You know the horror story: You’ve spent months perfecting your marketing strategy, your messaging architecture, your brand standards, and promotional materials only to discover your sales team is using Frankenstein content — a frightening mashup of old, new, and self-created information that must be stopped before it causes some serious damage. You could have the most carefully curated, pristinely tuned, immaculately conceived marketing strategy in the world, but what’s the point if your sales team isn’t putting it to use? If they can’t see the brilliance in your materials, here’s what you do:
- Write a polite, informative email and kindly tell them to step it up.
- Problem fixed.
If only it were that easy. The distrust between these two departments needs to be addressed before it spawns a battle royale where everyone loses. According to the Aberdeen Group, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 13.1 percent annual growth rate in corporate revenue, while those with poor alignment see a 0.5 percent decline.
What Does Sales Team Misalignment Look Like?
But it’s not like people are throwing chairs and yelling profanities; sometimes symptoms of dysfunction can be nuanced. For example, if veterans are behaving and performing differently than everyone else, it could show that new reps aren’t getting the support they need to ramp up, whether it’s with materials, training, technology, or something else. To help the situation, marketing should create tools to boost productivity, make it easy for the sales team to share information with leads, and put a process in place that lets the sales team members communicate their needs.
If the sales team is overlooking marketing materials, ask whether they’re being distributed properly and if the instructions for using them are clear. Are they available and updated in a timely way? Do the resources actually address customers’ needs and questions?
The best way to bring the two departments together is to literally bring them together and get everyone’s buy-in — or at least hear what both parties have to say. Create a feedback loop that helps marketing understand sales’ processes, needs, and experiences, and vice versa. You can have each spend a day in the other’s world, take notes, and listen. Open up avenues for communication between members of all the ranks, not just the top. Make sales team members coauthors of the marketing strategy; have them walk the road of crafting priorities. When the tough decisions are being made, and some priorities have to be cut, at least both sides will essentially own it and understand the reasoning.
Once you know materials and tools are hitting the right targets and being regularly used, stop policing and start collaborating. Corporate dysfunction is inevitable at times, but it’s not productive. To customers, it’s annoying, confusing, and a good reason to leave. So when these battles erupt, encourage your teams to step out of the fray and just keep their eyes on the prize.