Shopify Ecosystem

5 Signs Your Sales and Marketing Alignment is Failing You

If your marketers and salespeople are continually at odds with each other and neither department is as productive as you’d like them to be, it signals a time to review the strength of your sales and marketing alignment practices. Improving the alignment between your sales and marketing teams will benefit your business overall, and it could hurt your business if you don’t.

What exactly does sales and marketing alignment entail? Your marketing teams draw quality leads into your sales funnel using targeted content. Sales teams pick up the baton, nurture the leads, and convert them into sales. For both sets of teams to get good results, they need to be in alignment on how to define qualified leads as well as the profiles of your target market.

Here’s a look at how to better understand the roles of the sales and marketing departments, how to detect signs of misalignment, and how technology can help bridge the gaps between them.

5 Symptoms of Misaligned Sales and Marketing Efforts

When your sales numbers are down, it could be due to your sales and marketing departments not being on the same page. How do you know if your sales and marketing departments are misaligned? What are some of the signs and red flags that you might be missing?

Here are 5 issues to evaluate:

1) Sales teams are always asking for more leads.

Your marketing team is pulling in tons of leads, claiming that they’re qualified leads, but your salespeople keep complaining they donʼt have enough leads to convert to sales. Your salespeople are spending a lot of time prospecting via email and phone, but they’re not getting conversions.

2) Salespeople are complaining that they’re not getting leads of a high enough quality that they can convert them.

When salespeople have this type of mentality, they’ll quickly disqualify leads and not take the time to nurture them. This means you’re leaving money on the table.

3) Salespeople don’t use marketing materials in their presentations.

Marketers are constantly creating new messaging, writing new content, making videos, and setting up webinars to generate leads. However, salespeople sometimes, being creatures of habit, continue to use outdated materials instead of using the latest and freshest marketing slicks.

4) Salespeople don’t value the expertise of the marketing department.

In particular, salespeople who have been selling for a long time put more trust and faith in their own skills and expertise, refusing to consider how the marketing team could bolster their efforts and increase their sales.

5) Salespeople never reach out to marketing teams to ask for help.

Salespeople rely heavily on marketing materials to convert sales. When they’re not reaching out and asking for new materials, it could be a sign that salespeople don’t value the materials they’ve gotten in the past instead of working with marketing to create materials that resonate or in some cases, creating their own sales enablement materials.

Recognizing that your sales and marketing teams are misaligned is a good first step. The next step is to impress upon both teams why it’s important for them to be in alignment with each other, and then take some actionable steps to bring them into alignment.

Importance of Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Strategies

Marketing employees are on the opposite end of the business from salespeople. That said, their departments mutually affect each other. As you bring your sales and marketing departments into better alignment, your company will optimize your marketing and sales cycles concurrently. It won’t be long before you’ll reap the rewards in reduced costs, shorter sales cycles, and increased growth.

Marketing expert Dr. Jeffrey Lant formulated the “Rule of Seven,” which refers to the notion that it takes seven touchpoints with a prospect before converting them to a sale. A common analogy about salespeople is that they’re like farmers  who have to plant the right seeds, tend to the soil, and nurture the relationship to yield good results. When sales and marketing teams aren’t aligned, you run the risk of sales teams operating more as foragers—gathering up sales wherever they can and closing the easiest ones they can find. The problem with this is that they may be wasting good leads that could be converted.

Do your sales and marketing departments share the same goals and commitments? If not, they could be working against each other. Also, it’s an issue that causes dissension between teams. Salespeople will feel the brunt of it before your marketing teams will. Salespeople typically work on a commission basis, whereas employees in the marketing department receive a salary or an hourly wage. Marketing teams may feel less urgency to hit their targets than salespeople because it won’t affect their paychecks as readily.

To better align your sales and marketing operations, you need to have a clear perspective on how to define each role and how they can work together most effectively. Let’s start by defining each role.

Defining the Roles of the Sales and Marketing Teams

The employees in your sales and marketing departments should have a written description of their roles and responsibilities. However, do your salespeople understand the roles of the marketing team members and vice versa? One role isn’t more important than the other, but it’s important for each of them to understand how their role contributes to overall profitability and the impact their role has on the other department.

Sales teams are composed of a variety of distinct roles, including sales representatives, account executives, sales administrators, sales team managers, sales enablement experts, and customer success planners. These employees perform a host of sales activities, such as the ones listed below.

