Not enough leads come in. The leads that do come in want $2/plate catering. Leads go days without a follow-up.
As catering insiders, we’ve seen these pitfalls of the marketing vs. sales attitude many times.
So, do your sales and marketing teams work closely together? Or are they still living in the world of “We would sell more if marketing brought us more leads!” and “We’re bringing them leads; it’s not our fault sales can’t close!”
Here, we discuss why and how to align sales and marketing.
The Case for Alignment
Hubspot reports that companies with tightly aligned marketing and sales departments saw 20% revenue growth each year compared to a 4% decline in companies with poorly aligned marketing and sales teams.
Alignment also shortens the sales cycle and reduces market entry and total sales costs. Who doesn’t want to achieve all three of those feats?
And finally, buyers have more control than ever.
Because buyers now perform their own research online—where reviews, social content, sharing and searching rule the roost.
This means sales teams have less control over their own sales process. Marketing, likewise, has shifted to digital, where buyers choose when and how they engage. Combining efforts between sales and marketing teams doubles the amount of information you have to combat this loss of control.
Here’s how it’s done.
5 Tips to Align Sales and Marketing
We have worked with various sales departments for a long time now and have seen a lot of success by following some common practices.
1) Create Shared Goals
Set goals that encourage positive teamwork among departments.
In fact, your entire company can be aligned around the same end goal.
For example, set a goal to increase the closing ratio on leads by a certain amount. Sales will then need to uncover lead sources with the best closing ratios to pass on to marketing to target.
2) Ask Questions
Ask questions to both departments that lead to collective answers.
When both parties have had their say, it fosters team spirit and—as a bonus—you get better solutions.
3) Rotate Team Members
Have your sales staff spend some time with marketing and vice versa. Rotating teams can be particularly effective for new hires who have yet to gain a sense for how your business operates.
Your employees will learn each other’s challenges, goals and day-to-day struggles, which can spark some really effective ideas that satisfy both teams and better help your entire company succeed.
4) Integrate Meetings
This isn’t meant to spy on, butt in or buzz-kill ideas.
Rather, it’s meant to ensure multiple perspectives on agenda items that could prove beneficial for either party.
One team might think of a particular solution that is very difficult to execute without having someone from the other team offer his/her perspective. Instead of going back and forth between teams (which takes a lot of time), you can have discussions in real time and come to a conclusion much quicker.
5) Build Respect
It’s probably fair to say that each team believes the company couldn’t achieve its overall goals without the other.
But how much do the teams truly respect one another?
The more each respects the other’s roles and responsibilities, the better the relationship will be.
Consider holding regular meetings between representatives from each team so that you can direct some consistent communication, which often lays the foundation for building mutual respect.
Examples From Top Caterers
As you can see, the old-school marketing vs. sales philosophy—where marketing brings in the leads then hands them off to sales to do their thing—is over.
Back in the day, marketing’s responsibilities included defining the marketplace, seeking out potential customers, penetrating that area and directing them to take action. Sales was then responsible for initiating dialogs, advancing relationships and eventually closing deals.
But today, the most successful companies have sales and marketing forces that work extremely close together.
Tasty Catering Targets “Alternative” Holidays
Tasty Catering holiday sales were already booked solid, but the sales team wanted to continue to help their customers with options for holiday events.
The sales team needed to do some work to talk people into booking an “alternative” holiday party instead of the typical holiday party dates in December.
Enter their marketing team with assistance!
Among others, we put together this post to help spread the good word that alternative holiday parties are on the rise!
Purple Onion Catering Co. Automates Integration
Purple Onion Catering’s sales team was spending a lot of time entering in website leads from their website’s contact form into their own CRM management tool.
This was holding up their team, so we, their marketing branch, spent a significant amount of time with their team and with Total Party Planner (TPP) to integrate that contact form into TPP.
Now, it takes only moments to achieve something that was important to both teams because it had a large impact on the company’s overall goal of increasing website leads and sales.
J. Scott Catering Shows Results
The J. Scott Catering sales team wanted to show off the collaborative process their event team takes when creating wedding menus.
However, because their menus were custom, there was no place to host sample menus online.
To help them achieve their goal, we created this case study to house their custom-built menus (and to showcase an awesome wedding at the same time).