5 Ways to Align Sales and Marketing

Lainey Mebust
May 27, 2020

Alignment between sales and marketing matters. Aligning teams can optimize opportunities, boost conversions, and increase revenue. In fact, the more aligned sales and marketing teams are, the more successful they’re likely to be. Businesses with high alignment between teams experience more wins and higher retention rates. 

While this alignment is no revolutionary idea, the disconnect between teams is a tale as old as time. Whether it’s lead quality or disagreements on targeting, misalignment between sales and marketing has come to feel like the new normal. So how do organizations align two teams who are historically at odds? We’ve gathered five tried and true strategies to align sales and marketing once and for all. 

1. Treat Your Sales Team Like a Customer

Ultimately, your sales team is working on growing the customer base. Their job is to close new revenue, which grows the entire organization. Needless to say, they’re vital to the company. To win over your sales team, marketers should treat sales as their most valuable (internal) customer. If the sales team is the customer, leads are the product. Marketers need to develop their “product” to be accessible, valuable, and uphold the highest quality. Just as you would take feedback from customers to continually improve your product, it’s important for marketers to open direct lines of communications with sales to continuously improve and refine leads. The better the product, the happier the customer, and, in turn, a happy sales team.

2. Set a Common Goal

While your sales team may define success through a monthly quota, your marketing team is likely measuring success by cost per lead or total qualified leads. With two different goals, it’s easy to misunderstand what each team is working on. To successfully align teams, both sales and marketing need a shared objective. Identify a metric that effectively measures the efforts from both teams and establish a common goal. Focus on measuring bottom of the funnel metrics such as customer acquisition cost or customer lifetime value.

3. Establish a Company Language

Even if both teams are doing their part, revenue can quickly slip between the cracks if teams aren’t speaking the same language. A shared goal requires a shared vernacular. How would your marketing team define an MQL? How about an SQL? Would your sales team agree? Sales and marketing teams can quickly become misaligned without a shared understanding of the sales process. To align sales and marketing, both teams must have a shared understanding of everyday lead terminology. Ask each team to document the lead process (and accompanying terminology) and establish a wide-spread language to serve as your single source of demand gen truth. 

4. Create a Hand Off Process

A common misalignment between sales and marketing is the handoff process. When a lead is transitioned from marketing, where does sales take it from there? Revenue can quickly slip between the cracks if a shared hand-off process is not put in place. Teams need to establish a mandatory process or SLA (service level agreement), with shared responsibility across both teams. 

5. Align Sales and Marketing with Data-Driven Targeting

Today, sales teams expect high-quality leads from marketing at scale. In order to deliver high-quality lead generation and drive consistent pipeline, marketers need to enhance their targeting. Using data-driven solutions, marketers can refine their approach to target lookalike audiences — prospects that are similar to their best customers. Data-driven solutions, allow organizations to leverage their existing customer base as a private resource to uncover patterns and behaviors in their best customers. 

Data-driven targeting can help teams identify well-fit customers without wasting resources with a wide-net approach. Marketers can allocate resources appropriately — eliminating wasted efforts, improving ROI, and allowing marketers to ultimately deliver higher quality leads to their sales team at scale.



Further Reading

Lainey Mebust
May 29, 2020
Lainey Mebust
August 2, 2019