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Collaboration Huddles and 35 Other Ways to Improve Sales and Marketing Teamwork

Huddlehands_3I just got back from speaking at the New Marketing Summit and it was great. But it seems that I can’t attend a marketing conference with out hearing marketers swap complaints about their sales teams.

I don’t know about you but I’m fed up with the same old story.  Companies continue to waste millions of dollars because of poor teamwork and collaboration between marketing and sales.

Even the very best lead generation program cannot compensate for poor teamwork and collaboration, but unfortunately we continue hear about it time and again.

Sales and marketing often believe they are working together but collaboration takes more than annual or even quarterly planning meetings. Teamwork is something that must exist in a very real way each day.

I’ve found the most powerful way to foster teamwork and collaboration is to do more frequent and effective meetings. At InTouch we call them “huddles." We have short huddles daily and weekly between the marketing and sales team. 

In our huddles we do three things: Talk. Understand. Execute. (Repeat again) Talk. Understand. Execute. (Repeat again) Talk. Understand. Execute. Okay got it? (Repeat again).

In addition to huddles, there are other ways that sales and marketing can and should collaborate together.  This is just one list of 35 possibilities that we’ve tackled in our huddles and I hope you’ll add your own too.

During huddles, you can brainstorm, go over marketing and sales programs, and accomplish or think about any or all of the things on the list below:

  1. Get feedback from the sales team – look at the conversion process and have regular face-to-face meetings or conference calls. Where is your sales team getting stuck?
  2. Seek to understand if the sales team is at capacity.  Don’t generate more leads if they are focused on closing deals. Support them with nurturing.
  3. Encourage sales people to follow-up on leads and hold them accountable, while still treating them like customers…ask them what they need. 
  4. Develop a strategic lead generation and growth plan between sales and marketing.
  5. Marketing and sales can work together on standardizing and documenting their lead generation and sales process so that what is happening can be easily tracked and measured.
  6. Develop a marketing program that helps the sales team sell at a personal level.
  7. Train your sales people on how to optimize your lead generation investment and give your feedback. 
  8. Centralize the lead qualification process.
  9. Use your huddles to introduce new sales people to the marketing team. 
  10. Share lead generation best practices amongst the sales team.
  11. Assign revenue goals to your joint sales and marketing plan.
  12. Be flexible in your planning, so that you can adapt to changing requirements.
  13. Lead generation must be promoted from the top down and bottom up.
  14. Develop a culture that values leads by creating a universal lead definition.
  15. Get the marketing team out in the field with the sales team regularly.
  16. Arrange your compensation so there’s a shared accountability around lead generation.
  17. Remember what Steven Covey say’s, “seek first to understand.  Then be understood.”
  18. Close-the-loop on each sales lead being generated.
  19. See that marketing takes over as many of the non-selling tasks as possible.
  20. Integrate sales and marketing activity by using the same database or CRM system. 
  21. Define and map out the responsibilities shared by both sales and marketing.
  22. Share details about upcoming, events, articles, and press coverage.
  23. Go over the upcoming lead generation program strategy and what the outcomes of that strategy are expected to be.
  24. Mutually share new insights gained from customer feedback.
  25. Share effectiveness measurements from recent lead generation activities.
  26. Jointly develop message map and value proposition for you lead generation program.
  27. Ask, what have you learned from the leads? Are there changes in hot topics for your target audience?
  28. Discuss common concerns raised by potential customers and how the sales team is addressing them and develop solutions together.
  29. Do your lead generation messaging align with your target audiences needs?
  30. Analyze competitive information, and develop a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)
  31. Improve relevance of sales tools and marketing materials with sales input.
  32. Map out your customer’s decision and buying process and then map out your value proposition for each role involved in the buying process.
  33. Determine an answer to the question: What is the life cycle of a lead?
  34. Strategic accounts: Can you develop content and lead generation events with your existing customers as references (ambassadors) to your audience? 
  35. Define your expertise: how can you demonstrate your ability to solve business problems and share new ideas?

I’m wondering what you do in your company to foster better sales and marketing collaboration? Please share your thoughts and comments. Who knows? Your comments could be included in my next book.

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