Sales and Marketing Alignment: How to align the two for more effective sales.

Sales and marketing alignment is essential to reduce customer acquisition costs and grow sales faster.

Marketing and sales departments often feel at odds with each other. But these sales and marketing departments must work hand in hand with a solid marketing strategy to drive qualified leads to fill the sales funnel.

They should all be working toward a common goal, typically an annual revenue divided down into months.

The marketing team works on branding, name recognition, targeting, lead generation, mobile strategy, and the like. The sales team wants solid leads that pay off in terms of meeting quota, signed contracts, orders, and long-term relationships.

If sales reps donít receive quality leads from marketing, or the messages their prospects are getting are off base, they get frustrated with marketing.

Marketing gets equally frustrated with the sales team for not understanding the many demands and requirements for messages and tools. In response to difficult business environments, I have observed a tendency for marketing and sales teams to unleash a flood of activity. 

Often, this activity is unproductive. While sales reps and managers are making more calls, providing more demos, and send out more proposals, they find themselves increasingly frustrated as sales and profits continue to trend downward. 

More calls and demos will not always increase conversion rates. As deals get smaller, sales reps must apply more discipline in deciding which deals to pursue. Following up on endless small deals with thin margins will only put further downward pressure on the bottom line. 

And as sales cycles lengthen, attempts to shorten the process with more aggressive calling patterns will only result in irritated customers, delayed sales processes, or getting ďthrown out of the gameĒ altogether.

Through Matrix Marketing Groupís research and client work, we have found that profitability can be enhanced through a more focused sales approach.

B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster three- year revenue growth, and 27% faster three-year profit growth. ó SiriusDecisions

Whoís right? Sales or Marketing? Here comes an answer any diplomat worth his salt would drop: They both are. And they both can drive revenue in a seamless fashion. And it will take both functions, sales, and marketing, to work together and align their efforts to become successful.

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How to Improve Sales and Marketing Alignment

1. Developing Buyer Personas (Profiles)

Hereís the problem. Sales and marketing often use different prospects profiles. And most of the time they donít even know it.

The first step is to get the teams together to compare their prospect’s profiles, focusing on the common overlap and where they do not.

Marketing identifies buyer personas Ė descriptions of people or companies most likely to need your products or services. Messaging and placement come from knowing these personas.

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2. Create an integrated messaging strategy

Your content may not be aligned with your marketing and sales teams as well. No one will buy a great product if theyíve never heard of it or donít understand it.

The marketing team develops the messages that best explain and promote your products to potential buyers in conjunction with sales. This message will vary depending on the targeted buyer persona and the message channel.

75% of respondents encourage solution providers creating content to ďcurb the sales messaging.Ē

Research findings showed a need for marketers to reevaluate their content strategies to ensure that prospects understand the value for their business and objectives, rather than resorting to obtrusive, ineffective sales-speak.

More than half (55%) of respondents advise solution providers to ďfocus less on product specs and more on value.Ē

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3. Building the brand with sales and marketing alignment

A strong brand is one that conveys much about corporate values, products, desirability, and personality.

Think of the biggest brands you know, and you instantly feel like you understand a lot about that company and what it sells.

Marketing should build your brand with a content message, test it, and promote it. But donít do this without sales input. After all, they are the ones talking with your prospect day in and day out.

4. Keeping the messages fresh

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A web page that never changes is stale and dull. It will hurt your business in more ways than one.  Your blogs need to be focused on your target audiences, educational, entertaining, and engaging.

Content must be relevant and tailored to the course of your prospects buying cycle. All of this takes work, brainpower, manpower, and savvy people.

Do a comprehensive content audit at least once per year. Audit what youíve got, how itís used, and where to find it.  In the process, itís likely that you will discover Ďlostí content assets that could be valuable to other parts of your sales and marketing teams.

Itís also likely that youíll discover gaps where your existing content isnít suitable for certain nurturing campaigns, buying stages or prospect profiles.

5. Expanding the channels

Ten years ago, very few companies were using a social networking or social selling as a marketing tool.

The smart companies jumped ahead of competitors by realizing they could use these as new channels for marketing. Tomorrowís channel is within reach, probably being developed in someoneís basement right now.

Your marketing team can find these new channels and capitalize on them. But I recommend that you stick with one social channel that fits your business and where your prospect is and then move to the next. Are you using social media to listen, connect, and engage with your audience?

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Saleís is Right

1. Hands-on Interaction

Salespeople work one-on-one with prospects and customers. They know better than anyone what the feedback is during a negotiation.

