By Charles Richardson

Cash flows when sales and marketing teams are in synch

The French writer who coined the phrase “one for all and all for one” (un pour tous et tous pour un) likely never worked for a sales and marketing company. And according to his resume, Alexander Dumas surely did not. For if he did, The Three Musketeers likely would have been an entirely different book—one of discord, petty squabbling, and mean-spirited contempt. Regrettably, it is all too common for sales and marketing departments to be at odds, in trifling, one-upmanship competition with the other, especially when numbers are down. For if success is the great unifier, then failure is the divider. This bears merit within most companies. When business is good and sales are rolling, everyone’s happy. But as soon as sales dip or leads plateau, the finger-pointing begins. Marketing blames sales for being unable to work leads and close “sure things.” And the sales team bemoans having to work with a marketing group that couldn’t steer a qualified lead out of a paper bag. This divisiveness, if allowed to fester, will negatively impact your business.

Something’s gotta give

If companies are going to be successful in today’s uber-competitive business world, then sales and marketing teams need to bury the hatchet and come together. When the two historically antagonistic departments work in unison, communicating effectively, they can generate way more qualified leads and increase overall earnings. Why? Because sales and marketing teams depend upon one another for success.

Let’s look at some numbers:

Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing

enjoy 36% higher customer retention


Aligning sales and marketing can help generate 209% more revenue


Companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20% annual growth rate (Aberdeen Research Group)

When sales and marketing are in synch, sales wins increase 38%

(Marketing Profs)

You get the idea. When both sides work together, everyone wins. And the irony is, both are chasing the same goals and should be each other’s biggest supporter, not adversary. When sales and marketing work together—synchronizing strategies, aligning priorities, sharing information, joining forces—then the company will invariably identify and convert more qualified prospects. Let’s look at a few best practices that successful companies employ to integrate sales and marketing into a well-oiled, lead-generating machine.

Define the process

Willy nilly doesn’t work. Never has, never will. Too often sales teams have a renegade attitude. They like to wing it: “We have our own way and it works for us.” And the marketing group often goes off and creates materials and executes initiatives without consulting with the sales team. Both of these practices lead to disaster. It is imperative that sales and marketing function as ONE: with a shared strategy and a common goal. It all starts with defining and implementing a clear process that both sides understand and agree upon. It’s amazing the good things that can happen simply by having everyone on the same page.

Adopt an automated system

With modern technology and digital resources like never before, it is possible for sales and marketing teams to create a process or system that does much of the heavy lifting for them. There are a number of lead management and lead tracking automated systems out there today that can be customized to virtually any kind of sales model. The beauty of an automated system is that leads are followed up on immediately and no one slips through the cracks. Simply creating scheduled emails—greetings, introductions, ongoing information, tips, suggestions, and relevant updates—can go along way toward engaging prospects and building trust.

Share the data

Analytics and data should be your best friend. But it doesn’t do you any good if people aren’t in the loop. It is imperative that sales and marketing must share information regarding lead generation, lead tracking, prospect interest, customer behavior, and pipeline management. With digital automation and clear processes in place, it is now possible to define agreed upon metrics that identify the quality and progress of a lead—in addition to determining what marketing tactics are most effective to fill the sales funnel. With the right tools in place, sales and marketing can become seamless and efficient, and even shorten the sales cycle, through strategic collaboration and alignment. The goal is to become smarter and smarter as a team.

Nurture the lead

This is the essence of everything sales and marketing is designed to do—and it determines ultimate success or failure. Lead coordination and nurturing must be a top priority for both sales and marketing groups. It is the responsibility of both to work together to ensure that no matter where prospects are entering the funnel, they are being engaged with the right messages in the right way—whether that is an automated email or a personal phone call. It all depends on where the prospect is in the customer journey. A clearly defined lead nurturing process is critical—both before and after the sale and at every point in between. Customers today want to feel the love, and it has to be customized to them specifically.

Did You Know?

Marketing and sales teams that are in alignment

are nearly 70% more effective at converting customers.

(Digital Marketing Institute)

Bottom Line: collaboration = sales success

You can have a crackerjack sales team. You can have the most talented marketers in the world. But it does you no good if both sides are out of step, or strategically misaligned.  Both groups must be fully integrated with the singular aim of identifying, engaging, and converting new customers. After all, customers hold all the cards today. They’re getting hit up on all sides. In order for you to win them over, you must: 1) understand them, 2) provide real solutions they need, and 3) show them you care. To pull that off, companies must account for every step of the sales journey, reaching out to prospects with appropriate messages to demonstrate that they are important to you. When your company’s sales and marketing teams are in clear alignment—sharing information, data, and metrics—then your ability to attract, influence, and win-over new customers will help your bottom-line numbers soar like never before.

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