Aligning with sales: Stop saying and start doing in 2018
Thanks to AI and intent data, marketers have the opportunity to align with their sales teams better than ever before. Columnist Peter Isaacson outlines the steps marketers can take to get there.
One of the best things about my job is that I sit right near our sales development team — so not only do I know about all the best new bars in the city, but I also hear a lot about the challenges and day-to-day frustrations that plague our sales reps.
But sales and marketing alignment goes far beyond mere eavesdropping. Our sales and marketing teams work hard to make sure they’re closely aligned, so when new challenges do arise, we can easily address them and build new processes to ensure success for both teams. Without question, the alignment between our marketing and sales teams is the strongest I’ve ever had at any company.
However, this wasn’t always the case, and it isn’t always the situation for most companies. While more companies are now talking about how important sales and marketing alignment is, they’re often stuck when it comes to actually bringing the two teams together.
As we move into the new year, here are some steps marketers can take right away to align with their sales counterparts and help them close deals faster.
Start taking intent data seriously
Marketers have been toying with the idea of intent data for years, but up until now, it’s just been a pipe dream, and they haven’t been able to do much with it. It’s only just recently, with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, that it’s finally become possible to separate all the valuable signals from the noise and we can start being more proactive with our marketing efforts.
Today’s real-time intent data gives us the ability to identify companies at the first sign of interest based on what a prospect is reading or posting on the internet. When you can consistently give a sales team a set of accounts that are showing a clear interest in your products or services, they will love you forever. Marketing and sales teams can then use that data to work together to prioritize resources and start outreach well before their competitors.
Deliver true insights
“Insights” is one of those catch-all words marketers love to throw around when they talk about enabling sales. But when it comes to actually delivering actionable pieces of information, marketers are often lost in the shuffle of all the data they collect, from e-book downloads to webinar registrants.
The idea isn’t to overwhelm sales with a flood of data; instead, it’s about making certain pieces of relevant information actionable.
For example, while it’s great to know a specific contact attended the last webinar, it’s even more valuable to know that the following day, he or she visited your website and then included your company in a blog post about your industry. By delivering detailed information like this, you’re ensuring sales has everything they need to build relevant, personalized follow-ups.
Adopt a multichannel approach
Sometimes the insights you have to offer are incredibly timely, and you may not want to wait to hand them off to Sales. For example, let’s say website engagement spikes for one of your target accounts or a key stakeholder requests a demo. To ensure you get the message across quickly and effectively, you’ll also want to set up a multichannel communication system, one that includes email, LinkedIn conversations, your CRM system and other collaboration tools, like Slack.
Stress the importance of personalization
Nothing makes me hit delete faster than receiving a generic, irrelevant email. To ensure their messages get across, marketers and salespeople alike need to place emphasis on personalization and use the insights generated as a frame of reference for their outreach efforts.
By including a personalized element, whether that’s a response to a blog post or a recent speaking engagement, both teams can drive more conversions and reach their revenue goals.
By following the four steps above, you can stop talking about alignment and start experiencing it.