Colleagues meet and have a collaborative discussion in an office conference room.
Marketing and sales share the common goal of bringing in new customers. Your team can combine the efforts to generate growth of your business. — Getty Images/PixelsEffect

Conventionally, sales and marketing are seen as separate activities. Marketing aims to generate awareness of a company and its products and services. Sales aims to turn that awareness into a purchase.

[Read more: What Is the Difference Between Sales and Marketing And Why You Need to Know]

Essentially, marketing and sales share a common goal: to bring in new customers. As a result, there’s some grey area where marketing and sales overlap — creating an opportunity for small businesses to establish a hybrid sales/marketing team, which can be a cost and resource-effective option.

If this proposition sounds like the best fit for your company, here are some areas in which sales and marketing can coordinate or combine to generate growth.

Create overlapping goals and metrics

Marketing and sales teams are often scored on different metrics, which can make it difficult to find alignment.

“When each member of the sales team is focused solely on achieving a personal sales quota while marketing team members are A/B testing an email, silos are inevitable,” James Burn, a consultant at BrandActive told Forbes. “Members of both teams need to understand the connection between building brand awareness, generating warm leads and closing business opportunities.”

Unite both functions around a common business goal, such as customer retention or new customer acquisition. Track the same key performance metrics, too: Conversion rate and lead value are indicators both teams can measure to create impact.

Members of both teams need to understand the connection between building brand awareness, generating warm leads and closing business opportunities.

James Burn, BrandActive consultant

Collaborate on audience segmentation

Sales and marketing can both benefit from the development of two tools: customer personas and the sales funnel (or customer journey, for marketers).

Customer personas, also known as buyer personas, describe in detail who sales is selling to and who marketing is marketing to. The buyer persona embodies the best customer for your business. What does this person care about? What media do they consume? What obstacles prevent them from completing a purchase?

The second tool builds on the customer persona. A buyer journey outlines the steps someone will go through before they buy from your business. This includes becoming aware of the brand through a marketing campaign, exploring the website and speaking to a sales agent before completing the check-out process.

[Read more: Developing an Inexpensive Marketing Strategy for Your Startup]

Understanding the buyer persona and their sales journey helps marketing and sales collaborate on their next steps and integrate activities for the biggest impact. It can also help share resources as your target customer moves through the purchase process.

Use a CRM tool

Customer relationship management (CRM) software helps marketing and sales employees collaborate to manage leads and the sales funnel. It creates a central record for every interaction a customer has with your brand — whether the interaction is through social media, email, the phone with a sales rep, or an in-person meeting. As long as your team is diligent about keeping records up to date, a CRM tool can add transparency to the buyer journey.

A CRM can also help reduce the burden of performing two activities (sales and marketing) simultaneously — this is great for a smaller team. Chipotle, for instance, uses its CRM to send automated email messages to customers, reminding them that they can ask for “a little less rice,” or “a little more salsa.” This keeps the brand top of mind and replicates the same ordering experience as someone visiting a Chipotle location.

[Read more: ​​6 Free or Low-Cost CRM Options for Small Business]

Create and share offers

“Marketers are constantly promoting new offers and content, so it's important to keep the sales team up to date with these promotions so they know what recent offers their leads are receiving,” wrote HubSpot.

Make sure you’re creating a cohesive brand experience by aligning your sales and marketing offers. If there’s an active marketing promotion, sales can take advantage of the campaign to sign or re-sign clients. Likewise, the marketing team can reward dedicated customers for sales referrals — one of the best ways to source new customers. Coordinating your promotions and loyalty offers keeps everyone on the same page and your customers satisfied.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published March 31, 2022