According to a Corporate Executive Board study, 87% of the terms Sales and Marketing departments use to describe each other are negative.
Why is it that, despite an increasing trend towards comms ‘integration’, sales people don’t feel more aligned with overarching marketing goals, and vice versa?
The problem is that all too often these departments continue to work in silo, two mutually exclusive units that could be so much better than the sum of their parts, but lack the time and resources to dovetail more effectively.
And if your sales staff operate remotely, the challenge is even greater.
But there are simple solutions to grow the love, make the relationship (and your sales) blossom.
Let Each Other In
Tell one another what you have planned, and maybe even invite feedback on it, so each department feels a part of the process and not just an after-thought.
You won’t be alone. Highly successful companies like BA, BUPA, Starbucks and Pret now consider Marketing’s ability to engage sales staff to be just as important as the external results that they deliver.
And engagement really does deliver results. By involving, inspiring and training sales advisors as part of a major product launch for a Telco client, we helped to double call centre sales and delivered a record-breaking week of sales.
For many of our FMCG clients we start by launching our marketing campaigns internally. It doesn’t have to be big budget to make an impact, it could be as simple as a launch day at Head Office and a desk drop with more information.
Give everyone a preview of your new campaign not only empowers them but they’ll also act as a communication channel in their own right by sharing news to friends, family and colleagues.
Get a Pre-Nup (aka an SLA)
Not as crazy as it sounds, a Sales and Marketing Service Level Agreement (SLA) which outlines specific and measurable objectives for both teams – after all, why should Sales be the only people accountable – can be an incredibly powerful way of aligning teams and boosting results.
make sure it also sets deadlines, tracks progress in a transparent way, and generates formal learnings to be incorporated into future campaigns.
Don’t worry if you’ve never considered such a thing before; according to a HubSpot survey, 59% of marketers admit to not having any type of agreement with sales.
And whilst an SLA does bring a level of formality to the relationship, think of it as a happy marriage – nobody gets to enjoy one without first making it legal and binding.
Demonstrate It’s Worth the Effort
To keep your sales team on top of their game, it’s important to be transparent.
Show them how any given campaign is performing against the agreed set of KPIs and metrics in the SLA. Use sales data and share regular analysis, real-time if possible, to keep the team on-track and hitting their targets. And when the activity comes to an end, play back the results again and again.
The KPIs of sales teams will vary by industry, business and channel but ultimately you’ll want to understand the return on marketing investment (ROMI) in addition to the usual sales metrics.
Given how the benefits of a motivated sales team should yield longer-term results, it really is worthwhile determining how this less tangible aspect can positively impact on ROMI over a longer period.
Show Them the Love
Most people love recognition. Studies indicate that around 80% of people are now extrinsically motivated, meaning ongoing encouragement and recognition will help your sales team sell more.
Outstanding performance should be recognised. Whether this is done on the sales floor, as part of an awards ceremony or publicly recognising their accomplishments over your company intranet, it is a real motivator and helps to keep your team on-side.
It’s the start of a positive feedback loop. The more you recognise them, the more productive they’ll be, the more revenue they’ll generate and the less likely they’ll be to leave.
And as anyone in a relationship will know, it’s far harder to find a new perfect partner than it is to make it work with the once-perfect one you already have.
Be In It for the Long Term
Making the relationship between sales and marketing work takes a genuine long-term commitment. You can’t deliver the full five-star hearts and flowers routine one month and then think you can get away with a petrol-station bouquet the next.
So whether your scheme is ongoing or campaign-led, make sure you make every effort to maintain the momentum to keep the love growing.
How to Ensure Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
You may have read so far and wondered, that’s all very well and good, but I’m in a long-distant relationship with my sales staff.
You might be trying to engage indirect teams, motivate non-desked staff or get resellers to plug your product or brand.
That’s where an app like Sales Staff App (SSA) can come in. By combining live information feeds, product information videos, micro learning techniques, feedback surveys, tactical sales campaigns and gamification and reward systems, you can achieve all of the above, even if you never get a face-to-face date in with your team.
If you’d like more information, call James Mellor (at Blue Chip Marketing, the maker of Sales Staff App) on 0161 833 4300. We’d love to tell you more.