It’s a tale older than time. Sales says that marketing doesn’t bring them good leads, and marketing says sales doesn’t follow up on the leads they get from marketing. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When these two teams come together, they are more successful individually and entire organizations benefit. According to MarketingProfs, organizations with tightly-aligned sales and marketing had 36 percent higher customer retention rates and achieved 38% higher sales win rates.

So how can you achieve sales and marketing alignment in your organization? Here are six tips:

1. Get leadership buy in. As with many important initiatives, the first step in bringing sales and marketing together is getting buy in from the C-suite. This executive level buy in puts weight and importance behind an initiative, which can help persuade others to get on board. Naturally, sales and marketing leadership need to buy in as well, as they will be on the frontlines of the initiative and make or break the alignment efforts.

2. Recognize that sales and marketing have changed. Sales and marketing teams need to develop a shared understanding that the role of these two departments has changed dramatically in recent years. Access to information has changed the way that consumers interact with businesses, which has in turn changed the way that organizations market and sell to their prospects and customers. According to Forrester, today’s buyers are anywhere from two-thirds to 90 percent of the way through the buying process before they reach out to a vendor. Recognizing this shift will help both sales and marketing teams rethink their traditional roles and division of responsibilities within the buying cycle.

3. Agree on definitions. As we said in the intro of this post, leads can be a big source of contention between sales and marketing. That’s often because the two teams disagree on what constitutes a hot lead. To end that debate, sit down and discuss what defines a sales-ready lead for your organization. If you’re using ClickDimensions, our lead scoring feature can help. You could, for example, decide that a lead will stay with marketing until they reach a certain score. Also, be sure to define what the lead nurturing process will be as well as how leads will be passed off from marketing to sales.

4. Meet regularly. When your sales and marketing teams first embark on better aligning efforts, it’s common to have more meetings as you establish processes, protocols and definitions. Make sure meetings don’t fall by the way side as you get things rolling. Communication is key. While the entire teams don’t need to meet that frequently, having a marketing presence at a sales meeting (and vice versa) can help keep everyone on the same page and identify areas that need attention.

5. Collaborate on content. While a salesperson may not have any interest in writing a 30-page eBook, he or she may have some thoughts on what the topic should be for that piece and others. They can also provide insight into which pieces of content are currently resonating with leads, and more importantly, which ones attract the best leads. Sales reps talk with prospects daily, which means they often have a very good idea about prospect pain points and areas of interest – insights that can help create great content that helps both teams succeed.

6. Utilize technology. Technology can help with a great number of business initiatives today, including sales and marketing alignment. And we touched on this briefly in this article when talking about lead scoring above. Utilizing Microsoft Dynamics 365/CRM with the ClickDimensions marketing automation solution is a great way to align your sales and marketing teams. Combining these two powerful technologies gives each team insight into the same data and access to the same tools, allowing for more effective sales and marketing activities.

Want to learn more about how a marketing automation system can benefit marketing, sales and a number of other teams within an organization? Download our free eBook, The Marketing Automation Field Guide: Getting Started with Marketing Automation for Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Happy Marketing!