How to align your sales and marketing departments

A business is an entity or an organization indulged in several activities for various causes. The main definition of business suggests that it is a group solely devoted to producing and selling goods and services. A business is divided into several departments that work on specific activities to keep things running smoothly. Departmentalizing ensures that no one gets in the way of another, and there is proper business communication between each of the departments to avoid conflicts. Some of the main departments of a business are management, finance, research and development, production, marketing, and sales.

Introduction to Sales and Marketing

Having a proper and adequate sales department is crucial for a business. The sales department makes sales happen; it is responsible for growing a business while also holding on to the existing customers. The sales department is the direct bridge between the products and services provided by the business and the customers.

The sales department is supposed to familiarize itself with the customers, their needs, and preferences. All the information that the sales department gathers is then used to improving the sales interactions. A salesperson worth his salt understands that business is as personal as it gets and that customers value personal interactions. A good salesperson can easily execute these understandings.

Businesswoman managerexecutive planing sales presentation

An excellent marketing department is no less crucial than a sales department in an organization. The essential purpose of a marketing department is to promote the business and deliver the business mission out to the audience. The marketing department determines your business’s image and public standing.

The marketing department stands for the sole purpose of reaching out to the public and representing the business as greatly as possible in front of potential customers, potential investors, etc. The customer’s buying decision greatly depends on how the business is marketed and if it resonates with the product and its idea.

The sales department and marketing department both have significant roles to play when running. Every department has one common focus: make the company successful. The marketing and sales department usually work around the customers, knowing them, understanding them, providing them with what they want. For the benefit of the company and the customers, the sales and the marketing division must be in complete sync, so there is no miscommunication.

Smarketing – Sales and Marketing Alignment

Sales and marketing alignment is one area where most businesses can improve. The practice is widely known now, and it even has its term now called smarketing (sales – marketing). The two divisions have a similar connection with one another, but they still might operate differently. It is agreed that organizations should align both of the departments for a smoother experience in the workplace. The two departments need to work closely together. They should collaborate better, and the communication between the two should be transparent.

While in the past, the two departments have worked independently like all other departments in an organization do, the most suggested and common practice now is to align the two departments. This suggestion is made to break down any barriers in communication and collaboration, and efficiency can take over. This collaboration has been known to be efficient and beneficial in increasing productivity and revenue. It has been noted that when sales and marketing departments work together, they have shown to increase the revenue of an organization by 34 percent!

How this whole thing works is quite simple. The sales division understands the company and the customers. In contrast, the marketing department understands the company and portrays it as required in front of the entire world. Hence, the two departments collaborate and join their forces. The sales department knows what the numbers look like; they also know the customers’ needs and preferences. This information is useful to the marketing department, so they know which area is troubling. The department’s goal would be to target specific customers efficiently for specific problems to raise the sales numbers.

Both of these departments should collaborate and communicate with each other to be completely aware of what’s going on. The awareness of both the departments and their collaboration will result in better brainstorming and coming up with tactics to increase the customer base and ultimately raise its sales and revenue.

Smarketing, a modern buzzword made from a combination of Sales and Marketing

The Importance of Sales and Marketing Alignment

When we talk about why the sales and marketing alignment is important, we dive into how the business world is evolving and progressing. The B2B (Business to Business) communication has changed a lot. It may have been in the past that another business looking to buy from or collaborate with a business may have looked at their sales numbers. Potential collaborators did this perusing to gather information about the company and help them decide whether or not they want to get into business with them. And this is why sales and marketing used to work separately, but now the consumer buying behavior has changed a lot.

When someone is looking to find information about a company, they look it up online. They look at the reviews and the information available easily on the internet across all social platforms. Previously the traditional approach was that marketing and sales were equal partners in the entire decision-making and buying process. Marketing played the role of customer awareness and discovery of the product. It also aided slightly in the intent of the customers to buy the product. Simultaneously, sales played the roles of influencing the customers’ intent, helping them evaluate the product, and finally having the product purchased.

Marketing plan and strategy

In the modern business structure, things have changed a lot. Marketing now plays a far greater role than sales than it ever did in the traditional approach. Now marketing plays the role of awareness, discovery, intent, AND evaluation, whereas sales only help customers evaluate the products and then sell them. We are in a digital era where we gather most of our information through the internet, television, social media platforms, etc. Even if we look at the B2C (Business to Consumer) communication, we will find that marketing plays the greatest role in their buying behavior.