Role of Sales Teams

  • Qualifying leads
  • Making initial contact with leads
  • Planning sales workflows and monitoring them
  • Setting goals
  • Acquiring customers
  • Increasing conversion rates and converting sales
  • Conducting sales workflows efficiently
  • Striving to shorten the sales cycle
  • Retaining existing customers
  • Doing their part to grow the business
  • Improving on their sales skills and abilities
  • Following up on referrals
  • Upselling and cross-selling
  • Gauging customer satisfaction

The marketing department also has several different positions within the department, such as customer experience experts, data analysts, project managers, SEO strategists, and brand managers. Some of the various responsibilities of marketing employees are listed below.

Role of Marketing Teams

  • Running social media campaigns
  • Developing content
  • Setting up email marketing campaigns
  • Optimizing SEO campaigns
  • Creating a cohesive customer journey and improving the customer experience
  • Informing marketing initiatives with data-driven strategies
  • Setting up analytics to coordinate with business objectives
  • Developing B2B marketing strategies
  • Managing the brand strategy

Technology to Help Align Your Sales and Marketing Strategies

The right technology will help to align your sales and marketing strategies with little cost, time, or effort on your part. Here’s a list of software solutions and a short description of how you can use them to bring sales and marketing alignment.

  • Cloud-based phone system. Offers a robust set of voice features. Call routing gets calls to salespeople quickly, call recording is great for reviewing calls, and call center analytics provides insights as to call activity. Analytics generates insights to share with both teams consisting of objective data with which to collaborate on strategies.
  • CRM. Works with VoIP phone systems to form a single source for voice features and information from your CRM. Track prospects through the sales cycle and strategize how to close sales faster. Develop caller details to help form profiles for target personas.
  • Marketing automation. Set up email marketing campaigns to generate quality leads and send alerts through the phone system so salespeople can answer them right away.
  • Sales automation. Set up workflows for calls and subsequent follow-up to move prospects through the sales funnel efficiently. Track leads and share the customer journey with the marketing team.
  • AI & transcription. Record and transcribe calls to get actionable insights to assist with marketing and sales strategies.
  • Quality Assurance. Review calls and identify touchpoints that need improvement. Track sales trends and measure the quality of calls.
  • Productivity. Automatically send new calls to salespeople through your cloud phone system so they get picked up immediately. Use metrics to score leads and match prospects with the right salesperson for the point in the sales cycle. 

5 Ways to Turn Sales & Marketing Misalignment into Success

Business success is entirely achievable when you align your sales and marketing strategies with the common goals of attracting leads, pursuing sales, and retaining customers. Read on for 5 ways to take sales alignment and marketing alignment to a whole new level:

First

Ask salespeople to participate in marketing planning sessions and encourage two-way dialogue between departments. Whenever the marketing department makes a shift in strategy or positioning that will affect the sales strategy, get input from people who hold different roles in the sales department to get the scope of all the places in the customer journey that could be affected by the change. This way, both departments will have a sense of ownership and accountability for the results.

Second

Identify sales representatives who touch the most leads and determine whether they’re nurturing all leads equally or just grabbing at low-hanging fruit. A lot of activity in the early stages, but not in the later stages, could signal the need for more sales training. Aircall offers a comprehensive array of voice call metrics that will provide insight into call volume and the length of calls to assess each salesperson’s performance.

Third

Gather input from salespeople and brainstorm with them about ideas for sales campaigns, promotions, and content. Salespeople will have a greater sense of ownership of promotional materials when they’ve helped develop them. Take their ideas seriously and implement them whenever it makes sense to do so.

Fourth

Sales leaders should explain the differences and the nuances between sales and marketing departments. While salespeople work individually, in addition to as part of a team, the marketing department has different roles within, but they work cohesively as a unit more so than a sales team does, where individual metrics count for more.

Fifth

Use your cloud phone system and software integrations to establish workflows that create a single customer journey. Customers should feel like they’re having a seamless experience throughout the entire journey regardless of how many sales or customer service representatives they speak with. Aircall’s App Marketplace has many listings of software integrations to help align your sales and marketing teams and create efficiency in your call center.

Aligning Sales & Marketing Through Technology

Here’s an example of how software solutions can help you align your sales and marketing departments:

Bringing your sales and marketing departments into better alignment is a problem that you can easily fix, once you know that it exists. By setting up shared goals and objectives and communicating them to both departments, you can bring both teams onto the same page. When both teams are accountable for the results, they will rely on each other more when things aren’t moving in the right direction, and your company will be more productive and profitable overall

Special thanks to our friends at Aircall for their insights on this topic.