Meeting goals — everyone wants to do it, right?
But sometimes it feels like our teams are playing on different fields, or maybe even different planets.
Achieving sales and marketing alignment can seem impossible, but in reality, it doesn’t have to be.
Customers have numerous touchpoints with your company before making a sale. So, it’s important to keep everyone on the same page. The secret to making this alignment easier is actually pretty simple — employee advocacy.
How Employee Advocacy Improves Sales and Marketing Alignment
At first blush, employee advocacy seems like it is primarily a marketing strategy.
We often explore how employee advocacy drives organic marketing, attracts talent and pushes awareness further than your branded channels. This is because social media users trust “average employees” more than CEOs, marketers or sales reps.
But the reality is that employee advocacy can be just as easily used for sales and social selling techniques. In 2014, the IDC found that online social networks played a vital role in the purchase process of 84% of senior B2B buyers. The key for successful social selling is to have strong sales and marketing alignment.
Employee advocacy can become the perfect opportunity for sales and marketing alignment. It ensures that leads experience brand consistency as they move down the funnel, from awareness to purchase.
With an employee advocacy program, communication channels and funnels are aligned between the marketing and sales teams to create harmony. Many teams without these programs face issues of miscommunication or misalignment of goals.
Sales teams that previously had trouble wading through disperse repositories of content can now be involved with sharing content. Marketing teams that were top-of-funnel focused and didn’t understand the sales process, can receive feedback from the sales team on how to build pipeline and generate qualified leads.
Instead of letting the teams create their own separate goals and strategies, an employee advocacy platform encourages shared communication, process and content between sales and marketing teams. This ultimately brings the two teams closer together.
4 Ways Employee Advocacy Improves Sales and Marketing Alignment
Marketing and sales teams have many skills and experiences to offer each other — but are often working on such different tasks that a divide grows between them. Employee advocacy can be a bridge to close that gap in the following ways.
1. Improves communication and reliance on eachother
We’ve all heard the age-old saying: communication is key. When working between teams that are notorious for not communicating well, it’s great to see that there is now a way to improve this relationship.
Employee advocacy improves sales and marketing alignment by getting both teams involved with each other’s work in ways they haven’t been before. You may find that your marketing team is suddenly more concerned with the quality of leads or that your sales team is more understanding of high-traffic posting times.
This communication between teams enables sales and marketing teams to align KPIs related to their employee advocacy program and other goals. Teams learn how to rely on each other to shorten sales cycles and to provide enablement for social selling.
2. Improves content used throughout the funnel
The content your teams use through your funnel can only get better thanks to input from both the marketing and sales teams.
Sales teams, in particular, will have access to the content that attracts new leads and content that closes deals. With case studies, testimonials, thought leadership pieces and other great content at their fingertips, they can better understand the mindset of their customers, their journey and their industry at large. This knowledge will ultimately help them design better pitches for final sales.
3. Use trust to drive more social selling
According to Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer, 78% of people surveyed believe that how a company treats its employees is an indicator of how trustworthy the company is — and 67% of respondents agreed to this statement:
“A good reputation may get me to try a product, but unless I come to trust the company behind the product, I will soon stop buying it”
Employee advocacy enables trust with potential customers. But if that trust is broken right when a sale is about to be made, your brand misses out on all the investment you put into top-of-the-funnel activities.
When sales and marketing teams collaborate to broadcast the same messages, to align on the same goals and to give the customers a consistent experience, social selling becomes easier.
4. Help sales become a thought leader
Today’s buyers are extremely informed before they speak with sales reps.
They have already done their research, read online reviews, read employee thoughts and branded marketing material. According to CEB, 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier. And from SiriusDecisions, 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.
By the time a potential customer reaches engages sales, they already have a clear understanding of how your product could help address their problems. They will come with specific questions that your sales reps will need to respond to in a clear, confident and informative manner.
There is a great deal of pressure on sales leaders to have quality answers to questions about their industry, product and organization.
When marketing and sales teams are working together, the two teams can share relevant information that will equip each to complete their goals. Sales leaders might have more tactical insights that marketers can weave into an enticing narrative. Marketers might have spent time reading the latest industry research and can share it with sales to keep them in the loop.
How to Use Employee Advocacy to Power Social Selling
The myth is that employee advocacy is best left to marketing. Well, it’s time to explore how employee advocacy can drive social selling.
Here are a few tips on how you can utilize employee advocacy for a better social selling approach:
- Focus on a few social media channels. You might want to conquer every social media platform out there but you don’t need to! Focus your efforts on one or two platform that your employees and prospects are active on.
- Support your employees. Let your team know they are being supported with the necessary resources. Give your team helpful resources, guidelines, and help will make a big difference in the long run. It’s also important to show your team you support them by providing training and resources. They’ll learn how to properly share and combine employee advocacy with social selling.
- Track your team’s progress. You’d never implement a new sales technique or marketing campaign without tracking it, so employee advocacy shouldn’t be any different. Monitor lead generation, interaction, and other progress from your campaign. Don’t forget to recognize your team’s successes and support those you see struggling.
As you can tell there are so many benefits to employee advocacy, especially when it comes to sales and marketing alignment. Whether you’re getting your team on the same page, generating qualified leads, or developing a better social selling strategy; employee advocacy can help.
If you’re new to the idea of social selling and aren’t sure where to begin then check out our Blueprint to Social Selling where you can learn how to get started today!