Sales and marketing have had a historic rivalry since day one. Both teams clash over budget, cultural differences and misaligned expectations and roles, despite being on the same 'team' and driving towards a shared goal of growth.
To achieve a truly aligned or even integrated commercial team, it takes a disciplined approach from management to build that relationship. During this post I'm going to run through the ways that anyone can help align both departments and end this unnecessary rivalry, with a revolutionary communication and collaboration tool, Workplace by Facebook.
Communication is key
To rebuild any kind of relationship, communication and transparency is key, especially now that we're in an age where remote working is becoming the norm. So with more people away from the office, you can no longer rely on catching someone one afternoon to run through things, you must be proactive.
Workplace Chat is a great way to keep the conversation moving. It's standalone instant messaging app that can be installed on your mobile or desktop device, and as soon as your team adopts it, you will never look at email for internal comms again.
Email for internal comms is dying, fast.
Now, I'm not slating email because it's no longer hot new tech, because it still serves a purpose in a lot of areas. However, in terms of internal comms, Chat is just so much easier!
Everyone here at Generation Digital works remotely, and since joining the team I have been exposed to a lot of cool tools, but Chat has to be the most convenient to date. I feel more connected here than I did working in an office, and that's probably down to the incredibly fast response time of instant messaging compared to email.
Follow the right people
You can choose who you follow on Workplace by adjusting profile settings, leaving you with a customised newsfeed of information that is relevant to you. This gives each department better visibility into what everyone's doing.
If you're unsure of a colleague's role or responsibilities in connection with your request, you can check out their profile to understand their role in the team.
If you're in a large organisation with a heavily populated hierarchy within each department, you can look at the Workplace Org Chart to find out where a particular person sits within the company or department.
If marketing were to conduct a poll, asking sales to identify the top challenges and pain points customers face before buying your product/service, they would have first-hand experience in dealing with those challenges and that sort of shared intelligence would be extremely valuable in planning content.
The same goes for sales, you could get feedback on things like presentations, so that they comply with corporate branding and messaging.
It's not all hard work. Show your appreciation by congratulating your colleagues on a win, regardless of how significant the win is!
This comes up again below when I give you the secret sauce in sales and marketing alignment, with Workplace groups.
Before we move on to groups, there's a cool little feature called Events which allows you to create and schedule an upcoming event (similar to Facebook events). This is a great way to collaborate on trade shows, which is often worked on by both sales and marketing.
Creating an event not only provides calendar visibility, but you can also collaborate and discuss its progress from within the event.
Use Workplace groups
I've saved the best for last, this is far by my most powerful tip. Groups is the engine which drives collaboration in Workplace, and here are a few creative ways to use groups to improve sales and marketing alignment:
- Create a group based on goals. Sales and marketing can discuss and agree goals within a dedicated group to ensure there is no misalignment when it comes to looking at the bigger picture.
- Sales can create a business development bulletin with weekly updates on business won, closed, retained or even lost. A great way to boost engagement and communicate this would be through a live stream video.
- Process - something that people love and hate, but most of us are unclear about. Providing a group that's dedicated to your sales process and/or lead handover process will not only get everyone up to speed and reduce frustration (and therefore conflict), but it also provides both departments with an environment to discuss process and improve the way things are done. This would improve relationships internally AND make your business self-efficient.
- Build a group which hosts all existing and new marketing content and collateral, creating a centralised place to find customer-facing resources. Every time the marketing team publish content, whether it's a blog post, content offer etc. they can post it in the group for everyone to access and also share via personal channels. This group can also be used for sharing content ideas and requesting marketing materials.
- Systems - I'm not talking about IT support, but rather a group built around a shared system that both teams use, like your CRM. We have an open group for our CRM and marketing automation platform so that everyone using it can report errors, discuss product updates and share ideas.
- Market insights - share market knowledge to improve sales tactics and marketing strategy.
- Relevant industry topics - create temporary groups based on legislation topics that are of interest to both teams. A good example is GDPR.
- Keep an eye on competitors by creating a group with shared intelligence. Information can come from sales or marketing and would be valuable to everyone. Plus, this helps to focus on the real enemy, shifting the energy spent on internal conflict to beating your competition.
- Staying with the theme of knowledge and insight. It would be incredibly effective to create a targets group that's on your buyer personas, target audience and lead qualification criteria. Just like the idea around processes, this will keep sales and marketing aligned on WHO you're targeting and creates an open environment to discuss and refine these definitions.
- The obvious one - projects. Create groups for projects that involve both departments to work together, collaboratively.
- The not so obvious one - social. Keep things social and create a group dedicated to organising days out or an evening down the pub.
In conclusion, we've seen Workplace customers drastically improve the relationship between marketing and sales, and also internal comms and collaboration throughout the whole business.
If you're not familiar with Workplace by Facebook, check out our recorded webinar on the 6 Disruptive Reasons why Workplace by Facebook is the next Big Thing.