sales and marketing alignment

Marketing and Sales Alignment Strategy: Bridging the Gap

Marketin Sales Alignment Strategy

Marketing and sales alignment is critical for the success of any business.

Your marketing and sales alignment strategy is potentially the largest opportunity for improving business performance today.

What if you could close more sales, reduce the sales cycle, reduce the customer acquisition cost, and improve employee retention rates. Wouldn’t you?

I used to have a large tradeshow budget and every year the marketing and sales team would ask me if we could do booths for this and that show. Have you been to one? W attended tradeshows in New York City, Toyoko, London, and San Francisco?

We had a meeting set up and ran marketing programs to attract more traffic to the booth. It doesn’t matter if you use a fishbowl, electronic scanner, or write down leads. All of these leads need to be validated for need, fit, budget, timing, authority, and timing. In the old days, we ousted handed all the leads for to sales, they based for them.

Out of 1,000 or so leads, 50% can be removed, but 500 is still a lot of pre-qualification work. You see the inefficiency and effectiveness. These tradeshows cost a large amount of money and resources.

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The new marketing and sales environment has only added to the list of issues marketing and sales managers face today, despite good intentions, the relationship has never been an easy one. 

On a good day’s they don’t get along, reflected in sniping like marketing doesn’t know the difference between good and bad leads, and only if the sales team would only follow up on the leads we work so hard to provide they would have more sales.

I’m bad days it alters and harms business because of the lack of cooperation. When things go wrong, each blames the other. Because of the power of the sales organization and its role and driving revenue, marketing has been the department that loses these battles but not without a black eye or two from the sales team. 

Sales and marketing teams

The point is that in most company’s, the structure of the sales and marketing teams is not set up for success, and examples, as specified above everybody, lose. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Every business that has avoided the splits has done so because marketing and sales have stepped outside of the traditional lines. Those traditional boxes have been that marketing takes the longer view without producing in the here and now, has been accused of not being able to see past tomorrow morning. There are some truths and much exaggeration on both the sales team in the marketing team’s perceptions.

The good news is that both marketing and sales are positive, synergistic, and hold separate interdependence. If either team cannot agree and support the goals of the other, the entire business suffers. This is why in the last decade so many companies are drastically changing their business models toward digital with digital transformation. The importance of sales and marketing alignment is more essential than ever before.

Different Roles of the Sales and Marketing Teams

Marketing and sales fill very different roles. Marketing managers need double vision. We must interpret the present while simultaneously predicting the future. Marketers with only one vision–either short-term put out the fires tactics or long-term planning–serve their business poorly.

It can be very harmful to ignore values like branding and public relations just to focus on short-term lead requirements.

In contrast, most sales activities focus on the near term, and we would not want it any other way. Someone has to bring home the bacon and, new revenue contribution, feed the business so it can grow. 

Diverting sales attention from short-term revenue can be a costly mistake. Your sales reps sacrifice commissions due to the marketing team’s longer-term view, no matter how important to the company you might find yourself unemployed.

Marketing now owns the e-commerce revenue channel compounds the typical conflict between the two organizations. Salespeople are concerned and believe prospects will go back to the old ways of doing business are just kidding themselves. 

The customer self-service model is too lucrative for sellers too convenient for buyers for this to change; however, success in the new e-business model requires a different way of thinking about relationships between sales and marketing. That can complement each other and play the same sandbox productively. Sales and marketing integration show great promise.

Many companies are frustrated because their sales reps are more loyal to customers, even at the expense of their own business. However, this is understandable because salespeople also, sales reps now change companies so that they want to make sure they sell their existing customers something new when they switch jobs.

But perhaps the most crucial reason sales reps are more loyal to customers is that the age of disintermediation, an inbound marketing method demands that they become strong customer advocates, instead of just pitching existing value propositions.

The ROI of Aligning Sales and Marketing Functions

Through marketing and sales alignment, your company can optimize its marketing and sales process. And with a highly tuned revenue model, you will reduce your costs while increasing sales simultaneously.

  • Sales and marketing alignment can lead to a 32% increase in year-over-year revenue growth, according to the Aberdeen Group. 
  • Sales and marketing alignment can lead to a 208% growth in marketing revenue (Wheelhouse Advisors). 
  • Sales and marketing alignment can lead to 38% higher sales win rates (MarketingProfs).

