5 Steps for Better Collaboration Between Sales and Marketing

Author: Megan Radford
Posted: Apr 8, 2017

Topics: Culture

Have you ever been in a bad customer service situation and thought to yourself, “It’s like the right hand doesn’t even know what the left hand is doing?” Me too, friend. Me too.


And the truth is, that happens all too often in life and in business. It used to happen between marketing and sales teams — in fact, separation and lack of collaboration was pretty much the standard. There has been a tremendous shift in thinking and now it’s commonly believed that marketing and sales should be working together in order to produce better results. Um, duh.

But that’s easier said than done, right? The chaos created when two teams work very hard, but are running in opposite directions, can’t be fixed overnight. And even when you start making some progress, it’s all too easy to get off track again. Check out these 4 tips for marketers to create better collaboration with their sales teams.

  1. Set common objectives. Your marketing team’s objectives have to align with the sales team’s objectives. If the sales team is trying to increase revenue by 20%, then so is the marketing team. Sure, you can develop separate strategies in order to achieve these objectives — but the ultimate goal is the same for both teams. (Need help discerning the difference between objectives, strategies and tactics? Read this.)
  2. Walk a mile in their shoes. Before you go rogue developing strategies and tactics that you *think* will work, spend some time with your sales team. Listen in as they call prospects. Go to onsite prospect meetings with them. See how they sell and what methods work for them, and ask them questions — like where do most prospects get stuck? Then use your skillset to develop tools to help them overcome the hurdles and, ultimately, shorten the sales cycle.
  3. Reconsider the funnel. In the past, many teams used both a marketing funnel and a sales funnel. After a prospect made its way through the marketing funnel, they were passed off to the sales team to go through the sales funnel. Well, 1999 just called — they want their funnels back. In 2017, the funnel is the funnel and both teams influence it and are responsible for it.
  4. Use a CRM to make your communication happen in real time. In-person meetings are great, but the sales team is out in the field so much that they aren’t realistic. But if everyone uses the same CRM tool (HubSpot, Salesforce, etc.), then both teams can stay up-to-date in real time about the status of leads. This can also help give everyone a clear picture of when the prospect is a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) vs. a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) so that there’s no confusion among teams about who should be claiming responsibility.

No matter how long it takes to become fully aligned, it’s worth it. Keep working to find the best collaboration techniques for your teams. When everything “clicks,” you’ll have the conversion rates to prove it.

(To learn more about VI's marketing services, click here)

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