I like the word “symbiotic” to describe an ideal relationship between Marketing and Sales organizations. Dictionary.com suggests the following definition for the word symbiotic.
Symbiotic definition, living in symbiosis, or having an interdependent relationship: Many people feel the relationship between humans and dogs is symbiotic.
As a dog lover, this definition makes sense to me.
However, when considering the relationship between Marketing and Sales, what really resonates is the reference to an interdependent relationship. This means that two organizations should not co-exist separately but should be intentional in creating an interdependent relationship. To state the obvious, Marketing and Sales are critical to any business, so it makes sense that it’s important to develop and foster a symbiotic relationship with Marketing and Sales.
As an example, I experienced a situation in my career when as the marketing lead, business sales revenue for the first two quarters of the year was below revenue expectations. Upon realizing this, a flurry of suggestions were offered as to why business sales revenue was below target. As a joint effort, the Marketing and Sales leaders worked together using a fact-based analysis to identify more than 350 Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) were not worked by Sales. Furthermore, at the current close rate, if Sales had worked these leads, business revenue would be exceeding expectations. As such, the issue was identified and corrected (i.e., a routing and prioritization of leads), and the Sales team was flooded with opportunities to work to right-size revenue generation to end the year above target.
So, why should Marketing and Sales work together? The following are a few proposed benefits:
- Better understanding of the target audience: Sales is a great resource to further understand the customer. And since Marketing is responsible for identifying the target audience and creating content that appeals to this targeted customer, the Sales team can provide valuable insights as to customer needs and preferences which helps the Marketing team to create content that resonates with the target audience resulting in more effective marketing campaigns.
- Efficient lead generation: At the highest level, Marketing generates leads and Sales converts leads into paying customers. When the Marketing and Sales teams work together, they can streamline the lead generation process and make it more efficient. This collaboration ensures that the Sales team is not wasting time on unqualified leads.
- Consistent messaging: A consistent message is essential for creating a strong brand identity. When Marketing and Sales work together, they can ensure that the messaging is consistent across all customer touchpoints including social media, email, and sales pitches. Consistent messaging builds trust with customers and improves brand recognition.
- Improved customer experience: When Marketing creates content that educates and informs the prospective customer, the Sales team is better equipped to provide a solutions-based approach to address the customer issue or opportunity. As such, when Marketing and Sales work together, this results in an optimized customer experience which helps to build trust with customers and increases customer satisfaction.
- Better ROI: Collaboration between Marketing and Sales can lead to an improved return-on-investment. By working together, Marketing and Sales can focus their efforts on the most effective marketing strategies, the most promising leads, and the most efficient way to close sales opportunities. This collaboration leads to more efficient use of resources and improved revenue generation.
Overall, Marketing and Sales can create more efficient and effective business operations in streamlining the customer journey, building a strong brand identity, and increasing revenue.
Improving the relationship between marketing and sales can take time and effort, but there are several steps that businesses can take to foster better collaboration and communication:
- Encourage regular communication: Regular communication is key to building a strong relationship between Marketing and Sales. By leveraging a cadence of regularly scheduled meetings, Marketing and Sales can discuss their progress, share insights, and address any issues that arise.
- Foster a culture of collaboration: Creating a culture of collaboration is essential to improving the relationship between Marketing and Sales. Encouraging both teams to work together on joint projects and initiatives helps to eliminate silos and encourage cross-functional collaboration.
- Establish common goals: Establishing common goals for Marketing and Sales will help to align both teams and improve collaboration. Setting shared objectives, such as increasing revenue or improving customer retention, can help both teams to work together towards a common goal.
- Provide training and development opportunities: Training and development can help both teams to improve their skills and knowledge. When Sales and Marketing attend workshops, training sessions, and industry events, this results in a situation where Marketing and Sales can learn from each other.
- Use technology to facilitate collaboration: Technology can be a powerful tool for improving collaboration between Marketing and Sales. Invest in tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) software to help both teams to share real-time data and insights.
- Celebrate successes together: Celebrating successes together can help to build a sense of camaraderie between Marketing and Sales. Recognize the contributions of both teams and celebrate their successes as a team. This can help to build trust and improve collaboration.
Overall, improving the relationship with Marketing and Sales requires effort and intention. By encouraging regular communication, fostering a culture of collaboration, and establishing common goals, business results improve.
If you are a CEO, or if you are a Marketing and Sales leader, ask yourself the question “Are your Marketing and Sales teams working efficiently together?” or “Are there areas of improvement to ensure that Marketing and Sales could be working together?” Because it’s critical to ensure that these two organizations are working symbiotically.
Don't let your Marketing and Sales teams operate in silos! Foster a symbiotic relationship between them to improve your business operations, streamline the customer journey, and increase revenue. Encourage regular communication, establish common goals, and provide training and development opportunities. Celebrate successes together and invest in technology to facilitate collaboration. As a CEO or Marketing and Sales leader, take the initiative to improve the relationship between these two critical functions to ensure efficient and effective business operations. Start today to reap the benefits of a symbiotic relationship between Marketing and Sales!