Not another sales and marketing alignment blog I hear you say? But wait, things are different, our lives and work circumstances have all changed. Sales and marketing have changed too – why wouldn’t they?

Businesses are now faced with reimagining work so it’s an ideal time to review sales and marketing teams, and how they can better interact and work together. Sales and marketing need to think hard about how they can collectively provide a seamless experience for increasingly demanding customers. Yet in a survey[1] carried out by LinkedIn, nine out of ten sales and marketing professionals felt their teams were “misaligned across strategy, process, content and culture”.

When companies struggled to work through the worst impact of the pandemic, enforced collaboration and a ‘start-up’ mentality meant thinking up new ways to get things done quickly together. While this has been liberating for some organisations, there is a pressure to ‘return to normal’ that it might be better to resist.

Keeping it human for remote customers

The pandemic shifted our ability to do work ‘in person’ so sales teams had to find different ways to reach customers and prospects. At the same time, although it wasn’t possible to physically interact with customers, there was an overwhelming need for the human touch. Crucially, understanding the change in customer expectations was key to success.

Recognising the shift in audience priorities and meeting their new requirements helps to build better relationships with customers who can see that even remotely, you do understand them. And putting customer value at the heart of sales and marketing — and making the journey as seamless as possible — will now mean different ways of working together.

Making the most of digital

Establishing robust processes that increase collaboration between sales and marketing will enable easier creation of relevant content that resonate with targeted audiences. For example, B2B sellers were forced to turn digital and use platforms like LinkedIn and Sales Navigator when they may not have done so before – and they’ve turned to marketing teams for support. Working together facilitates the understanding of systems and processes that may not have been familiar to sales or marketing teams pre-pandemic – and this new learning benefits the greater good of the company.

While we may see a return to more traditional sales channels such as telemarketing and direct mail as people return to the workplace, the digital channels must continue to be understood, managed, and mined.

It may be that salespeople will need to upskill, or that marketing teams may need to do more to equip sales teams to ensure they have the right content and methodology to pitch.

Marketing teams may also need to upskill in areas such as data mining and sales processes to finetune messaging to help sales hit targets.

And if salespeople still can’t operate in person, they may need more digital capabilities such as automated emails, or further support with LinkedIn tactics.

Exploring and sharing new skills is key to success, and learning together will foster a more collaborative approach, while putting customer needs at the forefront.

Joined-up thinking for a better 2022

We may be past the peak of the pandemic but there isn’t a way back to how things were before. COVID has accelerated change and brought shifts that were already happening within sales and marketing.

The LinkedIn[2] survey saw 85% of organisations saying that sales and marketing alignment is the biggest opportunity for improving business performance today.

Ask yourself these questions to see where that alignment can fall in your organisation and where you can make progress:

  • What changes to sales and marketing alignment are possible?
  • How will any changes put the customer experience central to your activities?
  • What needs to change in order to stay relevant?
  • Do you need to change lead quotas, amend service level agreements or track different metrics to reflect new working practices?
  • Will introducing new data or technology support better lead generation and conversions?

Start using the experience and understanding you’ve gained in the pandemic to make positive changes. Rather than falling back into old ways, it’s time to enhance collaboration between sales and marketing to realise your company’s full potential.

If you’re planning for 2022, consider new ways to add value through sales and marketing alignment. Read more about this and other ways to adapt to recent changes in our guide:

[1] https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/marketing-solutions/cx/2020/images/pdfs/moments-of-trust-v4.pdf

[2] https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/marketing-solutions/cx/2020/images/pdfs/moments-of-trust-v4.pdf

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