A sales and marketing alignment strategy is more than just mandating two teams work together; it’s a finely-tuned mechanism that drives better sales for your company. To implement a successful alignment strategy, you need to change to tackle behavioural change, culture change and leverage technology and processes that drive mutual respect, understanding and genuine collaboration between sales and marketing professionals.
Louis Fernandes, VP of Sales at Uberall and SaaS marketing and sales thought leader, talks about the need to work in partnership: “In B2B sales organisations, behaviours need to change; it’s not about marketing serving sales or sales ruling the roost. Sales and marketing need the same drivers; that’s how you build an authentic environment for success where all functions work towards a common goal and deliver revenue generation. It’s that simple! It’s all about working in partnership, I’ve worked in both marketing and sales, and I’d strongly advocate for congruence of goals that we work towards together, where we’re measured in the same way. It has to be a meeting of equals. And profitability will certainly follow.”
If sales and marketing aren’t working together towards a common goal, it’s impossible to maximise your inbound and outbound strategies; and improve your overall understanding of your market and customers. The key to this process is sharing information and promoting transparent ways of working. For example, marketing and sales must understand where the budget goes and what that activity drives. Without this visibility, they’ll likely misinterpret their spending, leading to wasted money and effort and negative perceptions. The end game is teamwork and trust, investing time and resources in a focused and efficient way. Sales teams feel far more supported in their efforts, and marketers feel invested in sales follow-up processes and accountable for optimisation throughout the entire journey.
Creating an environment that integrates well:
Putting the right processes in place means that you can move quickly and efficiently as a team. Choosing the right tools and having an effective marketing and sales tech stack allows you to create an environment that permeates and integrates well, so everyone feels comfortable and supported.
Historically, marketers used their own methods of tracking conversions and determining profitability, while sales teams focused on relationships and closing. Sales teams could email contact lists and make recommendations to the marketing team based on sales success or where’d they achieved cut-through. And while this strategy was solid for quick results, it naturally excluded many profitable or high-converting prospects in the pipeline. It was harder to measure, and many implementations required high levels of collaboration and coordination between teams.
Businesses with a more holistic view of their marketplace are more likely to succeed. With the insights afforded by a high-performing CRM and tech stack, it’s far easier to shift focus to solving customers’ problems rather than trialing a range of products and services for traction and success. It’s for this reason Account-Based Marketing strategies see such a solid return on investment. It’s often the first concerted effort to align marketing with sales and pull together to achieve the same vision.
Demand generation specialists, Roots to Market, are experts in optimising the sales-marketing relationship. HubSpot Gold Partners are hyper-focused on using the platform’s leading technology to deliver more for customers. Associate Director, Verity Studley-Wootton, said, “The most significant benefit of bringing marketing and sales touchpoints into one powerful system is the ability to create a single version of the truth in a business. By doing this, we uncover a far clearer picture of customer behaviours and the opportunity to understand better and ultimately successfully market to them and convert them into happy, loyal customers.”
Create a list of objectives that you can agree upon, and action them:
Having well-defined objectives is a prerequisite to successful alignment. However, it’s not enough to have goals in mind; you need a plan to deliver. Talk to your sales team to find out what questions they get asked by your customers. From there, you can analyse sales processes alongside campaign performance and integrate any improvements that would come quickly and easily to your sales team. Once you start a conversation with your ideal customers, you can build consistency and brand into the customer journey by empowering your sales team with the assets and content they need to convince prospects, solve their pain points and close deals. And this is where you can map what’s required, at what point, and assign ownership.
Implement a feedback loop for better alignment throughout your organisation:
The key to getting buy-in for your sales and marketing alignment strategy is to give your entire organisation visibility of the implementation process, so customer service, IT and operational units can mobilise to support.
Implement a feedback loop. Tell people in the business what you’re going to do, why it matters and share the results. This way, they’ll know what they can expect, and you’ll see if you need to make any changes. When you share why this is important and how it will make the entire business more profitable, perceptions change. When you share how it will improve your customer’s experience and drive growth, accessing the technical and administrative support, you need to improve processes around automation, customer service, and CRM suddenly becomes a much easier sell.
Evaluate the results, then adjust your strategy to respond to your customer:
Once you’ve put together a strategy, it can be easy to get complacent and assume that it’s working just because you see traffic and sales. However, it’s essential to ensure you’re still getting the results you want by regularly checking your analytics and sales numbers.
The absolute joy of alignment happens when you win! Marketing and sales teams can celebrate success together. Equally, when something falls flat, the learning opportunities are so much more valuable in a naturally joined-up environment, so you fail fast and, hopefully, rarely.
Air Marketing’s sister company, Roots to Market, was formed in 2016 to address this need and help deliver results-driven marketing that better aligns with sales goals. With an increasing number of clients unsure of how to run aligned marketing campaigns and turning to us for expert advice, we saw an obvious gap in the market. Today, we rely on the combined expertise in both organisations to deliver the best possible results for clients and each other; in fact, Air was one of Roots to Market’s first clients.
If you’d like to talk more about driving better sales and marketing alignment in your business, we can help. Get in touch today.