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In the digital-first era, the strategic alignment of sales and marketing teams plays a crucial role in bridging the gap between lead generation and lead conversion. When these teams are in sync, they are 67% more effective at closing deals and deliver a 36% increase in customer retention rates. But despite compelling statistics, and a clear need for collaborative strategies in the current market, silos prevail in a staggering number of organizations.

By failing to unify sales and marketing efforts, these organizations risk a 10% loss in annual revenue, and significant misallocation of departmental resources. It is estimated that 90% of leads submitted by marketers are never pursued by sales teams, despite substantial time and effort invested in lead-generating activities. Inconsistent definitions of what constitutes a viable lead, among other conflicts resulting from misalignment, are likely to blame.

To understand why the disconnect between sales and marketing teams persists, it is important to recognize how their goals often diverge. Marketers tend to measure their success by the number of leads generated, while salespeople focus on the number of deals closed. However, a brand stands to benefit most when both teams shift their attention to a more qualitative metric—the buyer experience. By encouraging teams to consolidate data and design collaborative strategies, brands can facilitate the types of experiences that convert leads to long-term customers.

Using consumer feedback to simplify the buying cycle

The journey of a modern consumer is increasingly complex. Inundated with online resources, and less inclined to interact with a company directly, many consumers conduct extensive independent research before making a purchase. When a brand makes it easy for consumers to find relevant information, it gains a significant advantage over competitors. Consumers favor straightforward processes, with organizations that offer a simple and prescriptive sales experience proving 62% more likely to close a deal. With in-person sales opportunities declining, brands can respond to consumer preference by providing timely and pertinent information on the mediums favored by their target audiences.

To perfect both the messaging and the timing, it is essential to encourage the free flow of information between sales and marketing teams. Sales reps are uniquely positioned to obtain real-world insights into the way their brand's messaging affects consumers at various points in the buying cycle. Through direct interactions, they're poised to learn how different solutions, sentiments, and even language choices resonate with potential customers.

This feedback can help marketing teams shape their content to address their audience's primary concerns at each stage of the decision-making process.  Equipped with key data, such as what led a particular buyer to the brand, and which solutions they've already tried, marketers can offer specific and proactive answers to questions their audience is likely to ask. This approach is far more effective than inundating buyers with information that may or may not be relevant, a tactic which has been shown to decrease sales by 18%.

Enhanced content personalization

Though the majority of marketers share every lead they generate with their sales teams, it is estimated that a mere 27% of these leads are actually qualified. This suggests that many marketers are casting a wide net, rather than focusing on high-quality lead sources. Besides being understandably frustrating for sales teams, this practice also makes it difficult for marketers to form meaningful connections with genuinely interested buyers.

To identify likely buyers and make informed decisions about content positioning, marketers must share data obtained through platform analytics with sales teams. When salespeople are privy to a lead's geographic location, income range, age group, and other details, they are better equipped to report on the buying patterns of various demographics. With these reports, marketers can identify high-quality lead sources, and speak more authentically to the pain points of their target audiences.

The benefits of strategically tailored content are well established. Brands that use personalization effectively have been known to increase revenue by 40%. However, many organizations struggle to personalize their content, with 67% citing challenges in collecting and synthesizing data. The prevalence of this particular challenge highlights the necessity of an open line of communication between sales and marketing teams. By sharing data, and framing it with key context, these teams can eliminate a common obstacle to personalization, and ultimately, contribute to their brand's revenue growth.

Tactics for facilitating collaboration

To achieve effective alignment, it is essential for sales and marketing teams to develop common goals. Ideally, these will be big-picture goals focused on metrics that benefit the brand as a whole rather than one department or the other. Regular meetings between sales and marketing teams, whether in-person or virtual, can encourage open communication and pave the way for the development of unified strategies.

By increasing the transparency of departmental resources and work product, teams can better identify the points where their messaging diverges. Given that 97% of sales and marketing professionals feel their messaging is out of sync, this can be a crucial step toward better alignment. By encouraging salespeople to review marketing content and customer personas, and marketers to look over scripts used for sales calls, brands can highlight gaps in the ways these two teams approach potential buyers. From there, the teams can compare data to agree on strategies that create the most personalized and relevant buyer experiences. Ultimately, these are the strategies that will prove most valuable for the brand.

Closing the communication gap between sales and marketing teams is one way a brand can keep valuable leads from falling through the cracks. However, it is just as important for organizations to maintain a culture of flexibility and a focus on the consumer. Both sales and marketing teams base their strategies on consumers—and the consumer mindset is always changing. A shift that one team detects in the preferences of the target audience is an opportunity for both teams to respond. Agreeing on the best approach may take some negotiation, but this effort is an essential part of optimizing the buyer experience, and ultimately, increasing revenue for the organization.

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