The Maven has always advocated for tight alignment between sales and marketing teams. Whether the teams work under the same command or for different leaders, alignment between sales and marketing offers advantages, including increased efficiency, better prospect targeting, more qualified leads for sales, and ultimately increased revenues.

Key tactics for sales and marketing alignment include:

  • Working toward shared goals
  • Clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and accountability for each team
  • Collaboration on lead scoring/ranking, especially the definition of a sales-ready lead versus a marketing lead and when to hand off a lead to sales
  • Collaboration on creating buyer personas and identifying target markets and customers
  • Sales input and buy-in on marketing campaigns and marketing content
  • Regular meetings between the two groups to share insights and updates
  • Marketing on sales calls; sales contributing to marketing messaging

Even in an ideal world, sales and marketing alignment requires a lot of dedication and effort. But the era of COVID-19 has made this effort that much more daunting. Many sales and marketing teams that are accustomed to in-person meetings and activities are now working remotely.

To maintain alignment, sales and marketing must adapt to changing conditions. Some organizations already have remote workers and the transition might not be as bumpy. According to the job search site FlexJobs, the number of people working remotely has increased 159 percent between 2005 and 20017.

Whether you already have remote workers or are just discovering the meaning of virtual, here are some tips on how to keep a tight bond between your sales and marketing teams:

Establish policies about using collaboration tools

Teams working remotely are relying more on collaboration tools such as Slack, Zoom, Trello, Google Drive, and others. In the past, you may have used them as needed or ad hoc. Now it’s time to document and formalize their uses.

Determine what tools you will use and how you will use them under specific situations. For example, you might create a Slack channel devoted to discussing new leads or campaign status. Or standardize on Trello for shared projects.

You also can document policies about communication time frames. For example, emails should be answered within X time frame, while queries on a Slack channel should be addressed within Y timeframe. Other policies might be to ask team members to always use video for online meetings.

Keep processes that work

Maybe you once had bi-weekly meetings between sales and marketing to discuss leads, or monthly “lunch and learns” to share new campaigns or new content. If these types of collaboration have been successful, keep them.

Companies can use tools like Zoom for group or one-on-one meetings. Or you can still host your “lunch and learns” virtually. Consider giving your team certificates to purchase a lunch of their choice to eat at their desk while they participate in a presentation.

Track and communicate changing market trends

Just about every market is experiencing upheaval for the better or worse. You might find that certain geographies or vertical markets are suddenly performing better/worse or a certain customer persona is more active. Your sales team will likely be the first to find out.

Have someone be responsible for tracking and communicating changing market trends and make decisions as needed. For example, you may need to redirect campaigns to focus on specific products that are in demand, or revise your lead scoring system because you have many more prospects signing up for webinars.

Create a buddy system

No, this isn’t elementary school or swim camp. But working remotely can feel lonely and isolating, especially for extroverted types who thrive on gatherings of people.

A buddy system that pairs a marketing person with a salesperson for daily check-ins can reduce feelings of isolation and also foster stronger communication ties between sales and marketing.

Make the most of an altered situation

There’s no question this is a stressful time for all workers. Previous work routines and processes have instantly vanished. Employees are getting up to speed on remote working. Why not use virtual communication and collaboration tools to ease some of the pressure?

Many teams are hosting virtual happy hours, talent shows, readings, lunches, and more. Bake in some virtual levity and leisure for your sales and marketing teams and that alone will help improve relations and collaboration.

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