Consequences of Poor Sales and Marketing Alignment

Companies that follow the status quo with the existing sales model will face lost sales and disenchanted sales and marketing, teams. Using expensive field sales resources instead of the new sales and marketing automation tools to service customers will put you at a strong. The cost of field sales will continue to rise in such companies will lose revenue to competitors good at conducting e-business. 

If you don’t take steps to bridge the gap now, it will widen. All of your focus will have to be on sales efficiency instead of sales effectiveness. At least two terms sound delay. They are very different sales efficiency refers to making existing processes work better (doing things right) while sales effectiveness refers to changing processes (doing the right things).

Let me give you an example. Efficiency can make it possible for sales reps to make more sales calls while effectiveness makes their sales calls more productive. You are receiving a much higher return on investment by focusing on effectiveness. 

If the chief marketing officers failed to bridge the gap and embrace new e-business models, they will find it harder to prove the value of their marketing campaigns. If it involves a field salesforce, the real customer of marketing is the sales department, not the end-user of the product or services. I’m going to point out it’s vital to focus on customer requirements.

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If your real customer doesn’t appreciate your efforts and understand your unique value proposition, all the excellent work you do will be for nothing.

Be careful, even if your organization is very successful at the moment because success can lead to terrible habits. I call this the aren’t we special syndrome, or it’s different here. When revenue and profits are high, you feel you can do no wrong. 

Marketing and sales can both be doing what they perceive as the right thing because overall revenue goals are met, everyone is happy, what is happiness won’t last if you have underlying problems with your sales model, or if your competitors are much further along in their online marketing strategies. The question is, how much better could you be doing if you had a better marketing and sales alignment strategy for your company?

Today’s complex buying cycle introduces new challenges for marketing and sales alike. However, when sales and marketing align, many of those problems can be resolved.

  • Problem 1: The sales team isn’t doing anything with the leads I’m sending them. Sales teams ignore up to 80% of marketing leads, instead of spending half their time on unproductive prospecting. Since sales have prospects to recycle, they’ll spend their time focused on older leads if marketing isn’t providing another option. If sales and marketing take the time to align on goals, lead definition, and handoff process, both teams will spend their time more on promising leads.
  • Problem 2: I need to align my marketing strategy with our sales strategy. Sales and marketing alignment is vital for both organizational success and boosting morale. To sync up, sales and marketing teams should schedule regular meetings to keep track of shared goals and communicate about workflow, obstacles, and wins. Ensuring both teams have a voice when setting strategies and planning content will be the most impactful at each stage in the buying process. 
  • Problem 3: I need to simplify my workflows. Sales and marketing alignment not only unifies leadership and combines shared goals and targeted personas, but it can also streamline workflows by sharing tools. Instead of marketing logging into one system and sales into another, both teams can use the same dashboards and tools, including customer engagement platforms. 
  • Problem 4: I need to increase revenue and show a clear marketing ROI. It is challenging to display the actual value of your marketing program without a direct response or purchase to measure. This is true for B2B marketers focused on lead generation programs with long, complex sales cycles. To show an actual marketing ROI, you must be able to track and measure impact in an integrated way across all sales and marketing systems.
  • Problem 5: My sales team is relying on me to help them shorten the sales cycle and go to market faster with new products. The way the B2B buying process has evolved has resulted in a more complex buying cycle and a massive shift in customer relationships. Buyers are choosing to delay interactions with sales and ignore traditional tactics such as outbound phone calls and emails. To meet customers where they are, sales and marketing professionals must work together to shorten the intricate new type of sales cycle. This includes syncing segmentation, targeting, content development, contact strategy, nurturing, engagement, closing, and customer support.

Getting your marketing and sales organizations in alignment won’t be an easy task, but it can be done if you use the following sales and marketing alignment strategies.

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Planning, Implementing and Optimizing Your Sales and Marketing Alignment Strategy

Sales and marketing alignment takes planning. Once you get on the right plan and get on track, you will be on your way to long-term success.

