How can marketing and sales can have a closer working relationship?
One way is deceptively simple: Its leaders have to like each other. “If that relationship isn’t happy and doesn’t involve mutual respect, eventually the entire thing becomes unwound,” said Jason Holmes, the president and COO of Showpad.
On the final day of Showtime18, the largest sales enablement conference in the world, Holmes talked with depth about the importance of aligning marking and sales and why bringing both worlds together is so crucial for preventing chaos within an organization.
“If you can find two people who work well together and they actually like each other. That creates the sense that both teams can work together,” he said.
Data shows why change is needed. The majority of buyers are making decisions based on experience more than on price and product, the buying cycle has increased from the previous year, and buyers are spending much more time researching on their own before contacting sales for expertise.
Companies are now facing a new challenge. According to Holmes, solving it starts and ends with relevant content. Sales is not getting enough content that has value to their customers and, according to Holmes, has been “left behind in the digital marketing revolution.”
So what can companies do to align sales and marketing to ultimately get more impactful content to buyers? He suggested the following ways:
Define your process from top to bottom. What is your company’s funnel? If you live in your world and only think about your part of the funnel and don’t know where it is headed or where it came from, that becomes problematic when you want to build a strong relationship between marketing and sales. Decisions are not made according to strategy, they are made based on emotions. Companies need to develop a content strategy that runs the entire gamut of the funnel.
Have shared metrics. Part of a strong strategy is establishing a common set of metrics. This is critical for getting both teams on the same page. If marketing and sales don’t define success and growth the same way, they won’t get along.
Establish integrated cadence and accountability. Now that you have those metrics, establish an integrated cadence. This can be in the form of a weekly or monthly forecast — whatever it is, companies need to create forums of accountability. “Otherwise, sales and marketing will start having separate conversations about goals and achievements and the friction will start to fly within the organization,” Holmes said.
Marketing needs to create content that moves the needle. Data shows that case studies, technical specs, and other forms of innovative content is influencing buyers opposed to traditional PowerPoints and slide decks. Content needs to offer solutions for buyers in ways that give them direction and even hope. That means both teams need to agree on how to create a buying experience that is a game-changer for the buyer.
Never forget that compensation drives behavior. Success for marketing needs to align with success for sales. Getting on that same page means that resentment won’t have an opportunity to grow.
Finally, Holmes said sales enablement is “now the cornerstone of how sales and marketing can collaborate.” It is the only way to prevent the bottom of the funnel from becoming “a black box” — a place without insight about what works and what doesn’t.
Showpad, he said, has the “most unified sales platform out there to drive that black box into a transparent box” to make the relationship between marketing and sales a productive one. Together, everyone wins.