The alignment of the marketing and sales departments is the order of the day, it is called Smarketing and it is already here. And if you think that because you belong to the industrial or technological sector, this is not going to work for you… you are wrong! Creating an aligned sales and marketing plan is essential for any business in any industry.
Every time the sales department needs more than the marketing department and everything has its explanation.
The marketing actions help:
-Anticipating the needs or requirements of the consumer or client
-Promoting the sales of the organization’s products and services
-Generating necessary contacts for the sales department
1. Marketing and sales plan. What are they?
First of all, we have to make it clear what each department consists of and, of course, its plans. In this way, you can better understand what the differences are between the two.
The marketing department of smart city provides the information, knowledge and guides necessary to reach the potential customer, while sales prepares and satisfies the needs that are demanded.
Now that we know what each department consists of, let’s talk about their plans.
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1.1. Sales plan
We start with the sales plan, since this is one of the parts of the marketing plan . Mainly, the sales plan consists of creating a sales funnel. This consists of 4 phases:
It is the basis of the alignment between the marketing plan and the sales plan. In this first phase, the sales team is responsible for breaking the cold door with potential customers.
- Leads and CRM
In this second phase is when the sales team must make sure that the incoming leads begin to appear in our CRM.
- Progressive maturation
At this stage, leads should be matured little by little, usingforms that each will progressively request more data about the lead in order to have more information about it.
- Pipeline maturation
This last phase of the sales plan is closely associated with the marketing plan, since thePipeline enters the process here. Sales is responsible for creating it, but the marketing team must have knowledge of all stages of the business proposal. To do this, they must make the maturation of the Pipeline by consensus.
1.2. Marketing plan
A marketing plan must be structured, coherent, have metrics, be integrated with other plans -such as the sales plan-, it must have an action plan and its own language, in addition to having a defined time horizon (both at the strategic level as well as at the operational level).
This plan must be made up of the following sections:
- Executive summary
It summarizes the fundamental ideas of the plan itself. This document collects the most relevant information of the plan, such as a presentation of the basic information of the company (including the differential factor and its products / services), theobjectivesto be achieved in the marketing plan with its line of action and its budget.
- Current situation
analysis This analysis is also known as strategic analysis or situational analysis. It consists of conducting both an internal and external analysis of the organization todevelop a SWOT. This analysis studies the weaknesses, threats, strengths and opportunities that a company has.
- Diagnosis of the current situation
Once we have the necessary information to perform the SWOT, we will proceed todevelop a CAME analysis on the previous analysis. This analysis investigates: how to correct weaknesses, how to face threats, how to maintain strengths and how to exploit opportunities.
- Setting Marketing Goals
The objectives must be adequately defined, they must be concrete and achievable (SMART objectives). In addition, deadlines must be set to motivate compliance. These objectives can be both quantitative and qualitative.
Also, in this part the sales plan must be taken into account, to create common objectives or objectives that are coherent between both departments, to take them into account later in the decision of strategies.
Learn here: How to define sales and marketing objectives quickly and easily
- Marketing strategies
They define the way in which the objectives set out in the marketing plan will be addressed to achieve them.
plan Theaction plan consists of defining what is going to be done, how it is going to be done and who will do it, as well as what will be the estimated timeframe.
- Budget and provisional income statement
A breakdown budget is developed for each strategy and each action, for each cost and supplier … everything must be known in detail or to a maximum possible approximation.
Likewise, a provisional income statement is also developed, which is the difference between what it costs to implement the marketing plan and the benefits expected from its implementation.
- Evaluation and control
The effectiveness of the objectives set is measured, carryingout periodic controls using indicators that will help to quantify the final result, preventing possible deviations.
- Contingency plan
The corrective measures of the deviations found previously are established.
1.3. Can they work together?
The close relationship that exists between both departments is evident, since both operate on the potential client, but each one in a different way.
As we have mentioned before, marketing facilitates and carries out strategies to reach the potential customer and sales is who takes care of them, in addition to the sales plan being part of the marketing plan.
So now the relationship between the two is clearly seen, right?
That marketing needs sales and marketing sales, that is an undeniable reality and, more and more companies are realizing this reality -especially within the industrial and technological sector- and are implementing it in their companies.
Although, currently, one of the impediments to making progress on this alignment of departments is due to the existing inequality within organizations.
To this day, many of the companies that belong to the industrial sector are still stuck in traditional strategies and sales is the department that matters most to them. This is because they are the ones who create the sales and, as a consequence, bring the profits. And what is the main objective of an organization? These.
Marketing is the one who makes it easy for them to reach those potential customers. Your job is to put them on a platter, help bring new customers into the company.
“So, if companies are increasingly aware of this fact, why aren’t their departments on an equal footing? “
Companies must provide the same resources to both departments, as well as make a similar investment on each of them. Thus, they will be able to work together more easily and obtain benefits in a more efficient way.
