Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Marketing

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When it comes to solving problems, it’s often said that “two heads are better than one.” This is especially true with sales and marketing teams.

When the two teams work in silos, they can quickly become at odds with one another, viewing each other as obstacles to their own success rather than an essential partner to achieving results for the business. By bridging the gap between sales and marketing teams, both teams can exponentially scale success in order to accomplish more collectively than they could have ever imagined alone. Enablement can be the key to bringing these two teams together to drive alignment and yield tangible business results.

“Sales enablement is actually the outcome of a healthy product marketing and sales training team,” said Tyler Zeman, product marketing for education programs at Amazon Web Services.

Learn how enablement can help enhance sales and marketing alignment by creating a common language to achieve mutual understanding and fostering consistent communication to improve collaboration.

Consistent Communication to Build Rapport

At the root of misalignment between sales and marketing is often a lack of communication, particularly as it relates to the strategy and core objectives of each team. Fostering open and honest communication can help uncover areas where each team could add value to the other’s efforts as well as create shared understanding of the top priorities each are pursuing.

When operating in silos, sales and marketing teams often do not have a clear understanding of what the other team is working on, and they may miss out on opportunities to collaborate – or worse, duplicate efforts. With established channels and processes for communicating regularly, sales and marketing can stay ahead of shared initiatives and identify ways to amplify efforts or offer support.

“Since it is rare that a leader will have one foot inside of each department, it’s imperative that sales and marketing leaders build rapport with sales enablement and each other”, said Jen Spencer, CEO of SmartBug Media. “Successful sales enablement relies on collaboration and open communication to bring the sales team the most relevant programs.”

Enablement can help facilitate this alignment by bring sales and marketing leaders together in a consistent forum to create regular opportunities for communication and collaboration. For example, this could include a roundtable meeting with leaders on a monthly basis, an informal chat channel for sharing ideas and asking questions, or a combination of both.

“We need to be aligned. We are part of the same management meeting and we are clear on the objectives that we want to achieve each month, quarter, or each year,” said Maria Willait, sales enablement director at Salesforce. “We create a business plan together with the same objective, which is the success of the salespeople. It’s about meeting regularly, not only with marketing but with the sales team and making sure that we keep on track and achieve the same objectives.”

Data-Driven Insights to Create a Common Language

Sales and marketing teams can often feel like they are speaking different languages, with unique terms, acronyms, and even norms, making alignment extremely difficult. However, there is a language both teams understand: data and hard metrics. Enablement can help surface clear insights backed by data to appeal to the shared objectives of sales and marketing leaders, making it easier for each to see how both teams are moving the needle on the priorities that matter most to the business.

“Work with the leaders to identify those metrics and map activities and results to those,” said Spencer. “Sales enablement professionals have to be able to speak the same language as the sales and marketing leaders.”

Using data as a common language to align sales and marketing teams helps foster accountability against business goals, while also opening the door for more consistent communication to optimize the efforts of each team. For example, data can help uncover shared wins as well as gaps hindering progress. By assessing these together with enablement, leaders can strategize plans to address those gaps with insight from both sales and marketing, leading to more holistic approaches to issues facing the business.

“Speak the same language and just understand how to translate some of the insights from sales to marketing and vice versa,” said Henry Adaso, author of “Content Mapping”. “It’s finding the common ground between sales and marketing in terms of what each party is learning from the customer and then translating that into better marketing and sales assets.”

Shared Plans to Drive Accountability

Beyond just visibility and understanding of what teams are working on, it can be a powerful exercise to put shared plans onto paper. This can not only create more transparency about what each team is working on, but it also helps drive accountability by creating a shared fate around defined objectives.

By putting these plans and objectives into writing, both parties are taking ownership of the efforts needed to ensure success against the defined goals. Ultimately, this drives accountability and creates a strong sense of camaraderie between sales and marketing.

“The most important thing to get a team to function is their needs be a shared fate, and by that, I mean, what happens to one happens to all,” said Eric Coryell, author of Revolutionize Teamwork. “That’s really the driving force that will get a group of people that actually function like a team.”

With mutual ownership of and accountability to outcomes, sales and marketing leaders can also feel more confident and comfortable sharing feedback on what could be improved to optimize results.

“Shared fate is what creates the motivation for people to say what they truly feel because if my success is intertwined with your success, if my failures that are trying with your failure, I am highly motivated to have those conversations,” said Coryell.

Sales and marketing teams need to know that they can rely on each other for support when tackling large projects. By fostering constant communication that is built on data-driven insights, both teams can clearly understand what they need to accomplish, and what they can do to aid in the other team’s success.

When enablement focuses on creating a data-driven common language that is used to foster consistent communication focused on shared objectives between the sales and marketing teams, they are able to elevate outcomes for both teams. By eliminating this distance between the teams, enablement can help sales and marketing understand how they can add rather than detract value from each other’s success.

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