  • Step 1: Define common terms. The first step in achieving sales and marketing alignment is for both teams to agree on the definition of common terms. It sounds simple, but it’s rare across the revenue-producing teams. Only 44% of companies have decided on the definition of a qualified lead between sales and marketing, according to CSO Insights. 
  • Step 2: Define the goals, objectives, and strategy together. Next, sales and marketing need to clarify three keys: lead scoring, lead generation metrics, and service level agreements (SLAs). 
    • Marketing Funnel and Sales Pipeline: Your marketing funnel metrics show you how many leads you need in your sales pipeline and to meet your revenue goals. The marketing funnel calculator is pretty simple math. It’s what goes into it that will take some data collection. The marketing funnel is segmented into marketing funnel stages. For each of these stages, the marketing team will develop marketing funnel content at each stage. The aim is to move your marketing leads to marketing to the sales pipeline.
    • Lead scoring: Lead scoring is a method for ranking leads to determine their sales-readiness. Leads are scored based on the interest they show in your business, their current position in the buying cycle, and their fit regarding your business. Lead scoring is essential to strengthening your revenue cycle, but it is only effective if sales and marketing come together to define the scorecard. 
    • Lead generation metrics: A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a prospect that the marketing team has worked with and is considered the right potential buyer. A sales accepted lead (SAL) is a lead that the sales team acknowledges and is committed to acting upon, and a sales qualified lead (SQL) is a prospect that the sales team believes is almost ready to buy. When both teams come together to outline what qualifies a lead as an MQL, SAL, or SQL, both sales and marketing teams are ready for greater efficiency. 
    • Service level agreements (SLAs): Service level agreements need to be created for each phase of the revenue cycle. As these systems become automated, everyone performs at a higher level. Getting these systems in place also provides some documentation, so marketing can show how someone became an MQL, and sales have a record of their contact with that person. 
  • Step 3: Replace the marketing funnel and sales pipeline with a revenue cycle. The traditional sales pipeline modeled a process whereby a broad audience was sorted down to leads, then prospects, and clients. Today this simple strategy keeps marketing in one silo and sales in another, in a market where they need each other to deliver the personalized attention that prospects expect. 
  • Step 4: Structure your revenue team (review your demand waterfall)
    • Marketing roles: Demand generation lead, product marketer, content marketer 
    • Sales role: Sales representatives sell products, goods, and services to B2C, B2B or both types of customers. Sales representatives work with customers to find what they want, create solutions and ensure a smooth sales process. Sales representatives will work to find new sales leads, through business directories, client referrals, etc.
    • Sales support roles: Account executives and sales development representatives (SDRs) are on a third team, separate from marketing and sales, and they have one exclusive focus: to review, contact, and qualify marketing-generated leads and deliver them to sales account execs. 
  • Step 5: Move forward in a unified manner. When marketing and sales can move beyond their differences and work together, they can increase sales growth while cutting costs at the same time.

Wrap Up on Marketing and Sales Alignment Strategy

You need to create a sales and marketing alignment strategy. The marketing feeds the sales pipeline and marketing determines the incubation level once a lead is accepted (MQL). If you implement these strategies using an automated marketing process, you can help create harmony between sales and six stats of your company. 

It’s a sales role in converting interest into sales. The internet has empowered buyers. The first few stages of the buying journey happen online. Up to 60% of buyers’ research is done online. That before they contact a vendor for help. Therefore, marketing is playing an ever-increasing role in the selling process, nurturing these prospects, and passing them to sales when they are sales-ready

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General FAQ’s

What is marketing and sales alignment?

Marketing and sales alignment is really about the customer. Most organizations still believe in the perfect sales and marketing delineation: Marketing generates leads for sales,  sales development reps then qualify these leads to create opportunities that salespeople hopefully turn into revenue.

Why are sales and marketing important?

Marketing plays a vital role in selling. It helps sales teams find and qualify leads and maintains contact with prospects throughout the sales cycle. Marketing is about identifying a customer’s need or want. If a customer doesn’t need or want it, you can’t sell it.

What is sales and marketing integration?

Marketing and sales must cooperate across the entire customer journey in a way that’s meaningful to customers. Such an integrated approach can benefit from reducing the cost of customer acquisition and increasing sales.

What is a sales and marketing alignment strategy?

Marketing and sales teams must be in sync to maximize lead flow, customer conversions, sales, and profits. Start with a demand flow chart applied to your sales and marketing teams.

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