As the founder and CEO of a digital marketing agency, I have witnessed the ways in which sales and marketing roles have evolved over the past few years. When I first entered the marketing business, these two teams almost always existed separately. Sales was driven by numbers, and marketing was driven by people. But, as we progress further into this digital era, these two teams experience more overlap than most people realize. Therefore, when I founded my company Vonazon, I made a point to combine our sales and marketing teams––and the results have been promising.
What I noticed many years ago and even today is the difference in the pay structure between the two teams. Sales team members are often running on a base salary plus commission whereas marketing team members are always salary based. However, this often sends the message that these two teams are competing against each other, and that the marketing department is valued more than the sales team, and that is not the case.
At my company, we have combined our sales and marketing teams into one big––smarketing team. We have found that grouping together the desks of these two teams allows us to partake in cross-team communication and makes everyone feel like they are equal. Furthermore, we hold weekly meetings in my office with both teams to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and that their departmental strategies are aligned.
Your Personal Checklist for Combining Forces
Combining our sales and marketing departments has allowed us to uncover unique insights into the sales process, fine-tune and optimize our sales and marketing strategies, as well as grow our revenue. So if you’re considering aligning your teams, here’s a checklist on what you need to do to succeed when merging.
- Restructure the customer’s journey
- Develop an agreed upon target customer persona
- Measure joint key performance indicators (KPIs)
- Gather sales feedback and analyze customer data
- Match messaging across the same campaigns
- Create marketing-led sales assets
- Work together during the post-sale, retention, and growth phase
How to Align Your Sales & Marketing Teams
Now that you have a checklist as a helpful guide, consider delving even further into the steps needed to actualize the merging of your teams.
1. Create a universal customer journey
Ask both teams how they define the customer journey and have them align their goals. It will be beneficial for them to determine where exactly a prospect transitions from a marketing qualified lead (MQL) to a sales qualified lead (SQL).
2. Establish mutual buyer personas
Your buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal prospects based on your sales and marketing goals. If your teams are separately targeting different types of people, your efforts may become misaligned and disjointed. Have both teams work together to determine who their ideal person to sell and market to is.
3. Align your KPI’s
KPIs or key performance indicators allow your teams to measure the success of their efforts. What are the teams’ metrics for success? Did a client sign a deal, book a call, or download a certain amount of content? Unifying key metrics will allow both teams to not only set realistic goals, but mutually develop a plan to get there, together.
4. Share customer feedback from both sides
At the end of the day, your client satisfaction rating is what matters the most. At my company, we like to have a weekly meeting with both the sales and marketing teams and share updates, progress, and client feedback whether it be positive or negative. As sales and marketing often operate through different channels (e.g., email versus phone) feedback can come from different places along the customer’s journey. Efficiently sharing and collaborating on all the feedback received will not only benefit the overall company efforts but lead to a deeper understanding of the customer’s experience as well.
The Benefits of Aligning Your Sales & Marketing Teams
A recent study conducted by Sirius Decisions found that companies that align their sales and marketing teams achieve 24% faster growth rates and 27% faster profit growth over a year’s period. The alignment of these two teams is directly linked to company-wide success because even though a potential client first goes through your sales department, the marketing team is responsible for understanding who your target audience is, their buyer personas, and how they statistically engage with content whether it be through ads, emails, etc… They are the most attuned to your behavioral data, marketing statistics, and client insights. So, while they may not be directly on the phone with a potential client, they are the ones who end up serving the client’s needs and wants. Therefore, combining these two teams can lead to an even stronger focus placed on customer satisfaction.
Many companies may still be experiencing some uncertainty regarding combining their sales and marketing teams. But as a CEO who has practiced this very same tactic within my own business, I have noticed an influx of positive results. Combining your two teams can be the very difference between surviving in today’s modern era versus thriving in it.