Customers now learn about products from the way they are being marketed; they make their buying decision based on whether the product attracts them or not. Nowadays, not many people go out and consult with salespeople about the product. Rather they research it themselves. They also check the reviews, the ads, and how other people respond to their products, which is how they decide, and this is why the marketing department needs to get more creative and design and launch more marketing techniques to fit into this digital world.

According to studies and surveys, 90% of the sales and marketing professionals agree that they are misaligned, and 60% of them agree that said misalignment has hindered financial performance. Once collaborated, 80% of the sales and marketing leaders reported that this collaboration leads to business growth. Hence, it has become increasingly important for businesses to start aligning their sales and marketing departments.

How to Align the Sales and Marketing Departments

Perspective Abacus for Counting Practice, Beads Aligned Diagonally on Gray Background

It is quite evident that the sales department has information that the marketing department may not realize or understand. The same is the case with the marketing department and their knowledge. For the best results, marketing departments must learn more about sales and vice versa. Both of the departments need to broaden their pool of knowledge to understand what the customers prefer.

The sales department has the information about what kind of customers prefer what kind of products. The marketing heads use this information to devise targeted marketing strategies to achieve maximum sales. Moreover, the sales department has the information about all of the marketing strategies, and they understand which of the strategies proved to be the most successful in getting sales up. Here are a few tips to get your sales and marketing departments aligned:

Come Together and Coordinate

The first thing that the organization should do is to bring the sales and marketing departments together. They should meet regularly and communicate with each other well. The first thing that the organization should realize is that there may be some ingroup communication. Both the departments may feel that they are different teams. First, the organization must tackle this. The organization should make the two departments indulge in team-building exercises to diminish any barriers between them.

When the departments meet regularly, they should be open and honest because communication is key. The sales department should openly let the marketing department know about the successes and challenges. At the same time, the marketing department should let the sales department know about the campaigns and strategies currently being implemented.


Creative businesspeople brainstorming

When both departments are comfortable with each other, and both are aware of the dynamics of the other departments, they can move forward to the brainstorming phase. Departments often need to brainstorm to come up with new ideas to work on. Both the departments working together on this with their knowledge and joint efforts will prove to be effective. Both departments can give in their two cents and discuss their experiences while communicating openly on achieving one goal. A larger group ensures that there will be more ideas and diverse views. Many people also mean that there will be a better chance of coming to a final decision.

Revamping the Customer Journey

When the sales and the marketing departments are being aligned, it is best suggested that they should completely revamp the customer journey. A customer journey is an experience that a customer has with an organization. All departments have their way of dealing with customers, and each department may not always agree with the other’s approach. When bringing two departments together, they must create a new customer journey to avoid any rejection of a certain way.

Agree on Segmentation

Different customers prefer and react differently to varying products. Knowing which product to sell to which customer is essential. Hence it is important that both departments collaboratively create customer profiles. These profiles will better explain which customers to deal with for your specific products and who should be targeted for what. This document should be shared amongst the entire sales and marketing team, and they all should know it cover to cover. Knowing these customer profiles will make all the efforts efficient.

Key Performance Indications

paper stickers with words teamwork, business plan and seo on tabletop

Both of the departments would know what their Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are. For both departments, they can be varying. The sales and marketing department should both bring their KPIs together and identify what is common between them. This strategy will help their approaches when they know what brings in the best performance.

Use Customer Feedback

The most powerful tactic in the alignment of sales and marketing is to rely on customer feedback. When you target and sell your products to the customers, you should know their thoughts because they know the best. This tactic will enhance the departments’ performance and retain many customers once they realize that their feedback is acknowledged.

Conflict Resolution

Where there are diversifying teams and thought processes, there are bound to be some conflicts as well. The best way to ensure that these conflicts don’t get the best of both teams is to bring in a third unbiased expert who excels in conflict resolution—someone who will hear both sides and give fair solutions and advice to both of the departments.

Final Thoughts

The alignment of the sales and marketing department is an efficient and tried and tested way of growing the business and increasing performance. Organizations where the sales and marketing departments are well aligned have shown a 27% faster profit growth.

Moving the sales and marketing departments into opting for ‘smarketing’ is the best way of optimizing your sales and marketing strategies. Organizations often uncover unique insights by both departments, and there are guaranteed opportunities for business growth and revenue growth. Nowadays, more and more organizations are moving towards smarketing techniques to grow their business. It is the modern approach of the business world.