Everyone is talking about sales and marketing alignment these days, and they are right to do it! Most marketing and sales teams don’t even talk to each other. They see their roles as two separate steps: Lead generation and closing deals. Here are the 5 biggest fails when your sales and marketing are not aligned.
#1: Lead nurturing: Inbound sales leads are often nurtured differently then outbound sales leads
When you have sales contacts interested in learning more about your product from that great cold email your sales guy sent, but they are not ready to begin any sort of buyers journey, you want them to be nurtured. With this, you need to stay in front of them. BUT! A bunch of random cold emails are not always the most effective.
This is when your marketing can take over and shine.
Picture this: every three weeks, a salesperson sends you yet another email asking you for a meeting to discuss your software after you already said you are not ready.
How do you feel about this? For me, I’m annoyed. I feel bothered.
With each new email, I feel like you have again stolen a fraction of my time that I could have used focusing on my current initiatives. After being frustrated, then I have to decide to ignore you or respond with yet another “not now” in hopes you leave me alone. After the 3rd or 4th no, I start ignoring you. And if it keeps persisting, I may even mark you as spam which means all of your efforts after that are in vain.
Now think about marketing emails…
If that salesperson had handed me off to marketing, they could have nurtured me differently. Rather than the meeting requests, I get valuable content. Maybe it is an email telling me about the future of AI software (because that’s a feature you have in your software) or you send out a testimonial of results when people changed to your software or you even send out a staff holiday picture promoting your awesome team!
These are all things that keep you in front of me in a positive way.
You may be thinking this is common sense, right? WRONG! I get cold emails every day and only ONCE did I get dropped into a marketing workflow…that is less than 1% of the salespeople cold emailing me actually hand me to marketing for long-term lead nurturing.
If you are the buyer, what is more valuable to you?
Setting an appointment to learn about something that is not part of your current initiatives or occasionally receiving great educational content so when you are ready to take on that particular project, you know where to start?
#2: Joint Initiatives
For Sales and Marketing to really become the powerhouse they can be, they need to work together to create powerful initiatives. When you bring the expertise from sales and the creativity of marketing together to brainstorm together, you can expect great things. They are two sides of the same coin. Your sales and marketing team should share ideas, data, create buyer personas, inbound strategy, outbound strategy, etc. They should know what the other is doing so the blend makes for the perfect buyer experience.
If marketing is the wine and sales is the meal, then the alignment is the sommelier experience.
Your sales team is feeding the hungry and marketing is setting the meal up with an enticing beverage, but the sommelier is creating a perfectly complimented experience.
#3: Working toward a Common Goal
Working toward a common goal is vital…I recently talked to a CEO who wanted 50% of their leads to make it to the demo. Yes, that is right…50% of new leads to move into the demo stage of the buyer’s journey. He was looking for training resources to meet this goal, but when I sent a sales training guide AND a marketing guide, he only downloaded the sales training. I inquired about why he didn’t look at marketing…He told me it wasn’t relevant to the goal.
Let that process for a moment…marketing is optimizing your SEO and audience targeting in everything they do. If 50% of your new contacts need to go to the demo, then your new contacts need to be highly qualified and highly targeted based on your buyer persona.
So why would you hold your sales team accountable for something marketing largely controls?
#4: Contact Cadence: Marketing and Sales Must Coordinate
Keenan was recently asked to participate in an online webinar which we love here at A$G! But then suddenly, our A$G emails all went into marketing workflows with 2-3 emails per DAY! Our entire team was being email-blasted to the point we were overlooking real emails from the team about planning the webinar. The marketing cadence was so far off from what is acceptable, we withdrew our participation.
Why did we do this? Because we didn’t want anyone trying to see Keenan speak suddenly get duped into email marketing hell.
Look, Email hell is a real problem these days.
If your sales team has their cadence and marketing has a different cadence, your company could be creating this same situation.
We all have heard of good cop / bad cop…while we don’t have a good or bad with sales and marketing, we do have two different approaches working together toward the same goal, and it IS effective.
#5: Share Prospect Strategies
Comradery is important in the workplace, but it often doesn’t branch out to different departments. You want your salespeople and marketing people to know each other. This can be done by having offices close by, regular meetings, regular joint social events, etc. By building such comradery, you set the stage for your people creating custom strategy plans for prospects.
Imagine for a moment a sales executive, Jack, had a hot lead start to go cold. He starts to panic and reaches out over and over to set up another meeting to chat…but the prospect isn’t responding.
But Jack did a great discovery and knows the prospect had one hesitation: price. Rather than asking for yet another meeting, he walks over to marketing to his friend Megan and asks if she has any great content that reviews their software’s return on investment. Megan has an email workflow already built to discuss ROI filled with independent articles, testimonials, blogs, infographics, and more. Megan and Jack clone the workflow for this prospect and add a few personalized touches that Jack knows from his discovery…and away it goes.
Now ask yourself, how many times have you had a buyer experience like this? Custom, personal, sincere, helpful, and paced out?