5 Reasons Why Your Sales and Marketing Teams Should Be Closer

meeting-1184892_960_720Sales and marketing teams don’t get along. They work in sequestered worlds without communicating their efforts, but both teams are often working towards the same goals and similar quotas — so why don’t they work together more often?

In a lot of cases, sales and marketing teams are super competitive with one another (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), and thus don’t appreciate or recognize the extent of the other’s impact on their effectiveness.

Friendly competition can make both functions stronger, but a lack of understanding when it comes to why each function is valuable to the other can stunt the full potential of your team as a whole.

Sales and marketing teams have a lot to gain from working in partnership, not the least of which is potential for increased overall revenue. Here are just a few of the things that are at stake…

1. Content Creation

Every marketer eventually hits a wall when they run out of clever ideas for new, useful content — it starts to feel like you’ve published everything you know about a given topic, and then some.

So what do you when the well runs dry?

Start talking to your sales team.

The sales team is on the phone with potential customers all day long, talking about problems that prospects are facing and solutions they’ve tried in the past that haven’t worked. This is seriously valuable information for marketers because chances are, that single prospect isn’t the only one facing that problem. The sales team has frequent customer contact and accumulates massive amounts of customer data that can be helpful to marketers.  If your marketing team isn’t using your sales team as a content resource, you’re missing out on a lot of low-hanging fruit.

Actionable To-Do: Have your marketing team jump on a few sales calls each week to listen in to prospect conversations for content ideas.

2. Lead Generation

Some marketing teams get a bad rep from their sales counterparts because it’s harder to quantify marketing success. For example, a closed sales deal brings in X amount of revenue each month (pretty straightforward), but it might take a little longer (and a little extra effort) to see the dollar amount that marketing generated.

However, marketing done right consists of a lot more than the “fluff” that many people associate with “marketing,” like branded shhhwag that gets passed around at events. A good marketing team is planning all of their efforts around an end-goal of creating leads for the sales team. Outbound campaigns, white papers, events, webinars, etc. are all sources for new leads that the sales team can chew on.

Actionable To-Do: Set up an outbound campaign and direct any inbound inquires/downloads there to get the prospects into your sales flow.

3. Faster Sales Cycle

Marketing leads tend to go through the sales funnel faster than outbound sales leads because the prospect is already informed in some way, and because they require less qualification from the sales team. When a prospect downloads a resource created by your team, it’s a good indication that they need help with a problem that you can solve — which cuts down on a lot of initial back-and-forth for the salesperson.

Faster sales cycles also lead to increased revenue. If your sales team can spend less time on prospecting and more time on the phone with warm leads, they’ll close more deals. Marketing and sales are both a numbers game — both teams should coordinate to figure out what numbers should be at the top of the funnel to get the most optimal conversion rates.

Actionable To-Do: Create a report to show conversion rates/cost per customer of outbound vs. inbound leads and work backwards to establish goals for the top-of-the-funnel numbers.

4. Easy Distribution

Distribution is one of the hardest problems marketers face — your content marketing program will falter if you don’t have a way to distribute your ideas/content/solutions to the right audience. Again, enter your sales friends, who just so happen to be reaching out to the same audience.

While marketing is responsible to some degree for lead generation, sales is most accountable. Your marketing and sales teams should be working together to get your content out to the audience that you’re already tapping into. Not only does this solve the distribution problem, but it also makes your sales content more valuable to the reader — a cold prospect is significantly more likely to engage if you’ve already provided value in your outreach.

Actionable To-Do: Coordinate your outbound sales efforts with your marketing team to distribute your best content to the right prospects at the right time.

5. Increased Revenue

When your sales and marketing teams are working together, it makes both functions more effective. Both teams are separately informed on various aspects of the customer buying cycle, but there’s probably a lot of overlap and wasted time rehashing with the customer that could be reduced or eliminated if both teams communicated and shared their knowledge.

Marketing can inform sales through data that’s already been gathered after a prospect fills out a form or lands on a certain landing page — this can inform sales on how to direct initial conversations with the prospect, as well as what specific pain points to address. Inversely, the sales team can inform the marketing team by helping them narrow down their target audience and ideal customer profile using information gathered from prospect conversations and closed deals.

Actionable To-Do: Establish a regular meeting time to share ideas and coordinate processes. (Your marketing team can probably jump into a few sales meetings each month that are already in place.)

This post originally appeared on Knowledge Tree’s blog here.