Without revenue from sales of products or services, a business becomes little more than a hobby or a charitable organization. Building sales requires a well-equipped sales team, and in today\u2019s digital world, that means IT must become a strong support partner.\n\nBut aligning with sales leaders on transformative technology initiatives takes more than just rolling out their tech of choice. It requires a deep commitment to frequent, clear communication and coordination on mutual goals.\n\nIs your IT organization doing all it can to help sales team members build and retain customers? To find the answer, consider the following ways IT can help ensure the sales organization is primed for success.\n\n1. Form a strong partnership\n\nForming an effective IT-sales partnership requires embracing a startup mentality, even at large, long-established organizations, advises Amit Vashisht, assistant vice president of enterprise technology at Jackson National Life Insurance. \u201cThis means remaining nimble, employing agile principles, and not falling into the trap of being too slow to pivot when needed.\u201d\n\nIT should maintain constant engagement with the enterprise sales team, says Vashisht, who recommends reaching a mutual agreement that both IT and sales team members should feel safe to fail as they test and evaluate new ideas.\n\nVashisht also suggests conducting internal \u201chot houses\u201d that encourage business and IT leaders to work collectively as they solve real-world business problems. \u201cThese collaborative processes help IT understand what sales is up against and vice versa, so we can deliver the solutions needed that benefit the whole enterprise,\u201d he says.\n\n2. Supply insightful, actionable data\n\nIT should supply sales team members with the timely, accurate data they need to become top performers, recommends Michael Tantrum, national sales director at IT consulting firm Resultant. He recommends delivering a continuous sales data flow to sales personnel, providing comprehensive views of the customers they\u2019re working with.\n\nData should be both insightful and actionable. \u201cWhen salespeople are working off good data, they will have a competitive advantage,\u201d Tantrum states. \u201cIf your competitors are selling without the benefit of that [data] infrastructure, then you will know much more about potential customers than they do.\u201d\n\nRichard Baker, CTO at support and services firm TWC IT Solutions, agrees, adding that IT leaders should look to integrate CRM systems and data analytics tools into the sales process.\n\n\u201cThis approach is invaluable, since it offers real-time insights and a 360-degree view of the customer, enabling personalized and timely interactions, ultimately leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and increased sales,\u201d he explains.\n\n3. Mind the communications gap\n\nAny effective partnership requires a strong commitment to communication. To ensure IT and sales remain on the same page, Baker recommends establishing clear communication channels, including regular check-ins that ensure that IT is meeting the sales team\u2019s needs effectively and resolving any lingering concerns swiftly.\n\n\u201cOne mistake IT leaders make is allowing a communications gap to exist, leaving the sales team with inadequate or ill-suited technological solutions,\u201d he says. \u201cContinuous collaboration, communication, and a mutual understanding of goals and challenges are all essential for a successful IT and sales partnership.\u201d\n\n4. Seek close goal alignment\n\nEnsuring shared goals is another key facet for forming an effective IT-sales partnership, says Burcak Balkis, customer success manager at business phone system, call center, sales, and customer service software provider Hipcall.\n\nBecause IT and sales teams often have different priorities, coordination on goals and strategies must be intentional to ensure objectives are aligned, Balkis says. \u201cWhen you have open and honest communication channels between IT and sales, regular meetings and updates can help bridge the gap between technical complexity and the market demands,\u201d Balkis says.\n\nFor example, Balkis says IT can help support the sales team\u2019s goal of ensuring effective communication with customers by not only equipping personnel with a complete array of modern and reliable communications tools, including email, chat, videoconferencing, and social media platforms, but also developing training to ensure their effective use. \u201cThis ensures that the sales team can engage with prospects and customers through their preferred methods, enhancing the customer experience,\u201d Balkis says, while also ensuring technology ROI \u2014 a key IT goal.\n\n5. Emphasize business outcomes, not IT buzzwords\n\nAfter meeting with IT experts, sales team members often leave dazed and confused. Familiar IT terms can sound like gibberish to sales pros, who may be reluctant to ask for clarification.\n\nEugene Klimaszewski, president of security services firm Mammoth Security, says that when IT leaders inundate colleagues with intricate technical details, they risk alienating nontechnical stakeholders.\n\n\u201cOne of the most detrimental actions IT leaders can take to harm sales is overemphasizing technical jargon and complexity in their communication,\u201d he warns. \u201cEffective communication that translates technical concepts into tangible business outcomes is key to preventing this common pitfall.\u201d\n\n6. Strategize for efficiency and innovation\n\nThe most effective IT-sales partnerships thrive in a collaborative environment that prioritizes innovation and efficiency, says Bill Tennant, chief revenue officer at digital strategy and transformation company BlueCloud. \u201cOverall, both teams thrive when IT and sales focus on effective communication and come together to achieve a shared goal.\u201d\n\nTennant believes that collaboration should lead to processes and tools that will allow the sales team to become more efficient and less likely to chase after multiple business units for essential information. \u201cBeyond this, enterprise sales teams also require flexibility and innovation, allowing them to move quickly and drive value to their customers.\u201d Additionally, when IT collaborates by supporting both top-down and bottom-up sales needs, and alerting sales leaders to efficiency opportunities, it helps sales become more productive, he adds.\n\nHere, the most sales-damaging action IT leaders can take is failing to prioritize effective communication, Tennant says. A communication breakdown can lead to inefficiencies that hamper both parties\u2019 ability to fulfill enterprise goals, sending IT and sales teams in opposing directions, he warns. \u201cWhen IT leaders focus on streamlining processes without aligning their efforts with the sales team\u2019s needs, it can disrupt workflows, create confusion, and waste valuable resources, ultimately hindering overall enterprise performance.\u201d\n\n7. Leverage promising new technologies \u2014 responsibly\n\nSophisticated new technologies arrive regularly, and many of these tools can be used to improve sales. It\u2019s up to IT to spot potential sales-boosting tools and bring them to the sales leader for study and evaluation.\n\nJackson Enterprise Technology\u2019s Vashisht believes that AI, and generative AI in particular, provide great promise for sales and marketing applications. An AI sales automation tool, for example, can be designed to analyze large datasets and make market predictions. Vashisht believes that sales departments that fail to take advantage of powerful new technologies are destined to fall behind the competition. Yet he also advises proceeding with caution. \u201cAny new technology should be implemented in close collaboration, making IT and sales equal partners in the decision-making process,\u201d he says.\n\nWhile a strong advocate of promising new technologies, Vashisht warns that a tool that\u2019s too complicated, or that\u2019s poorly integrated into an existing process, can easily backfire. \u201cIt\u2019s critical for technology and sales partners to effectively communicate their insights.\u201d\n\n8. Be responsive\n\nSales teams are, by their nature, highly responsive, fast-paced organizations. Team members must accurately answer customer questions as soon as possible or risk losing sales. When it comes to technical issues, sales teams should be able to collect the necessary information quickly and accurately from knowledgeable IT team members.\n\n\u201cIn this type of situation, quick responses from the technology team means more satisfaction and trust on the customer side,\u201d says Reycan Cetin, growth manager at document, identity, biometric verification and authentication company Techsign.\n\nTo build a tighter relationship between IT and sales, Cetin advises scheduling regular meetings designed to increase awareness about general enterprise activities and goals. He believes that periodic meetings, held every few months by the department leaders, is not only useful for helping sales and IT teams work together more efficiently and effectively, but also creates a collective awareness about overall enterprise goals.