Having been on both sides of the desk, I’ve come to realize how critical it is for Sales & Marketing to be aligned. The reality is that, while many companies are combining these departments, they are missing the bigger picture. While the ultimate goal is the same, the results will fall short if Sales and Marketing doesn’t work in unison, or rather if sales and marketing alignment wasn’t considered.
- Marketing is more than a cute brochure or tricked out website. Yes, it’s important that your collateral material look good, and that your website include features that your customers and prospects will appreciate, but more than that, it must contain information that they — and your sales team — will find of value. You want customers and prospects to come to your website not only to find out more about your company, but to find out how your company can help them with their business.
- Sales may be the face of the company, but you have to be more than a “pretty face.”
A good salesperson is equipped with the knowledge and resources to effectively communicate how working with your company can help the customer, by streamlining workflow, reducing headaches and/or saving money. And the collateral material must align with the story the sales team is sharing. For this to happen, marketing needs to know how the sales team is positioning your product.
It takes a village to promote a company.
- Marketing can develop a brand, but for the brand to be effective, input and support is needed from all levels. Each employee must live that brand every day. There’s nothing more frustrating to a new (or even existing) customer than contacting your service department and getting a completely different answer than what the salesperson promised prior to the sale. Or a customer comes into your branch asking about an advertisement they saw or heard and the employee isn’t aware of it.
Marketing Must Support Sales
The sales and marketing mindset can play a vital role in prospecting. Let’s say, for example, one of your primary markets is dentists in Wisconsin. Stopping in unannounced at every dentist will be frustrating and incredibly unproductive for the sales person, but connecting with resources such as the Wisconsin Dental Association (with over 3,000 registered dentists in the state) through affiliate membership, advertising, and/or participating in their conferences will provide opportunities to communicate your message and position yourself as a subject matter expert. And when you do, it’s critical that the marketing material tells the story that you want to share.
In an increasingly commoditized world, it’s more important than ever to stand apart. Having a quality product and/or service is table stakes. Everyone in your company has to know the role they play in helping your customer use your product (or service) to its fullest potential. And this is the true meaning of alignment in business.