How To Drive Alignment Between Sales & Marketing

One of the most difficult aspects of scaling a business is alignment. You could be the head of a $500m division or the leader of a 25 person manufacturer but you will struggle with alignment. Getting different departments on the same page, getting people pointing in the same direction is the essence of leadership. And the biggest win often comes from aligning those talented marketing content creators and those pesky sales professionals!

So here are 15 simple actions that work.

15 Tips
  1. To create alignment the order of events is crucial. You start with defining your compelling story. Articulate your unique positioning. Create a memorable and inspiring  boilerplate. This covers what you do and the big business results you deliver for clients supported by authentic evidence that makes your claimed results credible. Teach this boilerplate to both the marketing teams and the sales teams. Explain why it plays to the central history, DNA, culture and skill-set of your company. Make them believers.
  2. This story then drives and aligns all marketing activity. This includes all campaigns, collateral and web site copy. All focused on telling the story and designed to drive relevant prospects to the web site to read more, or to engage in conversations. Focus stories, case studies, how to use your product or service, any type of collateral on OUTCOMES. What are consequences of using your service. The consequences for specific prospects.
  3. Now this next piece is key. You don’t just want to create general sales prospects with your marketing campaigns you want to create specific, high quality leads. This means your story needs to be written to appeal to a specific section of the masses not the masses. If you write for the masses then you are talking to no one. If everyone is responsible for a task no one is responsible for that task.
  4. We need to acknowledge that Attention is now the huge rarity factor. We need to realign our thinking around attracting attention with remarkable content. We need to translate our inspiring story, our boilerplate of who we are and the business results or value we deliver for our customers into marketing collateral that compels prospects to act.
  5. Identify the Persona that represents the likely user of your product and tell their story. Make it feel that you are directly talking to their world. An example might help. Imagine a software group focused on managing digital content wants to launch a new product to monitor breaches to web site policies eg your web site has broken links, or contains out of date material or it breaches your web site policy for the visually impaired. Who cares about these issues within your prospect, who loses sleep if the link on the web site doesn’t go to the white paper? Perhaps the content on the web site say in the pharmaceutical sector contains misleading instructions. Who gets the call? Who would really appreciate a software product that automatically alerts for breaches? That’s Persona thinking. Identify not just the target company but the managers within it who care about the issues you are solving.
  6. Identify the sectors you want to dominate. Sector thinking brings a focus to your story telling. Our client ADMET is a manufacturer of materials testing equipment. When dealing with the Biomedical sector the vocabulary of bone screws is totally different from a discussion of foam properties for the automotive industry.
  7. Create Business Results Sheets that translate the story into specific results you can achieve for customers. Separate sheet for each product or product range. These sheets need to be created with deep knowledge of the customer’s world. You want to articulate the symptoms that will be present on your customer’s site that indicate your solution is relevant e.g.
    • Symptom -Supply chain costs are rising – you offer a service to review the product lifecycle to take costs out of the system.
    • Symptom – Software bugs are causing huge cost over-runs and deadlines to be missed – you offer an intuitive code analyzer tool to trap bugs earlier in the process and allow corrections.
    • Symptom – Your mobile workforce are operating inefficiently trying to process paperwork in the field – you offer mobile software and services to allow cell phones to become transaction processors. Please note these Business Results Sheets will not only identify the symptoms but importantly the consequences of these symptoms persisting e.g. fines, loss of business.
  8. All marketing collateral needs to articulate how the prospect could use the product in their business today. Instant gratification. Use videos, case studies, blogs, white papers, whatever it takes to make it clear how a prospect derives value from your product. So many products fail the compelling usage tests. Having great capabilities is not enough.
  9. Also because of their deep knowledge of the market the marketing team will produce excellent competitor cheat sheets highlighting why you are unique. The key is to identify the essence of your competitors and why your solution solves a problem that their solution does not.
  10. Audit your SEO results and drive strategies to improve your rankings. Engage an SEO consultant for top results.
  11. Marketing departments are lead generation machines. They need targets, metrics, and driven to achieve them. Use Google analytics, HubSpot type metrics management tools to measure your success and continue to drive improvements.
  12. Sales Teams can now craft their engagement strategies with your unique positioning in mind. Scripts should be framed around insightful questions that demonstrate your understanding of your unique market and the issues faced by your prospects. The key for sales professionals is to find the RIGHT problems. Right means they must be a high priority and be able to be solved by you.
  13. Hold regular review meetings between sales and marketing to make sure the language of marketing is resonating in the marketplace. Do the prospects really understand that last blog post, white paper, product announcement?
  14. Trade shows are a great place to get face to face feedback on your story. Sales teams can add a lot more value than just close deals. They can validate your whole strategy with the key stakeholders – the customers!
  15. Graph sales leads generated by marketing by sales professional. You will soon see where the lead generation machine is struggling. Hint: We find it very effective to structure sales teams around the way my marketing team comes to market. For example this could be around NAICS codes, or Product families, or geography. The point being you want to know what part of marketing is working and what campaigns are just not resonating.
Our Marketing and Sales Playbooks build process and protocols into businesses to let them reach their true potential. Reach out to open up a dialogue here.

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