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Handshake Alignment

Here's how to align your sales and marketing teams...

Sales and marketing alignment. The one thing your business always needed, yet always had right there! Here’s how to unlock their full potential.
BY Doug Fairbrother - July 15, 2020

Last week we covered why you should align your sales and marketing teams, before reading this blog make sure you’ve read that one to bring you up to speed on the why.

Now, we’re going to go through the steps of HOW you can achieve alignment.

Follow these steps to help you 1) reduce wasted spend, misalignment between sales and marketing technologies and processes costs B2B companies 10% of revenue or more per year according to HubSpot. 2) Improve efficiencies across your teams, afterall when sales and marketing teams work together, companies see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates.

1. Set Clear Benchmarks


Before you can mould the two silos into one coordinated revenue generating machine of a team you must set clear benchmarks.

It’s vital that everyone understands what the perfect opportunity looks like. A marketer may get excited that someone has downloaded a guide yet that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right fit. You should already have identified what an ideal customer looks like, the buyer personas for your business. You’ll then need to review the conversion metrics to get an understanding of how many leads you need to generate for sales.

There should be a focus on helping the sales team to push potential buyers through the funnel at the heart of everything that marketing does, weeding out the time-wasters and ill-fit prospects.

Both teams may feel they have different goals, when in reality they really shouldn’t. Aligning the goals will help align your team.

2. Communicate

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It’s funny how often communication can be the route of almost every problem. If you can open up those lines between the teams the benefits are endless. You may worry that sales will ask too much time of marketing, or marketing will be steering sales off of the phone. Simply define a controlled environment.

Set regular meetings to keep everyone in the loop. It’s a straightforward way to have sales and marketing share the performance from the previous month, share feedback and pitch the plan for the following month. Everyone in your business will have different experiences and perspectives, bring that together and utilise that to refine your organisation's messaging. If Sales are saying prospects are not resonating with it on the phones, or if Marketing is noticing a high number of leads, but low conversion rates then there’s an opportunity to improve.

This also leads on to our next point, campaign process.

3. Campaign Process

Your sales reps are talking with prospects all the time, and they’ll know first hand what their challenges are, what’s getting them excited and what isn’t a focus for them. There’s your marketing teams market research part done already!

The challenge is usually your reps won’t have the time to write down all the feedback. So, how can you make that easier? Introduce a process.

Like those monthly meetings we discussed, you can adopt a brainstorm session at the weekly sales meeting. Ask first hand what they would like to have to share with prospects. After all, 65% of sales reps say they can't find content to send to prospects, and better yet, 95% of buyers buy from someone who gave them content at each stage of the Buyer's Journey. (source: Kapost & SalesHub).

Yet it doesn’t just stop at the content. It should go into the messaging and promotions. Are they exciting enough? Do they resonate well? Developing an understanding around which leads have converted and where they came from, what led to them converting? This is how sales can push back to marketing and do their bit to help share their knowledge and front-line learnings.

4. Coordination

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Once you’ve introduced a content creation process, your marketing team is ready to align campaigns with your sales team. Buyers and prospects will be receiving content that aligns with their conversations with the sales team and vice versa.

Simple ways of coordinating messaging with sales could include sending an internal email as the content goes out, share announcements or a calendar at the team meetings or have an agreed time that new content will go out.

5. Review Performance

You can’t argue with data, you may wish you could but the numbers don’t lie. Data is the crucial truth for achieving perfect harmony between your teams.

Analyse key metrics to identify where leads are coming from and at what point they’re being passed to sales as well as what the close rate looks like.

This will help you understand whether leads are being passed across at the right time or whether they’re even the right fit. In order to track the journey effectively you need visibility across the platforms your teams are using, ideally, it’d be in one platform such as HubSpot. Only with a complete picture can you begin to draw conclusions on what’s working and what’s not.

Without the visibility it’s likely sales will blame poor closing rates on the quality of leads and marketing will blame sales for being poor closers.

The right software can help prove the truth, bringing the opportunity for the departments to work together to improve the situation.

For instance, if your software has a lead scoring capability, like HubSpot’s, your marketing team can work with sales to refine the scores if they’re not working. Recalibrating what the scoring system should be will help ensure sales are reaching out at just the right moment.

The steps to alignment

Steps to do it

There you have it. Five straightforward steps to help you achieve alignment in your organisation:

  1. Set targets
  2. Meet regularly
  3. Implement a creative process
  4. Coordinate campaigns
  5. Review performance

Once you’ve done that, the last thing to do is to celebrate your success together. Bin off your separate team drinks and celebrate together. The final step towards removing the department silos and ensuring everyone feels the success of the hard work to win those deals, afterall, you’re all in it together.

That’s that! Bottom line is the stats don’t lie, alignment between sales and marketing is a key factor to growing business. We ensure it’s implemented when working with our clients, often going to sales for their insights and sharing those with the internal marketing departments. We go into more detail about this in our guide: How to Generate Leads that Close. Click below to get started.

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If you’re looking for a partner to help achieve alignment, implement a commercially driven strategy and grow your business then click here to see how we can help or better yet, get in touch with us today.