Some of the most successful – and fun – client relationships we have at Edge Marketing are the ones in which we, the marketing experts, work directly with the sales lead at our clients’ companies. As marketers, it is our job to know the industry better than anyone else and, when we work directly with sales, we can give them exactly what they need to engage their target audience.

Aligning the goals of the sales and marketing departments sounds simple and obvious, and yet many companies just do not do it. Often, the reason is either structural or traditional: these are – or have always been – two separate functions, and the CEO has never held either accountable for being synced.

You might be saying to yourself, “Why bother?” From our experience, when sales and marketing are aligned, salespeople have better leads to work with, and marketing is able to prove return on investment. Still not convinced? According to the TAS Group, companies whose sales and marketing department goals line up have 36 percent higher customer retention rates and 38 percent higher sales win rates.

A new year is coming and if your sales and marketing functions are not yet working in tandem, now is the best time to start. Here are a few ideas to help your organization move forward:

  1. Start at the top. The executive team or CEO of your organization should set the goal and work with sales and marketing to create realistic, achievable objectives. And don’t just do this once at the beginning of the year to kick off the new initiative. Leaders should regularly monitor progress and make sure teams are working together towards targets.
  2. Meet regularly. It is important for sales and marketing teams to get together regularly to exchange information. This is the time to discuss developments in the marketplace, listen to challenges and opportunities and define solutions to problems. It is also the time to work to refine ideal customer personas and create content to help drive them through the marketing and sales funnels.
  3. Invest in good technology. A marketing automation system that integrates with your CRM will not only keep your sales and marketing teams organized and productive, it will also be able to give you vital information such as conversion points from marketing-qualified lead to sales-qualified lead, velocity of conversion from visitor all the way to closed sale, return on marketing investment and much more.
  4. Define (or redefine) a lead. With good technology, you will be able to pinpoint when a lead converts from marketing qualified to sales qualified. This knowledge enables sales teams to be more efficient with their efforts, because they are contacting a lead when that person has indicated readiness to make a purchase. The process of redefining what a lead is may reduce the quantity of leads within your organization but will increase their quality.

All companies need marketing expertise to generate, nurture and score leads, just as much as they need successful sales teams to foster customer rapport and close deals. When activities between sales and marketing are aligned, companies will generate more revenue, and everybody has more fun.