Marketing and Sales Alignment: Everything you need to know

A successful way to Grow Revenue

It is really fascinating what happens at organizations in which effective Marketing and Sales alignment occurs-they win! As Aberdeen Research reports in 2011, companies that have managed to align successfully Marketing and Sales experienced an average of 20% growth in annual revenue, compared to 4% decline in “laggard” organizations. One thing that these companies have in common is that both Marketing and Sales report to one senior executive who is responsible for both lead generation and closing business. Thus, Marketing and Sales share more than common executives, they share goals, processes and technologies that allow them to monitor and optimize every stage of every sale, from the first contact to a closed deal. Here you can find a complete guide on how to achieve a harmonious alignment between Marketing and Sales in order to grow your revenue.

Marketing and Sales Misalignment

Before analyzing how you can align your Marketing and Sales teams, it is very important to know why Marketing and Sales have a hard time collaborating. It is true that Marketing and Sales want to work together and they try to achieve collaboration but there is a variety of reasons that contribute to a misalignment. Here are the most important reasons:

  • Different goals and Priorities
  • Lack of structured marketing-to-sales handoff process
  • Lack of follow-up when leads are handed off from marketing to sales
  • Lack of agreement on the lead scoring criteria that make a quality lead
  • Insufficient communication and collaboration
  • Marketing and Sales Alignment in 4 steps

    According to the Marketing Leadership Council’s Digital Evolution in B2B Marketers report, customers progress almost 60% of the way through the purchase decision-making process before they engage with a sales rep. Therefore, it is really important that digital marketers create engaging content that captures leads at the awareness stage, nurturing and further qualifying customers until they are ready to be handed off to sales reps.
    As the evidence show, neither Marketing nor Sales can achieve organization’s goals on their own. They need each other in order to build on and complement each other’s competencies. Follow these 4 steps in order to improve your marketing and sales alignment.

    1. Identify the Weaknesses

    As always, the first step to solving a problem is defining the problem. Both Marketing and Sales should discuss what their differences are, what they expect and need from one another and how they can improve their alignment.

    During this discussion, it is very important to establish a clear plan of future actions. After identifying the problems, it is crucial to Marketing and Sales alignment to set the next steps to resolving the issues, appoint roles and build a process of moving forward.

    2.Establish terminology, metrics and goals

    Marketing and Sales need to agree upon terminology. This process will not only help both teams abstain from a debate over topics like lead quality but also it will improve your reporting capabilities as you will be able to clearly identify the metrics that are important for you. In order to set the common terminology and metrics it is helpful to answer those questions:

  • What is your target market?
  • How you define a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)?
  • How you define a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)?
  • What are your conversion goals (i.e leads, sales, revenue)?
  • 3.Use technology to build up the lead handoff process

    There is a wide variety of Marketing and Sales automation tools that can help you enhance Marketing and Sales coordination. Marketing automation tools can assist in lead generation, lead scoring and building the lead-to-sales handoff process and Sales automation tools can help you boost sales productivity, increase sales performance visibility and manage sales contact.

    A practical and insightful solution is Fileboard. Fileboard can assist both Marketing and Sales teams achieve their common goals. On the one hand Fileboard can give Marketing Managers helpful insights on the use of the Marketing Collateral they create and what the ROI is.

    On the other hand, Fileboard can help Sales Directors use customer engagement to achieve revenue forecast and Sales Representatives find out which prospects are ready to buy and track how your prospects are engaging with your documents.

    4.Communicate and Collaborate

    Two of the most essential aspects of successful Marketing and Sales alignment are communication and collaboration. Consistent and effective communication and collaboration decreases the chances of misunderstandings, unnoticed leads, reporting blind spots and missed opportunities. Here are three tips to help you achieve productive communication and collaboration:

    Meet frequently: Set meetings on specific days and times to meet in order to discuss goals and challenges, review activities, share information and plan future steps. Depending on how your organization is structured, these meetings can include both Sales and Marketing teams or only the leaders of each team. Make sure that these meetings are meaningful and help both teams align their overall goals.

    Give feedback: Providing and receiving constructive feedback is the only way to improve your skills and identify what is not working. Encourage individuals to offer and ask for feedback having in mind that this will help achieve common goals.

    Rely on data: Data can be used to better understand the performance of Marketing and Sales. It is the only way to find out what is performing well and what needs improvement. Also, data can provide a strong case for ROI and give insights into the future resource allocation and help you build your strategy.

    Information Sharing

    Sharing information between the two teams is crucial to improve the performance of both Marketing and Sales.

    What should Marketing share with Sales?

  • Complete Lead Intelligence
  • Lead intelligence includes the history of each lead’s activity on your website. For instance, campaign engagement, download history and social media presence. This information will help sales rep create their follow-up strategies.

  • Lead Alerts
  • Lead alerts are email messages or other type of notifications when a lead revisits your website, completes a form or asks to speak with a salesperson.

    What should Sales share with Marketing?

  • Contact touches
  • Records of email and call attempts and connects

  • Lead Status Updates
  • Updates on lead status such as open, in progress, qualifies and unqualified.

  • Revenue Numbers
  • Data on closed deals and the revenue associated with each contract to calculate marketing effectiveness and ROI.

    Hopefully, this guide helped you understand why Marketing and Sales alignment is important and what steps you should take in order to achieve it!