Top-Shelf Tip No. 27:

"You can’t win together if you can’t work together."

Nick Saban

Six Strategies For Sales And Marketing Alignment

Have you ever paused to consider how well your marketing and sales teams work together? They might inadvertently be sending mixed messages, which can be confusing to potential clients. When sales and marketing are misaligned, the customer journey goes off track. However, when sales and marketing move forward together, you put your team on the path to growth and profitability.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, award-winning author, keynote speaker and business strategist Meridith Elliott Powell discusses six strategies to help align sales and marketing teams.

1. Ask for input. Those on your marketing team might excel at researching the target market and creating compelling content to help salespeople sell. However, the American Marketing Association discovered that 90 percent of content that marketing professionals create is never used by salespeople. Powell says it's imperative for the sales team to buy in to the content that marketing is creating. She recommends that the marketing team sits down with sales to obtain their ideas and input. The sales team will want to help support their ideas and the marketing team just might glean some useful insight.

2. Look at things from a sales angle. For marketing employees to understand sales roles, it helps to go on a sales call or at least listen to a sales call. The marketing team can gain much better insight to the customer's challenges and pain points when they hear them directly as opposed to doing research. Plus, going on sales calls allows the marketing team to understand first-hand what the sales team experiences. This helps broaden the team's viewpoint and allows them to use their expertise to better help sales reps.

3. Involve salespeople in content creation. If you want your sales reps to use your marketing copy, allow them to personalize it a bit. Salespeople really know their customers-and not just as a target market, but as individuals. When sales reps can have a say in e-mail wording or promotion copy, you leave room for that piece to be more effective.

4. Build a better process for lead quality. Powell says one of the most valuable functions of marketing to sales is lead generation. If you want to boost marketing's relationship with sales, help them get better leads. To do this, you need a better buyer persona. While marketing does the heavy lifting to define the target market, the sales team knows the customers first-hand. They know who is buying and who is not. Use their insight to deepen the marketing team's understanding of the buyer persona.

5. Don't be afraid to shine the spotlight. Sales reps can sell products and services, but they're not always exceptional at selling themselves. The marketing team can help. When marketing employees interview the sales team and understand their skills and talents, they can use that information to create valuable content for blogs, videos, LinkedIn posts and sales letters. Marketing can help sales develop their personal brands and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

6. Encourage collaboration. When sales reps and marketing employees spend some time observing each other, they can better understand the job's daily struggles. A mutual respect is born out of this understanding, which helps build trust and ultimately a more effective team.

By better aligning your sales and marketing teams, you help transform relationships and boost your bottom line.

Source: Meridith Elliott Powell is an award-winning author, keynote speaker and business strategist who is passionate about helping her clients learn the strategies to succeed no matter what this economy does. With a background in corporate sales and leadership, her career expands over several industries including banking, healthcare and finance.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

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