2. How to get a joint plan for both departments
If we know that the ultimate goal of a company is profits and both departments work together to achieve them, why should this not be reflected in their respective plans?
As we mentioned in the previous point, the sales plan is part of the marketing plan, but for these to work in a cohesive and coherent way, they must share objectives and the procedures for how to achieve them.
The problem is that in most companies this is not the case. They have separate plans and for this reason, they do not quite achieve their objectives or, at least, they find it more difficult to achieve them.
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2.1. Marketing and sales plan
The phases of the sales plan that were really related to the marketing team were the first, prospecting and, last, the maturation of the Pipeline.
Prospecting is the foundation of the alignment of both departments. At this point, it is the sales team who is in charge of contacting potential customers and it is marketing who should be in charge of facilitating those contacts or, at least, facilitating the process of reaching those contacts.
-One of these facilities would be to have a very defined profile about the potential client, about where they are and how we could contact them.
-If we are applying an Inbound Marketing strategy in our company, it is marketing who must be in charge of the strategies and content to attract these contacts to our company. It will be then, when sales are in charge of contacting them.
The main thing in this phase is the creation of a sales pipeline but that is agreed with marketing.
A Pipeline or Control Panel is usually made up of 8 stages. It is in the third where an appointment is usually made with that potential client or MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead); So, until that stage, the marketing team must be in charge of evaluating those leads. That is, you must know how to identify if these leads are really MQL and can become SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) so as not to waste the sales team’s time unnecessarily.
From the fourth to the sixth stage is the commercial where you make the arguments of confidence to the and SQL, to try to sell your products or services. So here, marketing is the one in charge of having those arguments prepared and that they are found within the web page also in the form of content.
The last two stages or parts are the decisive ones. They are the leads that convert or do not convert into customers. Marketing must be prepared for both cases:
-If they become WIN, marketing may have a cross selling or upselling strategy planned for sales to act.
-In case they become LOST, you must propose a strategy to be able to attack this lead again within 6 months or 1 year.
We have a strategy that fits and helps align the sales and marketing departments , among other things: ABM -or Account Based Marketing-.
Knowing that this strategy achieves that alignment, it is reason enough to want to implement it, right? It is normal that you may have some doubts about how it does it, so let’s explain it to you:
The marketing team has to have a clear objective: to think like a commercial and to put themselves in their shoes. In this way, you get a broader and different view to obtain the expected results. And what are these? Observe the account carefully, so you can attract potential customers, convince them and create a sales opportunity, ending in a business closure.
3. Benefits it brings
We could never tire of saying how important it is to align the sales and marketing department and, of course, the benefits that come with it.
- Greater understanding and knowledge of your buyers personas
One of the most important things within an organization is the customers. We create buyer personas to categorize them and have more knowledge about them. If marketing and sales aim to meet all the needs of your potential customers, they will obtain more information about them and the strategies that are proposed, may be more successful.
According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, organizations that have a strong alignment between the marketing and sales departments, achieve an annual revenue increase of 20%. It is clear that if both departments have the same rhythm and have the same objectives with a certain term, it is easier to do and achieve it.
- A more pleasant work environment
One of the keys to aligning these two departments is having the same language to share information. This helps to have greater and better communication, that your teams are more motivated, that there is greater coordination and that your teams have a large volume of information at their service.
Every argument is better seen and understood with an example, right? We will see you tell a little about two success stories of Connext that, within their strategies, were implemented and worked on the alignment of the marketing and sales departments.
In the case of the Sales Layer Company, it was aiming to double its organic traffic in six months, but it had to generate enough leads from the first month for its sales team to deliver results.
And here came the alignment: they had to be in line with the marketing and sales departments in order to achieve their goal.
You had to generate quality traffic and this is supported by Paid campaigns, but the hard work behind this was on the part of the marketing team. It was they who had to make sure that the campaigns were as efficient as possible and that each click had the best possible results.
But a company cannot stick to Paid campaigns, for an effective short-term project, but as a long-term strategy it does not work. An inbound strategy was implemented to be carried out by both departments. Marketing and sales had to meet to discover what the concerns of their potential customers were and thus, be able to do a study on their buyer personas and later, make a content marketing strategy based on their needs and pain points.
If you want to know more about how they managed to triple their organic traffic and double their web conversion in 6 months, download their success story:
The results that Artesanía Cerdá achieved thanks to Connext’s strategies are worth telling.
The company was in a situation where the only way to grow was by diversifying, establishing itself in other European countries such as Portugal, the United Kingdom, Italy, France … and it succeeded, so much so that it is currently the manufacturer, distributor and wholesaler of Disney in Spain.
The results they achieved were:
-Increase in more than 100% of the traffic
-300% more leads
-Improved the conversion rate from lead to MQL by 43%
-Increase of 1,950% in year-on-year billing through Inbound clients
And all this thanks to an Inbound Marketing strategy that, as you may already know, one of its main parts is the alignment of the marketing and sales department for a greater capture of leads and new customers.