How Sales and Marketing Can Work Together Better in 2018

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks


It’s the time of year when sales teams wrap up celebrating last year’s wins and start setting goals to exceed last year’s performance. Likewise, marketing teams are heads-down in planning their own strategies for the year. Too often, though, those teams are so focused on their own planning that they forget they’re stronger together.

Sales and marketing are integrally linked to business success, and while there’s been a long-standing dichotomy between them, the beginning of the year is the perfect opportunity to use a clean slate to build a bridge. As you’re working on your 2018 sales kickoff and thinking about how you can meaningfully include marketing in the discussion, consider some of these tactics.

Align Team Leadership

The first step in empowering sales and marketing to collaborate is by setting the tone amongst leadership. As true example-setters, sales and marketing leaders need to first understand each other’s teams and how their team’s activity correlates directly with business goals.

Once that mutual understanding and ongoing communication is in place, these leaders should co-create strategy sessions that set the tone for the year and bring sales and marketing together in a collaborative and regular way. By joining forces, you’re setting the tone and encouraging your team to do the same.

Collaborate to Improve the Customer Journey

Because sales and marketing are so integrated, it’s critical that both teams plan for how they’ll succeed in the work they do together. Specifically, this can be accomplished by charting the customer journey and developing goals around improving that experience holistically.

To complete this exercise with your team, set up a customer journey strategy session with both sales and marketing, then map the buyer experience together. Call attention to how critical both teams are to the revenue-generation process. Show how frequently their efforts overlap and support each others. And encourage each team to set goals to improve their various pieces of the journey.

Share Your Plans and Goals

Yes, sales and marketing should collaborate, but that doesn’t mean they should abandon their own team strategy and planning sessions. Each team has a distinct and unique set of responsibilities, and separately should be thoughtful about their own goal-setting and kickoff.

However, once those individual strategies are completed, you should share them with each other. By doing this, you’ll create opportunities for each team to understand the other’s goals and empower them to support each other through the year.

If you’re having trouble getting buy-ins, remind your team that both sales and marketing orbit around the same sun – the customer. If you’re not in sync, the customer is the one who will suffer the most.

Schedule Regular Regroups

Sales and marketing shouldn’t meet only once a year. Plan a quarterly session where you share your wins, losses, plans and opportunities so you start the year in sync and stay that way. Continue to stay in tune with each other throughout the year to ensure you’re supporting the same business objectives, promoting the same value messages and crafting a cohesive customer experience.

Sales and marketing will run like a well-oiled machine if they’re aware of each other’s goals and are working toward a common vision, but it’s up to team leadership to set the tone and create opportunities for collaboration. Consider how marketing can add value to your sales kickoff – and vise versa – as you’re planning your 2018 sales kickoff.


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