Bridging the gap: Why do your Marketing and Sales department need to be closely aligned
The basic fundamentals on which the sales and the marketing team operate are different at the core, is the picture seen by many people. Since both the departments are kept separate in their operations, they develop a tendency which unknowingly affects their minds and builds a layer of diverse thinking.
Did you know marketing was born out from sales in late 1940s when the need to sell in a planned manner with rigorous and intellectual way was needed? Which in 1960 invented the famous marketing concept of 4ps called Product, Price, Promotion and Place. These became the building blocks for modern marketing strategy in which the product itself, its price and the way it was promoted and at which place it was being promoted mattered for achieving sales.
To be a better marketer, understanding sales is extremely important, because it is a no brainer that if a company’s marketing efforts eventually do not drive sales, then it’s a flop show!
However, while both these departments work towards a common goal, it is not always in harmony. Majority of the time, if sales targets are not achieved, a cold war could emanate between both these departments, with the marketing blaming the sales for a poor execution of an otherwise great promotional plan and the sales undervaluing the efforts of marketing.
But as a result of this lack of alignment, the overall goal of the organization is compromised. However now, many large organizations across the world have realized that if their marketing and sales departments are in sync, it has helped reduce the cost of sales and the market-entry costs going down.
In this article, we analyze and present a few ways, a forward looking organization could drive coordinated efforts between the sales and marketing departments and bridge the gap between them.
It starts from the top man on the job: In order to create a competitive advantage and long term revenue growth, to address the sales and marketing conflict should be amongst the top priorities for the CEOs.
They need to realize that if both these teams are integrated in their efforts, they begin to put their focus on forward thinking jobs and start speaking the same language. Maybe the first step in this direction could be to promote constant and open communication.
Communication: It is imperative that the company creates a process whereby the two departments can follow up each other. CRMs are more than useful for this smooth flow of discussions. Developing certain terms that both teams understand will ensure they are on the same page.
Bi-weekly Meetings: A Marketer understands the customer’s journey and hence must make sure that customer is led towards the sales funnel where the team is ready to connect with him and convert the meeting into a possible sale. The core team members of both the departments should align on a regular basis to analyze the ROI of the marketing program, to know the actual sales that has been influenced by the efforts.
Both the team heads could meet every bi-weekly to set new targets together. These meetings can also be used to find creative ways to manage problems that emerge in the departments.
Use the differences: By learning the differences between the two teams the bridge will be easy to build and the outcome will be more than what the company expects. Both the teams work for different goals but their end game is the same: the success and growth of the company; when that is taken into perspective the company will realize that their differences are the strength for the company. But they are useless if the two teams aren’t aware of them, and are instead competing.
In conclusion, it is imperative that one sees the potential that both these teams together bring on the table. By fostering friendship and trust between the two departments there is no reason why the teams should feel insecure or uncertain. By clearly answering the why to both the teams, there is no reason for them to see the other as a competitor.