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How to Better Align Sales and Marketing

Matt Preuss - February 15, 2018

#Hiring & Talent

As we’ve explored the essential role of sales enablement, one of the consistent themes that has run through each topic is the vital role marketing efforts must play in enabling your sales team to succeed. And since these two departments are responsible for generating interest in your product and earning revenue, the need for seamless alignment is equally important. So how do you ensure every employee stays in the loop? These simple strategies are a great way to start:

Keep your departments close and your leadership closer

If your sales and marketing teams are both onsite, keep them in close proximity. This allows marketing to sit in on calls or help craft customer communication emails without having to move around the office much. The shared space will create greater collaboration and make organizing cross-department meetings easier.

As for your VP of marketing and VP of sales, they should sit close enough together to each other’s deodorant preference. Jason Lemkin notes that strong sales and marketing executives should meet at least twice a week, even if there isn’t a specific agenda or action items that need to be discussed. Face-to-face time for this dynamic duo is too crucial to avoid. And your marketing leadership will be much better equipped to develop strategies to drive demand generation if they are living in a sales environment and witnessing what it takes in the day-to-day hustle to close deals.

Make objectives and results available to each department

It’s impossible to expect marketing and sales to align on goals if each department initiative isn’t clearly stated and easily available for any employee to access. Use collaborative tools and make a habit to review objectives and results regularly in department meetings. Determine specific ways the two departments can work together to assist in each other’s goals. For advanced companies that keep marketing accountable to a revenue commitment, it’ll be even easier to create a process to mobilize everyone toward achieving the bottom line goals.

Create cross-functional objectives

The C-suite needs to shout out the importance of marketing and sales alignment from the rooftops. But paying lip service to its importance won’t be effective if it’s not followed by incentives. Beyond the quarterly goals centered on qualified leads and revenue obtainment, create initiatives that require sales and marketing to coordinate in order to get the job done. This delivers additional motivation and builds stronger communication among the two teams. Content creation lends itself to cross-department collaboration. Sales and marketing can work together to write articles, develop language for pitching and brainstorm on general copy ideas.

Let sales sit it on marketing

Even if marketing serves to enable sales, alignment isn’t a one-way street. Recommending that marketing employees sit in on sales calls is wonderful and important, but carve out time for sales rep to return the favor. Account executives can benefit from attending pitch meetings or marketing planning to see how specific language can be used as a valuable tool to generate interest in the product. Let your reps spend time being creative and they will better understand the job of marketers and use these skills on sales calls. Don’t just rely on marketing to do all the work to make the two departments understand each other.

Beyond these three strategies, an overall effort to create a culture of collaboration in your organization is paramount. Leaders are required to be honest, direct and use the right tools to keep everyone focused on the top goals you need to achieve.

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