only to get another, especially when it comes to something serious like promos or pricing information. By sticking to the same messaging, your customers will feel more confident in their understanding of your product and the benefits it could bring them.

How to improve messaging alignment

Below are a few quick bullet points for more consistent messaging:

  • Share an internal marketing newsletter with sales every week. Inform them of webpage changes, any deals or promos, new landing page development, copywriting changes, and anything else that could disjoint messaging.
  • Keep an ongoing knowledge base that sales can reference in their calls. For example, if there’s a price drop on a specific product, make note of that in the knowledge base. By using knowledge base solutions and regularly updating information, your sales reps can do their job more quickly and efficiently.
  • Start a team-wide Slack or Teams channel. While this is great for collaboration, a flood of team chatting could get hectic, so ensure there’s a channel admin to moderate activity.

3. Research why you closed and why you didn’t

Did your company’s latest campaign bring in leads but they didn’t close because prospects misunderstood the product? Did a string of sales fall through because the website says you offer a key feature when, in fact, you don’t? Time to take notes.

Taking notes on why you closed deals and why you didn’t will provide valuable insights for both teams and make clear where the issues are. These notes will let the marketing team know how they can adjust their efforts, messaging, and targeting. They’ll also let your sales team know about the latest information to reference in their calls.

Note: Be sure to keep your notes in a centralized place that both teams can quickly access. Popular options are team collaboration software and CRM systems, but can also extend to knowledge base software and project management. Whatever you work with, be sure to keep it updated.

4. Vocalize which content is helpful

Buyers are well-informed today and may visit your site multiple times before even starting a conversation with your brand. In fact, 7 in 10 consumers have read a brand’s blog while on their buying journey. Other content formats that buyers consume include:

  • Case studies (79%)
  • Webinars (66%)
  • Podcasts (64%)
  • Video (49%)
  • Interactive content, like quizzes and assessments (36%)

With marketing knee-deep in creating content, sales could help them with input from prospects and customers. For example, “We could really use some more customer case studies, they’re a hit when pitching to IT Directors”. Marketing has data to work with, but input from sales is always valuable when creating content.

Another solution to this would be for marketers to start listening in on sales call recordings. This can be achieved easily using a business phone system or CRM with built-in call recording features. Marketers can take notes from calls, point out advantages and pain points, and even see where sales call scripts can be improved. This is the type of collaboration that sales can directly benefit from.

5. Ask customers for feedback

The relationship with your customers doesn’t end after the sale. Whether it’s marketing, sales, or customer success, don’t shy away from checking in and asking for feedback.

Online, in-person, over the phone, any method will work for surveying your customers.

Online: Wider and more efficient survey reach at the expense of personal interaction.

In-person: Personal interaction but limited reach.

Telephone: Hear the customer’s voice with moderate reach.

When asking for feedback, some questions to reference may include:

  • Where did you first discover us?
  • How would you describe your buying experience?
  • What’s the one thing our website is missing?
  • What’s a major concern you have about our product or service moving forward?
  • Do you feel our product or service is worth the cost?
  • What would make you a longtime customer?

Asking more specific questions can unveil some really insightful information. Using marketing analytics tools to analyze how customers interact with your website or app can help you discover certain behavior trends and inform the questions you need to ask them.

For example: If you see that most of your customers sign up but do not engage with your service on the first day you might ask them “What is preventing you from using our service immediately after you sign up?”

Don’t just lean on quantitative data like NPS or CSAT metrics. The more information, the more it helps both marketing and sales understand customers at a deeper level. It only improves the strategy moving forward.

Related How to ask for and received feedback as a salesperson

It’s time to stop shying away from collaboration

Marketing and sales can make each other’s lives easier. Good marketing properly educates prospective customers about the product and its benefits before and during the sales cycle. Sales has the benefit of talking to prospects day in and day out, listening to their pain points and feedback.

The qualitative and quantitative data collected from the sales process is extremely valuable and, if shared, can be used to create stronger, more targeted marketing materials. That’s a win-win for both teams.

Want a ready-to-use set of templates and resources to create valuable sales collateral? Download your free copy of the Sales Enablement Toolkit.