For as long as there’s been sales and marketing, there have been problems with sales and marketing alignment.
Sales wants more leads, marketing wants sales to do a zillion touchpoints with the leads they are delivering. Marketing wants to focus on brand equity, only to be accused of not doing anything by the Sales team.
The root of the problem is that, despite being on the same go-to-market team, sales and marketing are fundamentally different beasts. In short, sales and marketing alignment is hard.
But at the same time, it’s an exercise well worth doing.
Sales and marketing teams that prioritize alignment tend to have:
- Better employee and customer retention
- Higher win rates
- Better marketing ROI
- Better company growth
So the question is: what can enablers to do to get there? If enablement is the connective tissue of the go-to-market team, then how can they help sales and marketing alignment?
We think the answer is in the training. Here’s how training. Having sales reps be better educated on the benefits, features, comparisons to competitors, sales successes, and other information can lead to more sales wins.
Here are four ways to train your team that will naturally drive sales and marketing alignment.
1. Head Office Product Launch
Get the entire team into the head office for a product launch. Specialists could demo the solution, benefits versus competitors could be highlighted, and tools to help when the reps could be discussed in the field If there is hardware this could include hands-on training.
These head office product launches are powerful and cause an uptick in activities directly after the training.
It’s also a chance for a distributed sales team to meet the (usually centralized) marketing team and build trust and rapport.
And while the cost of getting everyone in the same room can be high – both in terms of travel and opportunity costs – it should be conceptualized as building sales and marketing alignment. When your goal is tighter sales and marketing alignment, then the ROI of event-style training is a lot easier to see and justify.
If your organization has a dispersed sales team, a marketing roadshow is a less disruptive option than an HQ visit. A small team of marketers can visit the reps and provide training in smaller groups, saving the huge opportunity cost of the sales team being out for a few days. The smaller group also allows them to ask more questions.
Organizations can even set up meetings with local customers or business partners to leverage the in-market resource. This is typically a less expensive method, though it can still be pricey.
The other negative is that the marketing team needs time to get to all the reps, meaning the new solution may not get the right amount of attention right away.
Video is a very effective way to learn. A study from Forester Research found that 75% of respondents were more likely to check out video lessons than reading the usual documents, emails, and web articles. The marketing team can create videos for the solution launch and these can be shared and stored in a marketing portal.
Videos are also a fantastic tool for sales representative training, and can be a cost-effective way to train multiple reps at one time. Multiple videos could be made to highlight the different benefits, features, and other sales-related information for products.
What’s more, video can help form the core of your training program, and with input, contribution, and buy-in from sales, can drive even better sales and marketing alignment.
4. Sales Enablement + Readiness
Finally, we get to full-throated sales enablement.
A sales enablement / readiness solution should do three things:
- Present the right content to the rep at the right time
- Make sure that the rep knows what they need to do, and has the ability to execute that
- Track the impact of training on revenue and prove enablement ROI
These all fuel better sales and marketing alignment.
First, by serving the right content at the right time, enablers are bringing the value of marketing hard-generated content to sales in a way that sales reps can actually use it. Give that SiriusDecisions found that most B2B content goes unused, this is a big step forward in helping drive sales and marketing alignment.
Second, marketing is often responsible for helping ramp new reps. This is because personas, ideal client profiles, messaging, positioning, and objection handling all live in the marketing world, which is a big chunk of most sales onboarding programs. A sales enablement or readiness solution can help bring the deep expertise of marketing in a consumable way to sales as new reps get up to speed. In turn, this drives sales and marketing alignment because:
- Sales reps see the value of the work marketing does early in their tenure
- Marketing sees its hard work being valued and used
Finally, if enablers are using tools to track the impact of their programs – programs, remember, that are heavily influenced by marketing – on the bottom line then it’s a lot easier for sales teams to get behind them. Sales reps are doing training that’s actually helping them make money, sales managers are seeing the enablement play a role when they look at their team’s revenue metrics, and sales leaders and CROs are seeing better results they can report to the board.
That's really what what sales and marketing alignment is all about – getting everyone to row in the same direction.
When you have marketing chasing one metric (e.g. number of MQLs), enablement chasing a second (content consumed or quizzes completed ) and sales chasing a third (deals piped and revenue closed) then it’s extraordinarily difficult to get them all going in the same direction.
But when everyone’s striving for that single number, and their impact is tracked and measured against that number, then sales and marketing alignment gets a whole lot easier.
Image credit: Matteo Vistocco via Unsplash