Brian: When alignment happens in your organization from marketing, sales, and service, statistics show that 38% have a higher sales rate and win rate in their organization. So in short, when you align marketing, sales and service, everyone wins.
Austin: Welcome to the Growth Made Simple podcast, where we believe friction in your organization slows your growth, but simplicity will build momentum. This podcast is designed to educate you, challenge you, and inspire you – all in under 20 minutes. That's five minutes shorter than the average commute to work. So, you'll still have plenty of time to belt out a song or two before you put the car in park.
Brian: Welcome back to the Growth Made Simple Podcast, where we believe friction in your organization slows your growth, but simplicity builds momentum. The Growth Made Simple podcast is for entrepreneurs, business owners, and marketing managers alike. If you are passionate about helping your organization grow, then we welcome you to join us on this journey. So Mary, this is episode number two. What was the one takeaway that we had from our first episode?
Mary: Yeah. So in the first episode we talked about buyer personas and their importance, and I would say the main takeaway is that everybody should be using them in their business. It's not just for sales; buyer personas are an important thing for every aspect, whether that's marketing, sales, web design–everything.
Brian: Well, awesome, great! Go ahead and listen to episode one if you want to learn more about how buyer personas can help you and your business grow. Today on the podcast we're going to talk about how marketing and sales have changed through the years. So Mary, as an English and creative [writing] major, how on earth did you end up on a podcast about growth, especially as it relates to marketing and sales?
Mary: Yes, so I think when you hear English major, you don't necessarily think about someone going into marketing or sales. But I think that marketing and sales have changed so much over the years from where it started out being for a certain type of person. You think of "sales" as a very outgoing person, someone who can really push you into buying something, and you think of "marketing" as someone who's also very outgoing, someone who's very knowledgeable about something and can reach out and talk to different people about different things. But I think marketing/sales is more about stories. It's more about understanding people and more about building that connection, and I think that's why, you know, as an English major and creative writing major, I was drawn to it. But from my experience, there's always perceived to be this tension between sales and marketing departments. So Brian, can you tell me a little bit about the history of marketing and sales and how you've seen them change throughout the years?
Brian: Yeah, Mary, there's definitely no secret that sales and marketing have traditionally not gotten along. It's definitely been a classic game of tug of war between marketing and sales. In this scenario, your marketing team is focused on generating leads any way they can because they need to get leads, and your sales team is wasting time booking calls to people who are unqualified. And so the friction typically goes something like this: the sales team feels that the marketing team isn't passing over good leads, and the marketing team feels like the sales team can't close the leads. So in the recent years, businesses have tried to close the gap. This is where the term "smarketing" has come from. It's definitely a cutesy name and has definitely been helpful, but I think it goes much deeper than just trying to understand the gap between marketing and sales and the divide that we're seeing.
It's not just between marketing and sales, but a similar divide actually happens between sales and service. Service is basically those people on your team who are actually delivering what has been sold. So oftentimes the team that actually has to deliver what has been sold is left scratching their heads because they can't actually deliver what the sales team has sold. As I was preparing for the podcast, I read a quote that came from a one-on-one B2B marketing and sales tip, and it says that lost productivity and sales and wasted marketing budgets can cost companies at least $1 trillion a year. I mean, so these divides happen for a couple different reasons.
One: each department tends to have different goals.
Two: the people in those departments, they don't understand their roles. So from a history standpoint of marketing and sales and how it's changed, and looking even into service, I would definitely say that there has been some tension along the way.
Mary: For sure. Definitely a lot of tension, definitely a lot of baggage, and I think a lot of miscommunications as well when it comes to this history of sales and marketing. So what about organizations that are getting it right? Are there any examples that you can tell me about?
Brian: Yeah. You know, I definitely believe that for your business to experience growth, each person, each section, each department in the organization has to stop competing with one another and focus on completing one another. So when we decide to realize that the person that is across the way in our organization or in the cubicle next to us isn't a competitor or our competition, but that we are meant to work like a puzzle, working together at completing one another, we're going to be much better at having an organization. Let me put it a different way. This phrase comes from Hubspot, and they say that they want to "solve for the customer." So what we would say is that for every area, every aspect of your business [it should solve for the customer], and so if we look at marketing, marketing should solve for the customer. The sales department should solve for the customer. The service department should sell for the customer. The customer has to be central. And the reality is all three of these areas impact one another, and so we've got to work together, because that's the reason why we're in business. We are here to help our customers win.
Mary: Yeah, and I think that's great. I think when there's a common goal that everybody recognizes and can agree upon, that's when that tension sort of melts away, because walls come down. Well, awesome. We're going to take a short break and when we come back, we're going to get into the weeds of this and we're going to talk about practically how it looks like when sales and marketing work together.
