Putting an end to the sales vs. marketing debate

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sales vs. marketingThere’s been a long, ongoing debate on sales vs. marketing. Both marketing and sales are instrumental to business success. The former is responsible for creating advertising campaigns, boosting brand awareness and generating leads. The latter is responsible for converting those leads, building relationships and generating revenue.

The sales vs. marketing debate arises when one thinks the other isn’t fulfilling their purpose. For instance, the marketing team may think the sales team isn’t properly approaching the prospects and closing enough leads, and the sales team might feel they’re not receiving quality leads from marketing.

This sales vs. marketing conflict is hazardous for business. Sales and marketing must work coherently to ensure business success. Achieving it, albeit challenging, is possible. Here’s how to do it for your business.

Create a culture of collaboration

How often do your sales and marketing teams sit together to brainstorm ideas and identify opportunities? The lack of communication between sales and marketing teams can cause disconnect and conflict. Therefore, enabling seamless collaboration is the first step in bringing the two departments together.

You can create a collaborative culture by holding joint meetings between the two departments. This way, you can ensure both teams know each other’s objectives and challenges.

Unify the sales and marketing funnel

Marketing and sales teams often follow different funnels. A marketing funnel is comprised of awareness, consideration and conversion stages, whereas a sales funnel includes lead generation, lead qualification and closure. Unifying the sales and marketing funnels is the key to sales-focused marketing.

For example, the marketing team should continue to nurture a lead after passing it to the sales team. This can be done by producing bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content, like product webinars, client testimonials, limited-time offer emails and more. Continuous engagement after lead qualification will help the sales team convert more leads.

Establish common goals and shared metrics

Having common goals for sales and marketing teams is a potent way to bring your sales and marketing teams together. Here’s where the concept of the North Star goal comes into the picture. The North Star goal is the primary goal of your business. For example, the North Star goal could be to reach $1.5 million in quarterly sales or onboard 500 new customers every month.

Let’s say you want to get $1.5 million in sales this quarter, and the average ticket size is $1,000. The goal for the sales team is clear here: Close 1,500 leads in three months.

Now, let’s say your average conversion rate of qualified leads is 10%, which means 10 out of 100 qualified leads convert. So, the goal for the marketing team is to generate 15,000 qualified leads in the quarter.

Because the individual goals are clear and both point to the North Star goal, the sales and marketing teams can work in tandem. The marketing team will focus on generating qualified leads for the sales team and the sales team will focus on converting those leads.

Appoint a common manager for sales and marketing

I’ve discussed some actionable steps you can take to integrate sales and marketing teams—now comes the execution part. Having a common manager for sales and marketing is one of the best ways to unify the two departments. Of course, you must have dedicated people heading sales and marketing but the two heads must report to a single manager.

The CEO is the best person for this role, but you can hire a dedicated person too.

Create marketing materials with sales in mind

Inbound marketing revolves significantly around content, such as blogs, videos, infographics and webinars. To make marketing sales-focused, marketers must take a sales-first approach to create content.

Here are two key tips to follow.

  1. Create content with the funnel in mind. Every piece of your content should fit in some stage of the funnel.
  2. The content should help salespeople sell better and push prospects down the funnel.

Pro Tip: Integrate the sales team into your content marketing strategy to ensure your content aligns with your customers’ needs and pain points.

(This article was originally published by Forbes.com. It has been edited for style and content.)

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