On a scale of 1-10, how aligned are your business development and marketing teams? How often do they connect? What kind of information do they share with each other? Is there any synergy between the timing and effort of the work they’re doing to convert potential customers?

These are the questions we like to ask entrepreneurs or business development leaders who ask about how they can improve their marketing efforts.

Marketing and Business Development Shouldn’t Operate in Silos

Your marketing team exists to be a strategic asset for business development. Everything they do should, in some way, work towards driving more business. Whether it’s through generating leads for business development, supporting business development in the sales cycle, or maintaining the trust and integrity of your brand with current customers, one of marketing’s primary objectives is to support business development.

At the same time, your business development team should serve as a strategic asset for marketing. No one knows the challenges and questions your potential customers are facing more than your sales team. That is incredibly valuable information for marketing. It drives the type of content they create and helps them get inside the mind of prospective customers to develop strategies that accelerate the buying cycle.

How to Break Down the Silos Between Sales and Marketing

So how do you break down the barriers between your sales and marketing teams so that both are strategic assets for the other? Here are a few keys:

1. Make sure both teams are on the same team.

When marketing and business development are on different levels of the organizational chart, it can quickly create a hierarchy for who is right and who is to blame. If business development is not above marketing and marketing is not above business development, both teams can feel more confident in having an open conversation. The verbiage becomes less “us vs. them” but rather just “us.”

2. Set up meetings to close the feedback loop.

When marketing and business development are operating in silos, they don’t communicate with each other. Sales doesn’t know what marketing is doing. And marketing doesn’t know what’s working on the sales side. It’s easy to get so caught up in your own list of tasks that carving out time to have strategy conversations can be tough.

Having ongoing coordination meetings is important to ensuring that both teams are on the same page, that objectives are being met, and that both teams know what progress is being made.

3. Create shared accountability.

How do you avoid the “blame game” between sales and marketing? Setting the expectation of organizational goals for growth through KPIs that are shared by both teams is a great start.

There are several metrics owned by both marketing and business development that can be used to measure progress: length of sales cycle, opportunity-to-win ratio, and lifetime value of a customer.

What are some of the biggest barriers you’re facing when it comes to aligning sales and marketing? What’s one step you can take to break down those barriers?