Why can't they understand the importance of working together?
A marketing person asked this question on sales and marketing alignment LinkedIn group a few weeks ago. Here were some of the answers offered.
- Get your sales and marketing teams to sit down and discuss collateral and language. Start where the pain is, that you can fix. Don't try and change the whole company too soon.
- The sales team needs to be supported by marketing. Marketing 'serves' the sales team. If they don't and it isn't having an impact on sales (and the bottom line) they are not focusing on the right things. Marketing has the luxury of looking forward 6-12 months, sales doesn't. Marketing professionals need to understand this.
- Tie marketing & sales compensation packages to joint performance and ability to close sales. This way marketing and sales equally win or lose financially based on real world performance and results.
All great answers. But like throwing a fire extinguisher to a drowning person. What the person is asking is- how do I get them to agree on and actually do something?
How to get sales and marketing to share a brain.
My quick answer: personas. The character (that they have jointly created and agreed on) of your customer should be the one making the decisions. This is how you get everyone to collaborate.
"It is all about the customer" is only true when your actions match your words. It has to be all about the customer from the moment an idea is hatched. It can be the greatest idea, marketing campaign, new product line or update, service or sale.
But if the first questions answered isn't "Why would 'Sally Supermom' care, or be interested, what problem does it solve for her, and how is she going to look for it? etc, etc." then you will never get executives to agree and collaborate with leadership, marketing to sales, sales to customer, delivery to customer service, and so on.
Smarketing is built on the premise that the only experience that matters is the customer's. To align your sales and marketing efforts, you must have a crystal clear understanding of who they are, what they need, and why you are the best fit for them.