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Marketing and Sales It’s no secret that sales and marketing departments don’t always see eye-to-eye with one another. Sales sometimes thinks marketing focuses on fluff, rather than figures, while marketing sometimes thinks sales hogs all the credit, but none of the blame. With these attitudes, it’s easy to see why distrust and a lack of respect permeate marketing and sales departments to create a culture of competition, rather than teamwork.  Sometimes this competitive model works; other times, it backfires, and revenue suffers. Since marketing and sales are opposite sides of the same coin, the two functions are naturally stronger when they work together. Marketing works hard to raise awareness, build the brand, and drive leads; sales nurtures relationships, develops solutions, and closes the deal. In the end, everyone is responsible for the revenue, but a well-aligned sales and marketing group can close more sales than one that’s consistently at odds. As the Harvard Business Review notes, companies with closely-aligned sales and marketing groups benefit from shorter sales cycles, as well as lower costs of sales. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work towards marketing and sales alignment. Build the Message Your company’s marketing message distinguishes you from the competition and sets the tone for future client engagements. Because the stakes are so high, it pays for marketing to involve sales in the process from the beginning, so everyone can end up on the same page. Marketers should take time to observe sales calls to see how the message is being communicated and where it might need to be adjusted, and work with their sales teams to craft a message that truly speaks to customers.  FEATURE Write the Roadmap The company’s marketing and sales plans are roadmaps to revenue, so they should complement and support each other. One way to accomplish this is to involve both departments in drafting these plans. Sales brings a real-time understanding of what customers actually want, while marketing can create deliverables that help convert those needs into leads. With both groups working together, marketing and sales plans can bring revenue generation into sharp focus. Content is King For marketing, having the greatest PowerPoint presentation in the world or the slickest brochures don’t matter if your sales team doesn’t use them, or your customers don’t care about them. Get in the sales and operations trenches and figure out what makes your customers tick, what information they value, and how they want it presented.  Sales professionals should use your marketing group as a resource when it comes to putting together sales letters, presentations, and mailing campaigns. It’ll keep you from duplicating efforts and stay focused on the business of selling. Share and Share Alike Marketers, remember that sales depends on you for the latest and greatest client material, so keep your internal content libraries updated. When a sales person is down to the wire and trying to close a deal quickly, it doesn’t pay to have to hunt around for the latest logo or contract boilerplate. Work with your sales team to implement a filing system so that everyone can find the content they need when they need it. Sales professionals, don’t keep a stranglehold on your CRM data. It’s a wealth of information when it comes to creating marketing plans, positioning products, and engaging customers. While you’re on the front lines with current customers, marketing can work on the backend warming up new prospects with things like direct mail and social media. However, your marketing team can’t do any of this without access to the right information. No One Gets There Alone In the end, we’re all here for a common goal: to grow the business. Sales accomplishes this directly by working with customers all day, every day. Marketing prefers the indirect approach by building the brand and spreading the word. Both are valuable ways of acquiring new customers, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s possible to grow the business by going down these two separate paths, but wouldn’t we get there twice as fast if we all worked together? SSE This article originally appeared at ACA Talent’s Hire Wire blog. A practical guide to align them By Sabrina Balmick Sabrina Balmick serves as marketing manager for ACA Talent, a sales recruitment firm specializing in recruitment process outsourcing and professional search solutions. Visit www.acatalent.com 16 Submit your Articles sales and service excellence essentials presented by HR.com | 10.2014


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