Sales Leaders: Avoid These 7 Marketing Collaboration Mistakes

Marketing and sales need to collaborate to achieve the shared goal of generating more business. Here are seven missteps to avoid as you drive toward alignment.

February 27, 2017

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The modern sales leader’s success hinges on marketing more than ever, as a majority of self-empowered B2B buyers conduct a significant portion of their research online. Prospects hold sales at bay until they are quite far along in their process, instead relying on content to guide them. Simply put, these buyers are often more influenced by marketing than sales for as much as 2/3rds of the purchase journey.

It’s no wonder we continue to see studies and statistics underscoring the importance of sales and marketing alignment. It’s in the best interests of sales leaders like you to ensure a solid relationship with your marketing counterpart. With so much at stake, it’s wise to do all you can to make sure your efforts will pay off. Before you extend the olive branch to your marketing colleagues, familiarize yourself these seven common sales and marketing alignment mistakes to avoid:

1. Treating Alignment as a One-time Event

If you treat collaboration like a campaign, it’s destined to fail. Sales strategies and goals continually change. Marketing strategies, messaging, and tactics need to change with them, and vice versa. Even the buyers you are targeting can change. That’s why it’s essential to hold regular meetings and check-ins to make sure sales and marketing are on the same page.

2. Not Agreeing on Terminology

When sales and marketing don’t speak the same language, important details get lost in translation and minor misunderstandings become major issues. From the get-go, these two departments need to agree upon and define the critical terms that will guide their interactions. This covers everything from a lead at various stages to what a handoff entails and the metrics used to measure progress and success.

3. Focusing on Different Goals

In many organizations, marketing tracks how many leads and opportunities they produce, while sales tracks closed deals. But at the end of the day, both marketing and sales are trying to drive new business, and the metrics they use to measure their effectiveness should reflect this singular objective. Otherwise, the two departments will struggle to engage in meaningful discussions about how well they are working together to achieve that common goal.

4. Working from Different Data

This mistake is closely tied to the previous one. If marketing and sales are tracking different sets of data and working with different views of that data, they aren’t in alignment. Sales and marketing should sit side-by-side to review data in a common dashboard. This not only ensures everyone is considering the same information, it also helps guide conversations about how the two departments are – or are not – working together.

5. Failing to Equip Sales to Engage

Just because buyers are conducting their own research online doesn’t mean sales needs to sit back and wait. In fact, that’s why social selling has seen so much uptake – organizations see it as an effective way for their sales professionals to get engaged earlier in the purchase process. Marketing and sales should work together to make sure each sales rep is trained and equipped to succeed with social selling. This covers everything from training and creating and optimizing an online profile to best practices for engaging via social media.

6. Keeping Sales Out of the Content Loop

Marketing and sales should be telling the same story when interacting with prospective buyers. Too often, marketing doesn’t involve sales in the content creation process, leaving them in the dark about the storyline that is leading prospects down the purchase path. Marketing should ideally share summaries of all content assets and the overall storyline with sales so reps can seamlessly pick up the conversation.

7. Having Unrealistic Expectations

It takes time for a major strategic initiative to become the status quo so be patient. While you are positioning yourself for success by taking steps to avoid these common blunders, you will still encounter challenges and setbacks. Keep the end goal in mind – a frictionless buying process that drives better results for the company – and stay the course. The results will come!

Want more ideas to get sales and marketing working as one? Download How Sales and Marketing Partner for Effective Social Selling for additional ways to achieve success through collaboration.