You know how to make your numbers in sales. You had a lot of success there. You climbed the ladder and got promoted. Now you’re not only in charge of sales, you’re also in charge of marketing.
Marketing is a different beast than sales. But your sales background is going to come in handy.
The whole process of integrating sales and marketing is a simple, three-step process.
With these three steps, you can utilize marketing to drive sales revenue. You can also manage your marketing leader and help them become even more valuable.
Here’s how you start: Look in the mirror before you look out the window.
Look in the Mirror: What Can YOU Do?
The first thing you should do is provide the marketing lead with your sales strategy. This strategy should detail what you need from marketing to make the number.
An effective sales strategy will be a documented operating plan around 25-30 pages. It will detail:
- How you allocate money
- How you distribute talent (people)
- What the timeframes are for delivering the revenue number
Without this strategy in hand, it’s impossible for your marketing team to know how they can help sales. Conversely, without this strategy it’s impossible for you to know how sales delivers value.
This may help. We’ve created a Sales Strategy Checklist that makes it simple to think through key parts of your sales strategy. The checklist will help you find and close any strategy gaps and develop a clear operating plan.
You can download it here.
Look Out the Window: What Should Marketing Do?
Now it’s time to review your marketing leader’s marketing strategy. Hopefully this is already documented. If not, this will have to be a detailed conversation.
Like the sales strategy, this should detail how money, people and time are allocated. Also determine what the go-to-market strategy and market segmentation strategy are.
Look for these common mistakes when reviewing a marketing strategy:
- Including only tactics, but no real strategy. If you see a spike in sales one quarter with a sudden drop-off the next, beware. This is a sign your marketing team has no driving strategy. Rather, they’re focusing on tactics.
- Having the same marketing strategy as the competition. You should look to your competition for gaps and opportunities, not just copy them. Otherwise the customer experience becomes a commodity. This also hurts the sales team, forcing them to differentiate only on pricing.
- Misalignment with buyer needs. Go back and review your buyer personas. Is the marketing strategy aligned with customer behavior? If buyers are not having a great experience, marketing messages aren’t resonating.
Multiplying the Benefits: How to Align Sales and Marketing for Success
You now have a documented sales strategy and an understanding of the marketing strategy. Next, it’s time to integrate them.
Create a new integrated marketing strategy document that includes the following:
- Segmentation. Define your prospects at the market, account and buyer level.
- Planning. Detail marketing operations. Include:
- Revenue forecasts
- Product and solution design
- Marketing campaigns
- Content creation
- Data management
- Engagement. Explain how marketing will generate market demand and manage leads.
- Organization. Review the marketing team’s organizational structure. Emphasize purpose, people and processes.
- Execution. Specify the day-to-day marketing tasks required to achieve your overall objectives. Include:
- Content production
- Campaign execution
- Lead management execution
- Sales enablement
- Support. This is the marketing operations infrastructure section. State how you will support the technology and data requirements of the marketing team.
The marketing and sales strategies should be reviewed during weekly alignment calls. You, the VP of Sales and Marketing, should lead these calls and cover:
- What did we owe each other from the last call?
- What are you working on that I can help you with?
- Where are we holding each other back, relative to revenue goals?
You should also conduct quarterly strategy reviews. Look closely at both the sales and marketing strategies and determine if:
- Last quarter’s assumptions have been validated. Stay the course.
- Last quarter’s assumptions were not validated. Adjust the strategies.
- No data has been gathered on the assumptions. Stay the course.
The three-step process is complete. You have created sales and marketing strategies. You have aligned those strategies. You have set a cadence for reporting on and reviewing those strategies.
With this focus, you know where your true north is. Now you can successfully execute for the year and hit those numbers running.