There are plenty of small tweaks you can make to your sales and marketing programs to generate more and better quality leads. But perhaps the most powerful thing you can do? Align sales and marketing.

While on paper it might look like marketing is responsible for generating leads and sales is responsible for turning those leads into customers, it’s not always that black-and-white in practice. And those businesses that can align sales and marketing see 36 percent higher customer retention and 38 percent higher sales wins.

But because every organization operates differently, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for alignment. Here are some key questions to ask yourself to determine how to best align sales and marketing within your organization:

Who owns target account identification?

This is an important question, and not one that is easy to answer for every organization. If marketing is in charge of identifying new accounts, do they know what pain points and content sales uses in their meetings? Are they able to match accounts to the right sales reps? And if sales is responsible, will marketing be equipped to develop a program that will attract these accounts?

What part of the funnel is each department responsible for?

In most organizations, marketing is responsible for top-of-the-funnel activity like brand awareness and creating interest in your product, while sales is responsible for lower funnel activity like generating sales and purchases.

However, it can help if both teams see the funnel as an organic, fluid structure that they are both responsible for, rather than something with rigid tiers. Encouraging both sales and marketing to focus on revenue can help shift this perspective. This way, marketing must not only generate leads for sales, but they must generate quality leads. And sales can’t just close the book after they’ve made a sale, they have to follow up and nurture.

How do sale and marketing communicate effectively?

Are your sales and marketing teams talking to each other regularly? As marketing’s efforts are oriented towards supporting sales, there should be multiple open channels of communication between the two departments.

Here are some ways to improve marketing-sales communication:

  • Hold weekly meetings. No one likes a long, pointless meeting, but if you set short, regular meetings between the teams to update each other on progress and road bumps, they will have a clearer understanding of what the other is up to.
  • Plan events together. Take both teams out to lunch, or encourage them to attend an industry conference together.
  • Develop goals together. If both teams are working towards the same overarching goal of bringing in more business, it stands to reason that they should both have input when developing specific goals, like monthly targets.

Sales and marketing need to work in tandem for your business to grow. Marketing collateral should be given to the sales staff for pitches, information gleaned from sales calls should be passed on to marketing for customer intelligence, and they both should be working towards the same goals. It isn’t always easy to align these two departments, but it is often a key factor in the most successful companies’ growth.