If a buyer persona needs to be changed or updated, sales will know before the marketing team. Be sure that this information is communicated to marketing through a well-defined process.

2. Measuring the message

You can give the best salesperson a great PowerPoint presentation or equip her with a cool website, but the message has to be aligned with your prospect’s buying journey.

The sales team has a direct pulse on whether the message gets through to the audience. Theyíll also know if the message is not clear enough. Have sales talk to marketing and give feedback.

If theyíre having to explain the product or service in a very different way to clients or are developing their own approaches, marketing needs to be involved to make adjustments.

It critical that sales and marketing understand the bottlenecks along the buyer journey Ė and their underlying causes Ė which enables marketers to develop creative, targeted approaches to overcome obstacles to growth.

This understanding enables them to target spending to eliminate the highest-value bottlenecks in the highest-potential segments. 

As a result, they can build sales quickly and effectively. For example, many new brands face bottlenecks at the awareness stage, particularly for new entries due to the insufficient intensity or creative appeal in marketing communications.

A sales repís lack of understanding of the specific opportunity Ė or an inability to articulate the full range of benefits based on an understanding of the customerís business and competitive offerings Ė is a frequent bottleneck to moving customer discussions to the proposal stage.

3. Representing the brand

When someone answers the phone, work via live chat, or talk with people in person, they become an extension of the corporate brand.

Not only should they reflect your brand (can you imagine a Starbucks barista greeting clients at a Wall Street firm?), they can also tell you how customers are responding. Create a closed-loop feedback system to ensure that the organization’s brand is understood and being communicated right.

4. Content delivery for messages

Letís say your sales team find out customers are using your product for something you hadnít even thought of. For example, Bubble Wrap was originally conceived as wallpaper back in the 50s.

As long as the new use isnít dangerous, you may have a whole new market or a nice product extension. Sales reps will know how customers are using your products and can give you great new content ideas you never knew existed.

A sales repís lack of understanding of the specific opportunity Ė or an inability to articulate the full range of benefits based on an understanding of the customerís business and competitive offerings Ė is a frequent bottleneck to moving customer discussions to the proposal stage.

5. Being the channels

Your sales team is your biggest consumer for your marketing and should be an ally. They will visit your website hundreds of times each week to reference content and message or point it out to prospects and customers. They are the face of your company.

They can also tell you if no one reads your content or if customers canít find your Twitter account. If your channels are perfect, sales will reinforce their power by utilizing those channels. If theyíre missing the mark, sales will avoid using them Ė just like your customers.

Conclusion how to get better sales and marketing alignment

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You must get both parties on the same page or your wasting resources. Start with a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

The SLAs are an important way to define the relationship between your sales and marketing organizations and to hold both sides accountable for their commitments. Begin with a set of agreed-upon performance metrics.

Create separate SLAs for your sales and marketing teams, with each group making specific commitments to agreed-upon monthly or quarterly goals. The SLA you create will reflect your organizationís unique needs.

The SLA should be clear and simple; the goal is to encourage collaboration and maintain accountability, not to add a layer of bureaucracy to your business.

Weíre listening.

Have something to say about how to get better sales and marketing alignment? Share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Are you not getting the results you had hoped for with your current marketing agency? Let the experts at†this digital marketing agency†help you generate more web traffic, convert more leads, and close more sales. Our team knows just what it takes to build and maintain a proven marketing strategy that drives high-quality leads and converts more sales. For more information, check out our†marketing services†or†contact us†to schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs and our services.

General FAQ’s

What is sales and marketing alignment?

Sales and marketing alignment is when your customers buying cycle is aligned with your sales pipeline cycle. Without sales and marketing alignment, you will struggle to improve it.


Why is sales and marketing alignment important?

Sales†worries about meeting quarterly goals, while marketing believes they are the only ones thinking strategically.†Sales†wonders why they have to generate their leads, while†marketing†complains that†sales ignore†everything†marketing†makes.


How do I start improving my sales and marketing alignment?

Seven steps to improving your sales and marketing alignment.
1. Create a single customer journey.†
2. Agree on a customer persona.
3. Use a ďmarketing†firstĒ approach.
4. Track joint goals.†
5. Keep†marketing†messages uniform.†
6. Create†marketing†assets to close the sale.†
7. Join forces on post-sale growth and retention.


What are the benefit of sales and marketing integration.

If you want a strategy that drives traffic and leads and then turns all of that potential into sales, you need a smooth†integration†between your†marketing and sales teams.

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