Engine misfires reduce gas mileage and performance, and can cause damage to other engine parts, such as oxygen sensors or the catalytic converter. Similar poor outcomes occur when your sales and marketing teams are not in alignment, leading to wasted resources, under performance, and unnecessary problems.

That’s why sales and marketing alignment is so critical in the industrial sector.

Alignment ensures that sales and marketing are communicating clearly and working toward shared goals in an efficient and effective manner. Here are 10 ways to get and keep your sales and marketing operations in alignment.

1. Develop shared accountability

This first suggestion starts at the top, with the leaders of sales and marketing (if it’s only one person, this part should be easy). Leadership must agree on what goals you will work on together to achieve, how you will measure results, and where the path of accountability leads. There’s nothing like both teams having skin in the game to improve performance.

2. Use the same language

Work together to define terms that you will use jointly, such as what constitutes a “sales-ready lead” or a “marketing lead” or a “prospect.” You will likely use specific scoring criteria to help determine the definitions.

Among others, some terms that are useful to define include program, campaign, branding, ROI, and account. In addition, define titles, roles and responsibilities of team members so everyone knows who is responsible for each activity.

3. Begin at the onboarding stage

New hires—whether in sales or marketing—should be introduced to how the teams align during their onboarding processes. Some cross-training between the two departments can help establish communication channels and shared goals from the beginning.

4. Give cross-functional teams deliverables

Lots of companies create cross-functional sales and marketing teams, but the most effective teams have deliverables, whether that be creating training or customer presentations, developing lead-scoring criteria, or fielding tradeshow teams.

5. Collaborate on customer personas

Creating customer personas, which are detailed fictional representations of your different types of customers, should be a collaborative effort between sales and marketing. Sales is closest to the customer; marketing has a target in mind. Bring the two points of view together.

6. Keep sales enablement resources together

Use a single shared platform to manage, audit, and update marketing and sales content. Make sure both teams have access to the latest content at all times: articles, presentations, data sheets, white papers, videos, shared documents, links to web pages and social posts. All of it.

7. Have marketing team members join sales calls

One of the best things a marketing person can do is get on the phone (or go to a meeting) when a salesperson is speaking with a customer or prospect. You can learn how customers talk about their challenges and objections. You can learn how account executives position your company’s solutions in different scenarios. This will improve your content creation and marketing messaging.

8. Allow the sales team to offer campaign input

During the campaign development stage, meet with salespeople to introduce a proposed campaign: the audience, offer, timing, and goals. This exercise can result in useful feedback and ideas from your sales team that will help you shape a better campaign that the sales team fully supports.

9. Share a communication channel

Whether it’s an email group, intranet site, or online collaboration tool, choose a communication channel where marketing and sales can share updates with each other, ask questions, get support, and more.

10. Do things together

The more time sales and marketing spends together, the closer the teams will be and the more they will be able to empathize with each other. Lunch n’ Learns, team building, and other shared activities help build a sense of cohesion and allow team members to cultivate strong relationships with each other.

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