The need for aligned sales and marketing has only grown stronger with the rise of customer-centricity and the digital age.
Customers demand consistent buying experiences from end to end — and they have more companies to choose from than ever before. So, especially now, brands need to have their teams on the same page.
Yet still today, fewer than one in 10 companies claim to have strong alignment between sales and marketing teams. And that’s hardly surprising when you see that:
- Sales reps ignore up to 70% of sales leads provided by marketing
- 60-70% of B2B content is never used by sales because the subject matter is irrelevant to buyers
But when they do align, sales and marketing can do great things together. Like:
- Deliver 20% more annual revenue growth – Hubspot
- Unlock 24% faster 3-year revenue growth and 27% higher margins – Forrester
- Secure 24% more lead generation and 27% increase in close rates – IDC
So, how do sales and marketing reach this promised land (and stay there)?
In this blog, we’ll cover 5 things you can start doing to achieve better alignment, and deeply integrate that alignment into your culture.
Notice the symptoms of misalignment
Here are 5 signs that your sales and marketing teams aren’t working together:
- Your sales team says that MQLs are low quality — and disqualify them without qualification.
- Customers don’t engage with your content, even though you’ve spent a fortune on it — and your sales team creates its own content.
- Marketing only cares about MQL numbers.
- No one speaks the same language: you have no common appreciation for MQLs, SQLs, opportunities or KPIs.
- You’re not meeting the rule of thirds — and marketing generated revenue hasn’t climbed as fast as the market sources pipeline.
Get the team together
The first step of integrating sales and marketing teams into a fruitful relationship is by giving them insight into what each other actually do. Ways you can do this include:
Educate on processes
Take the time to give run throughs on what your overarching goals and methods are, as well as what your day-to-day looks like. It’s also important to educate each team about the factors used to build a lead.
For example, marketing can shadow the sales team at events and see how they interact with customers. Or, sales can join the marketing team for a content workshop.
Onboard with alignment in mind
For new people in a position in the sales or marketing team, onboard them with materials from both so they can immediately be seen as one cohesive unit.
Establish who does what, when
How do you hand over leads between teams? What should you log into your CRM? How should you handle unqualified leads? Etc.
By doing these things, you can create buy-in for what each team does, and better understand how you can help each other
Define your target market together
The next step is getting in sync with who your customers are so you can better establish common messages and goals down the line.
Draw up an ideal customer profile (ICP) of who you’re going after based on pain points you help solve and desired customer characteristics (size of company, budget, etc.).
Then you can decide on what specific industries you’re targeting and identify some brands you’d like to work with and deploy an account-based-marketing strategy on.
“The most common mistake people make is to not define what a lead is between sales and marketing. Set the definition. Define the target market. Software companies need to be very specific.” – Erik Syren, Lime Technologies
Sync up your messaging
Sales and marketing are, of course, going to have different approaches when it comes to communicating products to customers.
But when it comes to messaging, it is vital they’re on the same page to ensure a consistent, customer-centric experience, so a shared language is essential. To do this, here are a few useful tips:
- Create meetings to go through messaging architecture together
- Ensure you have tight coordination over key aspects like common customer objectives
- Adapt messaging to key verticals to make sure you’re nailing relevance to each audience
Keep track of your KPIs
The benefits from your marketing and sales team up won’t be as meaningful if you can’t judge what success looks like.
So it’s important to have shared metrics between sales and marketing to do this, especially as metrics become more customer-led.
Some of these include:
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR)
- Net Revenue Retention (NRR)
- Sales pipeline
- Closed deals
- Cost of Acquiring a Customer (CAC)
To make sure you’re keeping up with these, you need to set up regular and structured meetings to present results and set new targets.
“Get marketing and sales together regularly to go through the accounts and where they are. Alignment is very rarely an organisational issue. You need to make sure both teams are on the same page” – Charlotte Banning, Monterro
Go forth and grow
When sales and marketing work together, you set your company up for accelerated growth.
So the idea that alignment between the two can never happen needs to be shaken off, and given way to a new way of thinking for all this to kick-start.
Above, we’ve listed some practical first steps to start on the right path, but to get the full picture and equip yourself even further, you can read our full ‘Sales and marketing alignment: The SaaS guide to creating the perfect match’ eBook.