Mary: Well, welcome back. So we are here today talking about how marketing and sales have changed over the years. We started out talking a little bit about the history, the friction between marketing and sales departments, and how finding that common goal of solving for the customer is what's going to break down that barrier and help your marketing and sales team find alignment. So Brian, this is all great to talk about, but what does that look like from a practical standpoint?
Brian: Yeah. So, we're going to boil this down to three areas and we're going to talk about alignment, communication, and feedback. Let's take a look at alignment. Alignment is based upon the simple and proven premise that your business performs better when marketing, sales and your service teams work together. So you may be asking yourself as a business owner, or maybe you're in one of these departments and you don't see that alignment. How do you create alignment? Well, alignment happens when each team is able to explicitly state what they need to do to help the customer win. And when they together work together for the same goal, the customer wins. So the first step to help your organization grow is to create alignment in your marketing and your sales and your service departments.
Mary: Yeah, that's great. So would you say maybe having this teams come together and find those goals as one rather than, you know, kind of sending out memos or emails.
Brian: You're getting face-to-face. If your teams are remote, try getting onto a video call. You can't really create alignment without getting aligned. Getting next to each other. Coming shoulder-to-shoulder and talking about stuff.
Mary: Absolutely. So that's awesome. So what is the second step?
Mary: We'll say, "awkwardly."
Brian: Awkwardly. Well, how often was the statement at the end of the game the same as it was in the beginning? Oh, never. Yeah. so this leads me to our second point: communication. I truly don't believe that you can over communicate. And one of the simplest ways to create communication between departments is to create an SLA, a service level agreement.
Mary: So can you go a little bit more into service level agreements and what those entail?
Brian: Yeah. In short, an SLA is a document that you can write together and it does one thing. It establishes a set of deliverables that one party has agreed to provide another.
Mary: Sure. So what does that do for your team, for your business?
Brian: In order to create an SLA, you have to first be able to communicate, which is what our first point was actually. Our first point was alignment. My bad! Our second point is to communicate. So we've got to talk to one another. An SLA is going to allow you to define some things like what are good attributes of a good lead, what makes a good customer, and why does it become challenging when we have to service X, Y, or Z customer? When we communicate and when we build this document, we create alignment through communication and this document helps define how we succeed with helping our clients win. So I'm going to say communicate, communicate, communicate.
Mary: Yeah, definitely. I think having that, those qualifications of, you know, what makes a great lead, that's going to create that back and forth. That is going to help not only your team function better, but I think help you reach out to your customers and more effectively. So we've talked about a little bit about alignment and communication. So what's the third part of this?
Brian: Well, I would say the third and final step is going to be feedback. We can't have alignment in their goals and we can't communicate what we need on the front end, without also constantly trying to improve what we're doing. And that's why we would call feedback. Without feedback, we're not going to be able to solve and help the customer win.
Brian: Yeah. I mean, it's definitely a concept of even maybe a four letter word in that feedback is a dirty word to be never mentioned. Because no one likes to be criticized about what they're doing in their job. And just because something might need to be tweaked doesn't mean it's terrible. And so earlier this year, we learned the word in our business, one of our clients actually taught it to us. And the word is "kaizen."
Mary: Kaizen. What is that?
Brian: Yeah, kaizen is a Japanese word and it's the approach to create a continuous improvement based upon the idea that small ongoing positive changes can reap major improvements.
Mary: Wow. That sounds great. So, if people are still a little hesitant, why would it be advantageous to work across the aisle? What would you say to those people? Because I know there's, you know, tensions are hard to get rid off and hard to forget.
Brian: Well, I think statistics can be a great piece of advice in this particular case to helping us get across to allow breaking down the walls and breaking down those barriers. So when alignment happens in your organization from marketing, sales and service. Statistics show that 38% have a higher sales rate and win rate in their organization. They'll also say that 67% better at closing the deals, and this is a key. So 208% more revenue was generated from the marketing efforts when you have every department marketing, sales and service aligned with a common goal.
Mary: Wow. And those are some really surprisingly great stats, actually.
Brian: So, in short, when you align marketing, sales and service, not only does your customer win, everyone wins.
Mary: Okay, Brian, so this has been great. So if there was one point that you wanted to take away one action item that you would give people today to really get their marketing sales and service teams into alignment, what would you say that they should try?
Brian: Yeah, great question. So the one thing I would recommend is get your department heads of marketing, sales, and service in the room. Lock the door and don't let them come out until they figure it out. Well, alright, that may be a bad idea. But seriously, you've got to lead the way and help getting the dialogue started. So offer your leaders, buy them lunch, get them in beginning of conversation and ask yourself one question, how can we as a team solve for the customer?
Mary: Awesome. Well thanks Brian. Join us for our next episode. We're going to be talking about what it means to be data driven with your business. And that's all we've got for today. But until next time, remember, friction in your organization slows your growth, but simplicity builds momentum. Thank you for joining us.