Play Nice: 3 Ways to Get Sales and Marketing to Team Up (Infographic) Why can't sales and marketing just get along? Here are three tips to help them get on the same page.

By Chris Byers

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Are your sales and marketing teams willing to go to bat for one another? For many organizations, the answer is an emphatic "no." While both entities play an important role in moving the business forward, they often fail to see each other's value.

Studies show that sales and marketing misalignment costs business-to-business companies at least 10 percent of revenue per year -- that's a hefty paycheck you could be sacrificing. The good news is that it's possible to get your sales and marketing associates to work together in meaningful and mutually beneficial ways.

Related: Why 'Smarketing,' or Integrated Sales-and-Marketing Strategy, Is the Future for Small Business

Here are three tips to help you start building a championship smarketing team:

1: Cultivate mutual respect.

The first step toward getting your sales and marketing teams to play nice is helping them understand and appreciate each other's roles. Company leaders should provide training and education that details the contributions both sales and marketing make to the company's overall revenue goals.

Sales reps should understand that marketers work hard to tell a compelling brand story that captures visitors and nurtures them into the sales funnel. Marketers should understand that sales reps work hard to turn leads into sales through authentic conversations that address prospects' pain points.

Both camps should recognize that they have a shared goal of supporting and growing the organization -- and that the road to reaching that goal will be much smoother if they develop mutual respect and walk side by side.

Related: Entrepreneurs Need to Focus on Culture, Not Perks

2: Establish clear definitions.

One thing that holds a lot of companies back when it comes to sales and marketing alignment is the lack of consensus when it comes to important business considerations. Only one in two companies say they have an established definition of a qualified lead.

Making sure everyone in your company -- including your sales and marketing teams -- is on the same page should be a priority. Who is your target customer? What does the buyer journey look like? What makes a prospect sales-ready?

Your sales and marketing teams should agree on the answers to these questions. If they disagree, your sales funnel will likely be littered with low-quality contacts or contacts who entered the funnel too early.

3: Adopt a data-centered culture.

Perhaps the best way to align your marketing and sales teams is to get them focused on data. When you look at hard numbers like revenue generated per lead or conversion rates for each stage of the sales funnel, it's easier for teams to agree on future action items.

Plus, companies that put data at the center of marketing and sales decisions improve their marketing return on investment by 15 to 20 percent. Analyzing metrics and data helps everyone see which campaigns are successful and allows marketing to deliver more qualified leads to sales.

Click to Enlarge+
conversion heights (Infographic)

Related: 4 Ways to Construct a 'Data-Innovation' Map for Your Business

Chris Byers

CEO, Formstack

Chris Byers is the CEO of Formstack, an Indianapolis-based company offering an online form and data-collection platform. Prior to Formstack, Byers co-founded an international nonprofit that was built via remote relationships among partners in Europe, Africa and the United States.

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