AGMarketingChats August 19 2021: How to Align Your Sales and Marketing Team (and Seriously Boost Lead Gen)

Organizations struggle when sales and marketing aren’t aligned. To really drive business and experience true growth, your sales and marketing departments need to learn to work together. For our first in a series of #AGMarketingChats, our guest is Pam Didner, renowned B2B sales and marketing expert.

In this chat, we explore:

  • How to get passed the notion that “B2B marketing is boring”
  • Tackling the toughest challenges facing B2B sales and marketing teams
  • Ways to align sales and marketing to thrive in an increasingly challenging environment

Let’s dive in with question #1 and look at Pam’s answers as well as a few additional responses to those answers.

Q1: There’s a myth that B2B marketing is boring. Why isn’t that true, and how can a B2B brand add some energy to their marketing campaigns?

This is a problem for a lot of B2B organizations. B2C marketing is often looked at as being more fun and allowing a higher level of creativity. That, however, isn’t necessarily the case.

To spice your B2B marketing up a bit, try to add content beyond just text on a page. Think about adding GIFs, infographics, and leveraging the power of video to make your B2B marketing stand out and make things exciting.

Q2: Why is it so important for sales and marketing teams to be aligned?

We’ve all been there. Whenever something goes wrong or numbers just aren’t where they should be, marketing starts pointing figures at the sales team, and sales starts pointing right back. This will get your business nowhere. Instead, you need to figure out a way to create sales and marketing align, and turn your sales and marketing teams into best friends.

The sales team really does have front line insights they can provide to help the marketing team create the right content and materials to enable sales to be more effective. And marketing has insights that are valuable for the sales team to know as well going into conversations. A mutually beneficial relationship built on respect is key.

Q3: What are the biggest challenges sales and marketing teams face in creating alignment and working together (smoothly)?

There are a lot of similar goals marketing and sales are trying to reach, but there are also a lot of differences. This can cause some challenges and some bumps in the road along the way.

Pam points out a lot of major differences between sales and marketing. Starting with top-of-funnel vs. bottom-of-funnel. If marketing is doing its job effectively, sales teams should be receiving leads that are much more warmed up (bottom-of-funnel) and armed with more info about the product / service. This makes the sales team’s job much simpler.

Differences like these can turn into strengths rather than weaknesses if the sales and marketing teams can get together and each try to understand where the other side is coming from.

Q4: What can leadership teams do to break down the walls that sometimes exist between marketing and sales?

Often, when the relationship between sales and marketing breaks down, leadership is at fault. The company has been structured so that very clear silos exist. And when sales and marketing each operate in their own silo, they tend to look at the other as competition or “the problem”.

Leadership can make a significant impact in avoiding or correcting such issues if they facilitate a plan and put a few structural changes and procedures in place.

When the leadership teams (CMO and VP of Sales, for example) come together, they can lead by example. This shows the bond between the two and that there is a buy-in from the top. This show of unity can go a long way in uniting sales and marketing team members on down the line.

Q5: What types of communication tools can sales and marketing teams use to more effectively collaborate with each other?

Communication is key in ensuring alignment between sales and marketing. Without communication, so much value is lost. Fortunately, there are tons of great tools, technology, and resources that allow sales and marketing teams to work smoothly together and not skip a beat.

In this digital world, it is true that we need multiple tools to help us thrive. Whether it’s slack for chat, or Vimeo for sharing video edit comments, or Google Drive for sharing documents (the list really could go on forever), technology will continue to become more and more an integral part of both sales and marketing.

Q6: Relationships are key to business success. How can leadership build a culture where sales and marketing are in tune with each other?

No matter what you hope to achieve, building a company culture that empowers your team to achieve the goals and objectives of the business is key. This is another place where leadership can step in and make a difference, and the sales and marketing departments are a great place to start building alignment into your company culture.

Any company culture initiatives you choose to enact require that you approach them in a genuine way. You need to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. If it becomes clear to your team that you are living what you preach, they’ll be much more likely to follow along.

Q7: What types of content should marketing produce to enable the sales team to more effectively close deals?

Content marketing is a great way to enable your sales team to succeed. By understanding what the people your sales team members are talking to need and when they need it, you can arm your sales team with the tools they need to sign more deals and help grow the business.

Simple content like case studies, videos, white papers, product demos, FAQs, go a long way. So do free trials of a product, a complementary consultation or estimate. Don’t be shy about giving stuff away. This will help build the relationship with your customer, and it will position your sales team for serious success.

Q8: How can the sales team inform marketing efforts to help marketing fine-tune messaging to connect more effectively with a brand’s target audience?

As a marketing professional, you have access to a ton of great information about your target audience. But what you don’t have is information straight from the front lines. This is where they sales team can come in and help the marketing team to fine-tune your brand’s messaging.

The sales team has a unique opportunity to really get a feel for what messaging connects with your audience and what does not. As your sales team has conversations with your ideal customers (or existing customers), they can get a serious read on what’s working and provide the marketing team with valuable insights to make the right tweaks to increase effectiveness.

Q9: What final advice do you have for marketers and sales personnel to help them work together and achieve greater results?

We host a new #AGMarketingChats session each Thursday. You can check out the full schedule for the remainder of 2021 by clicking this link. —>>> #AGMarketingChats Twitter Chats Calendar

Anthony Gaenzle
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