How to Run a Sales and Marketing Meeting
Sales and marketing alignment runs on clear communication — for both departments to realize common goals, they need to stay in touch about what those goals are and how they’re progressing.
Meetings between departments will be different depending on the company, but there are a few fundamentals that should always be present.
A service-level agreement (SLA) is a written agreement between the sales and marketing teams that spells out the roles and responsibilities of each department. Typically, the marketing department will commit to providing a certain number of quality leads while the sales department will commit to following up on those leads. It might also contain the definition of a quality lead, contract preferences, and which channels leads come from.
SLAs change over time — at least they should be based on the data you collect about which leads are most effective. When your management teams build out new definitions for your SLAs, the entire team needs to be notified about the changes and new policies.
Even if your SLAs haven’t changed, these meetings are an excellent opportunity to solicit feedback on the existing agreements and provide updates and context for performance. Your sales team might find that the leads you’re bringing in aren’t ready to close yet, or your marketing team might struggle to produce enough lead volume. If your system isn’t working, you need to be receptive to new suggestions.
Meetings are also a good time to go over performance, but this isn’t a performance review of each individual on each team. Instead, focus on broad trends without getting too granular. Talk about how conversion rates have improved, how the marketing team has increased lead volume, and how customer retention has improved since you adjusted targeting.
Remember to frame the discussion in terms of collaboration. If you want your sales and marketing teams to feel like a cohesive unit, call attention to the ways that their cooperation has led to greater company success.
If you have specific KPIs and metrics by which you’re judging success, this is a good time to mention them. Again, keep it high-level — focusing on marketing-specific metrics like page views or clickthrough won’t mean anything to salespeople who have no frame of reference for those metrics.
The news won’t always be good. If trends are moving in the wrong direction, bring them up and ask if anyone has an idea why that might be. Remember that transparency between teams is crucial to building trust.
Sales and marketing meetings are a good time to discuss content. It’s a surprisingly common problem that marketing and sales are both creating content in a silo and it leads to a very disjointed customer experience, so it’s important to collaborate. Are marketers making promises that sales can’t keep? Do salespeople need collateral with objection messaging? Who’s in charge of creating and distributing content?
This is especially important if you’re offering new promotions, launching a new product, or changing branding, talk about what new content your teams might need to inform new prospects about the changes. This should be an open discussion to ensure that every piece of content you produce and publish is serving a purpose.
Take the time to call out the most significant successes of both teams. Marketers who produce great campaigns, sales teams that exceed projections, and collaborative efforts between departments should be recognized, appreciated, and rewarded. The goal of a good sales and marketing alignment strategy is to motivate and unite your teams, so make sure they know their work is appreciated.
Open the floor up to a broad discussion about the way things are going. Talk about trends in your industry — new competitors, new products being launched, consumer attitudes, and so on. Marketers should bring in news about the marketing world and salespeople can present the latest trends in sales so that both sides of the team are kept abreast of the latest developments and can alter their decision-making accordingly. Discuss how these trends should affect broader strategy or new content.
The goal of alignment is to create a unified team, so give your sales and marketing staff the opportunity to socialize and get to know each other. Ideally, they’ll be intermingled in your offices, but in an age of increasing remote work, that might not be an option. Instead, break them out into small groups that can discuss what they’ve been working on, what’s been most effective, and what needs to change. Encouraging your teams to work collaboratively will help break down the barriers that have historically stood between sales and marketing.
Every company is different, so your approach to these meetings will need to be adjusted to your specific needs. But with these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating a sales and marketing plan that’s data-driven, efficient, and effective.