Peanut butter & jelly. Strawberry & banana. Sales & Marketing? Those last two might be a little more challenging to bring together, but they can be just as sweet of a combination when mixed effectively. We recently sat down with Karim Hafez, Director of Enterprise Sales for DoubleDutch, to talk about how to better align your company’s Sales & Marketing efforts.
Karim primarily works with outbound sales development representatives. In 18 months he has seen Doubledutch grow to a company that works with 212 Fortune 500 companies. He hopes to see Doubledutch work with as many Fortune 1000 companies as possible, and he sees a synergistic effort between their Sales & Marketing departments as a critical piece in reaching his goal.
Karim believes that reverse-engineering how a prospect moves through your pipeline from initial marketing, to touchpoints with sales, to finally becoming a customer, is crucial to success. This involves looking at your brand messaging and ensuring that it’s communicating a unified message throughout the prospect’s journey.
So how do you ensure that you’re communicating that message consistently? By bringing Sales & Marketing together in the same room, establishing a firm “hand-off” point, and balancing Marketing Automation.
Sales & Marketing: Better Together
The absolute first step in aligning the efforts of these two teams is to get them to sit down with one another and talk. This might sound obvious or simple, but you’d be surprised how many leaders overlook it.
Key topics to discuss on a consistent basis are
- Responsibility – Who does what?
- Philosophy – Do your teams have the same goals in mind? Are they in agreement on how to accomplish these goals?
- Motivations – Do both teams agree that the needs of the client or prospect must come before the needs of the individual teams?
The “Hand-Off” Point
When you are discussing the “Responsibility” topic above, the hand-off point should come up. This point in the process is when a prospect moves primarily from the hands of the Marketing team to the hands of the Sales team. This can be illustrated using the concept of “lead scoring.”
Lead scoring allows you to set a score or value to each prospect that you’re working on converting to a sale. For example, on a scale from 0-100, a prospect of 10 would have shown a very small level of interest in what your company is selling, but a prospect of 100 would be a completed sale. It is important to have clear definitions of what each score represents so you can see the clear hand-off point from Marketing to Sales.
When each team has clear expectations for each prospect, and they understand the scoring system, they begin to believe in the system you have in place. Marketing wants to trust that their groundwork is not laid in vain, and Sales wants to trust that they are receiving educated leads. <Click to Tweet>
More and more often, buyers want to educate themselves. Rather than speak to a sales representative on Day 1, the buyer wants to get a solid idea of what they are potentially signing up for. In the beginning stages, your company’s marketing material must be substantial enough for the prospect to do some digging on their own.
However, when a prospect is moving further down the pipeline and they have been handed over to the Sales team, it’s important not to inundate them with marketing overload. Marketing communication via email must still be maintained in order to preserve air cover and ensure that the prospect is up to date on your company, but these types of communication must be scaled back compared to a prospect that is not as far along down the pipeline.
Karim suggests Marketo as a potentially useful Marketing Automation tool that allows you to tackle automation piece by piece as opposed to diving into the deep end.
Here are some more great tips that Karim has found helpful over the years on the topic of Marketing and Sales:
- Don’t send “pretty emails” from sales reps. Sales emails shouldn’t look automated. They should be text-based rather than using HTML, and they should always have a clear call to action to move things forward.
- Early on in the Sales process, make it clear if you can tell that the product is not right for your prospect. Also, create an environment where the prospect can feel comfortable telling your Sales team the same thing if they believe it’s not the right fit.
- Don’t ever stop the conversation internally over how you can continue to improve alignment between Sales & Marketing
Bringing Sales & Marketing together doesn’t happen overnight . . . or by accident. It’s a concerted effort and an ever-evolving process.
But it is worth the effort. By bringing Sales & Marketing together to communicate, establishing a “hand-off” point, and balancing Market Automation, you’re setting your company up for success. Each department has their own defined role, but they feed off of one another to create a whole that is more effective than the sum of its parts.