One of the greatest hurdles in organizations is team alignment. It can be difficult to coordinate and organize efforts when two teams – Sales and Marketing – aren’t on the same page. Which begs the question: how do we achieve better Marketing and Sales alignment?

Bridge Building Between Marketing and Sales

Team alignment can be a lot like a friendship. Really good team alignment is like a best friendship; you have each other’s back and you work together to achieve your objectives. But getting to “BFF” status can take some work.
Building a bridge between Marketing and Sales may not require you create a magical realm like Terabithia, but it does require you start with a few small tasks:

Set Common Goals

Start by making sure your teams are on the same page. Much like having your weekly chat with a best friend to catch up, teams need to communicate with each other. When both are aware of what the end goal is, it’s easier to organize and work together to achieve it.

Give Respect, Gain Respect

When you don’t understand your best friend’s strengths, it can be hard to have a good relationship. Likewise, Marketing and Sales teams need to get to know and understand each other’s past work and successes.

Fight a Shared Ailment, Not Each Other

Most teams and friendships face pitfalls when they start questioning each other. Being suspicious of your best friend’s intentions can be as detrimental to a friendship as being suspicious of your Marketing or Sales team’s skills and commitment. Fights ensue: how good leads are, whose work was lacking, who makes the best pasta… and undermining each other is never the way to settle the argument.

Rather, focus on what you can do together! Criticism is welcome when it helps your teams and your friends improve and grow, but it needs to be supported by a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get that campaign running – or unloading that moving van. You know, whichever works.

Strength in Diversity

It’s easy to make friends with people who think alike, but truly great friendships are born when different people band together. Like “The Breakfast Club” would have us know, it can be hard to look past the initial appearances, but once you realize the unique “talents” your teams or friends have, you can start opening channels for better alignment.

The Princess and the Athlete

So, what’s so special about your Marketing team? They’re the cool kids, always making a splash with fun new ideas that garner an audience. Communication is their bread and butter, and they know all about touching hearts en masse with a shrewd understanding of buyer personas, buyer groups, and tailored messaging. But like the cool kids they are, they can intimidate your run-of-the-mill prospect if they’re too direct.

What’s the marketing team great at? Capturing the attention of the buyers. Marketers know just how to work their channels of communications and content to touch their audience, and make them feel a little cooler, a little smarter, and a little readier to talk sales.

The Brain and the Rebel

Sales people? Totally different. They’re great one-on-one; they’ll bring out the spreadsheets and the big guns and will have your prospects rooting for them in the end. Their influence spans to one buyer at a time, guiding them along at the final decision-making stages. Whereas marketers are great at the persuasion of many, salespeople excel in persuading individuals. They’re the lead’s “ride or die” best friend, ready to serve the lead’s specific interests and willing to get things done.

They’re the guys the lead wants in their corner when the time is right; they shine when they’re in the right place at the right time. They’re equipped with the perfect smarts and guts to close the deal, but only when they have perfect timing.

Opposites Can Attract

The magic happens when you manage to acknowledge these differences and use them to your advantage. But to close the gap between Marketing and Sales means understanding the buyer, not just the product. When Sales collaborates with Marketing to build buyer personas based on real data from interviews with real buyers, the clarity that’s gained for both teams is game-changing.

In turn, Marketing can build better programs aimed at preparing the leads and helping them develop to full maturity so that by the time they reach Sales, they’re more than ready to do business. And Sales can contact leads at the right time to close deals.