It’s not just about sales approaching entirely new prospects any more. Customers are more informed than ever, often heavily researching businesses before they make an approach.
This means they come to companies slap-dab in the middle of a “self-led” journey, making it crucial for marketing and sales teams to support those journeys with inspiring and educational content from day one.
For SaaS companies in particular, there’s a lot to consider. Customers often trial software online, and come to the sales process late in the buying journey (if they come to them at all).
And once they’ve subscribed to your product, it’s easy for them to simply quit if they don’t get onboarded smoothly – goodbye acquisition investment.
As Christopher Engman (Author and Co-founding Managing Partner, Megadeals Advisory) puts it,
“If marketing tries to solve content all by themselves it won’t work, because often they simply don’t have the intel needed to land the idea.”
So to provide a great solution to your customers’ problems with a seamless buying journey, you need to get all your teams on the same page.
This alignment requires a rigorous (and agreed upon) set of metrics, great collaboration, clear division of duties, and a big mindset shift.
But once these building blocks are in place, there’s another challenge: how can you practically get your teams working together day after day to make all that effort worth it?
For this blog, we’ve assembled our experts and asked them for their top 5 ways to turn strategic alignment into practical results.
Let’s dive in.
Define your target market
What specific customers and verticals are you going after? Decide together.
It’s important that the marketing and sales teams work closely together when establishing these goals so they can be more in sync over common messages and target audience. Many companies spread themselves too thin, especially in the start-up phase, but as you scale you need to be much more focused.
And the next step? Collectively identify brands you want to have as customers and work towards these account-based targets together.
Set the process
Carefully map out your processes and draw up a clear division of responsibilities between marketing and sales: who does what and when.
This should include how a handover of leads works, a set of guidelines on what needs to be logged on the CRM, and how to handle unqualified leads.
This scrutiny will ensure that every detail of the buying journey has been considered and accounted for so nothing falls through the cracks.
Be more data driven
Establish a clear policy for customer data collection, and analyse both the accounts and customer/market patterns together.
Once you’ve collected your data, make analysing it a part of your catch-ups with teams, empower those teams to take ownership over it, and use it to create new collective goals.
Allowing data to inform your processes means you become less reliant on a team member’s ‘hunch’ about prospects. This adds clarity to ideal prospect definitions, increases accountability and predictability, and allows you to continuously tweak your tactics.
“This is what we try to change when we work on sales and marketing with our SaaS companies: Less gut feeling and more data.”
Erik Syrén, partner and operations lead at Monterro
Balance short and long-term goals
Looking for new leads and hitting targets can create short-term thinking. So it’s vital all teams (and especially sales teams) are encouraged to buy into long-term marketing activities, such as brand positioning, alongside their monthly targets.
You’ll also need to balance your new customer pipeline with keeping current customers happy. They’re your best ambassadors and can help you hit your sales targets – but only if you keep them satisfied.
In order to do that, your marketing department needs to provide support at key points on the customer success journey. This helps ensure customers use your product or service, like it, want to buy more from you, and ultimately recommend that their peers buy from you too.
Clearly communicating expectations and evangelising the importance of balancing these goals, helps keep your teams aligned and enables better inter-team working.
Learn about each other’s roles
Friction often occurs when employees don’t have much insight into what colleagues in a different team actually do.
To counter this, look for ways you can integrate activities to give teams a clear view of how each person’s role contributes to business outcomes. For example, consider if a member of your marketing team could shadow some of your sales team at an event and observe how they handle customer interactions. Or if a sales team member could drop into marketing content workshops.
Initiatives like this allow teams to get a clearer picture of each other’s work and how they can buy into their respective approaches. It helps teams understand how they can assist each other, and where they might unwittingly be making each other’s jobs harder.
And that’s it.
It covers how you can use this alignment to create a compelling customer buying journey, the best KPIs to measure it with, and how to avoid the biggest pitfalls you’ll encounter on the way.
It’s also packed full with expert insight on why sales and marketing alignment is important and how you can use it to win new business, retain the customers you’ve already got — and grow faster.