3 Tips for Aligning Sales and Marketing for Building Product Manufacturers
February 13, 2020
Aligning sales and marketing can have a fantastic impact on your company’s bottom line, but getting organized is easier said than done. That’s why we’re offering three easy tips straight from our director of marketing, Liz Polson, and our director of builder sales, Dave Sacchetti, to get you moving on the right path.
If this topic sounds familiar, it’s because we included it as one of our New Year’s resolutions to sell to builders better, and we’re here to offer concrete steps to make it a feasible goal. Why? It’s easy to fall out of sync, but sales and marketing alignment can lead to a 32 percent increase in year-over-year revenue growth.
Alignment also makes the day to day easier — whether you’re in sales or marketing — because both teams will be working in better harmony. Sales, that means you won’t be blindsided by marketing communications. And the same goes for marketing — you’ll know what the sales team is up to and be in a better position to help.
Schedule a standing meeting and have an agenda
Both sales and marketing people are natural communicators, so why they can be so bad at talking to each other is a riddle. If you’re the sales or marketing head at your company, it’s important to foster a beneficial relationship with the other side. Because if you’ve got a communicative relationship, it’ll trickle down to the rest of your team members.
But there’s a reason so many advice articles exist on how to improve interdepartmental communication. Every department has its own projects to do and that makes it easy to lose touch with anyone outside your core team. That’s why we suggest scheduling a standing meeting on your shared, company calendar for at least once a month (or at an even more consistent pace if it feels necessary).
While we don’t think your entire sales and marketing teams need to be invited (unless you have small teams that work in the same building), we do think it’s important that the team leaders communicate regularly. And more than that — communicate effectively.
Don’t treat the meeting as optional or something that’s easily rescheduled and arrive with talking points. Ideally, one person will lead so the conversation flows and stays on topic (but we’ll let you figure that out!). Importantly, end the meeting on time so no one views it as an open-ended opportunity to catch up. And once the meeting’s done, communicate key points to your teams.
If you’re not involved in these regular meetings, it’s on you to be curious about what the other team is up to and to be open to collaboration. Treat emails or phone calls from them like you would a customer — that is, don’t ignore them and then get back two weeks later.
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Share materials openly and easily
While marketing generally creates sales enablement materials, the collateral has a habit of shifting over time as different people request modifications.
That’s why it’s important to know who’s using what, and if anyone is using collateral so old that the brand messaging is outdated.
We suggest using a shared drive (like Google Docs, Microsoft Sharepoint or within Salesforce) to store all the approved collateral between marketing and sales. We also suggest making it clear that anything not on the drive is no longer approved for continued usage. It won’t solve everything, but it will cut down on confusion about where team members can access the latest materials (ideally through a simple link).
It’ll also help if you get your executive team on board to encourage a synchronous message between both teams.
Outside of sales enablement materials, it’s important for sales to be aware of the content that marketing is creating. It could be a good opportunity to share on social or send to a prospect along with a friendly message. Sharing this info is as easy as sending out an email round-up or an editorial calendar.
At the same time, marketing should also know how sales reps interact with their prospects and customers, how they conduct pitches and what additional materials not created by marketing that reps find helpful to share with builders.
The goal is to prevent overlap, mixed messaging and confusion for the customer.
This last tip flows naturally because feedback between both marketing and sales is the key to improving the performance of both departments.
We recommend sharing feedback as a central point of the regular communications between sales and marketing team leaders. That way the feedback can be shared somewhat anonymously, and within a friendly — and equal — space.
What kinds of feedback do we mean?
- Positive or negative builder responses to marketing initiatives
- Insight into incentives that builders really respond to
- Customer habits that enrich the narrative for their buyer personas
- Sales initiatives that really clicked with builders
- Constructive internal criticism of each teams’ work
Some of these points might be hard to hear, but as long as they’re communicated respectfully, they have the potential to make really positive change.
Feedback also has the potential to improve products, change brand messaging for the better and help both teams reach builders more successfully.
But now that we’ve talked a bunch, let us know your tips on aligning sales and marketing in the comments!