According to a report by Forrester Research, only eight percent of B2B companies have achieved effective sales and marketing alignment. Although department leaders believe there's much to be gained from teams working together to increase lead flow and generate revenue, why doesn't it happen?
Some colleagues tell me sales and marketing alignment is impossible to achieve. I disagree.
How do we move teams from talking the talk to walking the walk? Here are six ways to achieve sales and marketing alignment.
1. Create Joint Sales and Marketing Goals
Help each team understand exactly what is expected and hold them accountable to concrete, shared, numerical goals.
Calculate both the marketing and sales metrics and provide frequent reporting for each. Make sure you review your metrics and make them accessible to everyone to maintain transparency and improve communication between teams.
Here are some metrics you should be keeping track of:
Lead Conversion Metrics:
- Lead to Contact %
- Contact to Appointment Held %
- Appointment to Close %
- Lead Creation to Close Date (length of sales cycle)
Sales Email Conversion Metrics:
- Send to Open %
- Send to Click %
- Send to Appt %
2. Manage a Single Source Database
Use customer relationship management software that’s built on a single source database or, at the very least, operates on a bi-directional integration to ensure salespeople and marketers know where prospects are in the sales cycle at all times. It's one of the things we like about HubSpot’s single source marketing and sales platform. For bi-directional integration, look to integration tools like Bedrock Data.
The most successful teams manage leads by lead status and deal stages. Here are some examples of the statuses and stages we help our clients implement and manage...
- Attempting to Contact
- Contact Made
- Appointment Scheduled
- Appointment Held
- Open Deal
- Send Back to Marketing
- No Further Action
- Discovery Meeting
- Follow-up Appointments
- Contracting & Negotiation
- Closed Won
- Closed Lost
3. Align Content with the Sales Process
Sales and marketing teams should collaborate on content creation. Salespeople can provide insights into any gaps in the current content arsenal. As Salesforce puts it, “sales leaders can serve as strategic advisors to content creators.” Over communicate about the content being used and discuss the impact on customer engagement during sales interactions.
Always be thoughtful and realistic about use cases. It takes a significant amount of time to create content, and you don’t want marketing wasting time crafting content for sales that will go unused.
To increase its effectiveness, ensure the content you’re creating aligns with the buyer’s journey and speaks to the awareness, consideration, and decision-making process.
Map the buyers journey to the lead statuses and deal stages mentioned above and keep track of which content is most effective in helping sales close deals.
4. Streamline Content Management
Content management is one of the biggest obstacles sales and marketing teams battle to overcome. Here are two of my favorite tools teams can leverage to effectively access and manage content:
- Hubspot CRM: The Hubspot CRM helps you organize marketing collateral and sales messaging within the template builder and document management tool. You can use personalization tokens, track performance, including metrics for open rates, click throughs, and analytics on the documents prospects looked at.
Image via Hubspot
- WittyParrot: WittyParrot is also a great tool for managing approved content between marketing and sales for prospecting and responding to prospect questions and RFPs. It allows you to manage content centrally in the cloud and provides in-depth analytics.
5. Provide Cross-Functional Training
Train sales on marketing concepts and skill-sets that produce winning campaigns. Help salespeople understand how your company engages customers at different stages of the buyers journey.
Conversely, train marketers on selling concepts and skills salespeople use during each stage of the sales cycle, from prospecting and follow-up to closing.
When both sales and marketing understand the way each other thinks and develop an understanding of the skills that make each other successful, teammates can learn to collaborate and leverage each other’s expertise to win more new business.
6. Reward Your Team
Don’t reward each department individually. Instead, focus on what your sales and marketing teams accomplish together and reward them as jointly. This will encourage more communication and collaboration between teams.
Some possible rewards include:
- Team retreats
- Leadership opportunities
- Paid time off
- Gift certificates
- Happy hour
As discussed in “The Changing Face of Sales and Marketing,” working in alignment gives marketing and sales teams a significant advantage. Sales-driven marketing puts egos aside and allows sales to drive the business forward with marketing providing support around the sales strategy. By understanding the sales process and creating marketing campaigns that support it, customers advance more quickly through the sales process to help you close bigger deals faster.