Sales and Marketing Alignment: Your 2021 SuperPower

Sales and Marketing Alignment: Your 2021 SuperPower

Regardless of the data you read, great alignment of your sales and marketing teams can be your superpower:

  • 8% to 32% increase in revenue1, 2
  • 38% higher win rates2
  • 6.1% increase in average deal size1
  • 36% increase in customer retention2
  • 27% faster profit growth3

Experiencing any one of those performance indicators could turbo-charge your year! However, most organizations see multiple benefits from sales and marketing alignment, not just one.

So how can you get your sales and marketing departments aligned? Here are some tips I found helpful when I led both functions in a Fortune 100 company:

Get sales and marketing talking
Regular meetings to look at data, brainstorm new concepts and review collaborative plans will help the teams develop an understanding of what is important for their respective roles. After building a sense of trust, meetings are a great venue for discussing what’s working and what’s not working. Are there modifications to sales tools that would help the sales team close deals faster? Is there marketing data that sales needs to better understand in order to use their time more effectively?

Get sales and marketing together
If the teams can be co-located, that is ideal. However, in a pandemic, that is not responsible. And in many cases, an outside sales team is very dispersed, so togetherness is not practical. In that case, I recommend job shadowing. Have each of your marketing team members go on a ride-along with an outside sales team member at least twice a year. Lots of great discussion happens both during and between appointments. Good dialog can help both parties gain a better appreciation for what it takes to get their jobs done and done well.

Get sales and marketing collaborating …

On the organization’s understanding of the customer journey
We’ve all seen data that shows that up to 85% of a sale happens before a salesperson gets involved. Marketing is typically fostering the initial relationship through brand awareness campaigns, lead generation campaigns, access to great product/service content on the web, educational webinars, and more. The customer journey potentially has many touchpoints before a salesperson has the first conversation. Sales and marketing need to work together to identify their ideal customer(s) and map out those buyers’ journeys. A common understanding will go a long way toward helping each function perform at its best.

On the definitions of a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and a sales qualified lead (SQL)
I could devote multiple newsletters to these concepts, but in concise words, a MQL is a lead that is more likely to engage with your organization than other leads, and a SQL is a lead that has a high likelihood for a tangible sales opportunity. Defining what it takes to advance the deal and clearly articulating the stages and/or triggers that determine that progress is a discussion that should be had with input from both sales and marketing experts.

On an effective lead scoring methodology
Lead scoring and lead grading4 are tools for identifying ideal customers and those which are most engaged with your commercial outreach. Lead grading considers firmographic and demographic metrics, such as location, industry, company size, job title, etc. Lead scoring is typically based on behaviors that can be measured with good digital marketing and CRM platforms such as email clicks, page views, downloads, and form completions. Together lead scoring and lead grading can help sales and marketing teams identify those individuals for whom your products and services are a good fit as well as those who are most engaged with your marketing efforts. Salespersons will want to focus on those leads with the highest score and grade, as they are the prospects most likely to have a need your company can address or problem you can solve.

Get sales and marketing using common and consistent messaging
Salespeople can get creative and have been known to create their own materials. It does not always conform to the brand image the company wishes to portray. And it may not always be technically accurate, as it will not have gone through any official approval process. It can, quite frankly, get a company in trouble. In addition, it sends mixed signals to the market with inconsistent imagery, colors, fonts, logos. It’s best if marketing leads the way to create effective digital and printed collateral and tools, as long as the sales team has been able to contribute to the development. And when salespeople have some skin in the game, they are more likely to use the tools they helped co-create.

Get sales and marketing using common success metrics
Whether it’s sharing the sales goal or sharing common key performance indicators, it is important to have some common metrics that both the sales and marketing teams co-own. They need to be rowing in the same direction. Unfortunately, I’ve seen separate metrics that have the unintended consequence of having teams work against each other rather than in unison. This should be avoided at all costs. Common metrics are an easy solution.

Get sales and marketing celebrating
With all this alignment, your organization is likely to start seeing some positive results! If you realize any of the successes identified in the initial list, you will have much to celebrate. The teams who worked together should celebrate together. Having a bit of fun works wonders in building strong and long-lasting relationships.

I recently co-led a webinar on sales and marketing alignment. You can find it here. During the webinar, I shared several of these concepts. In addition, Jennifer Scheidegger, a CRM consultant on our team, walked through examples of using technology – in this case Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise and ClickDimensions digital marketing platform – to reinforce sales and marketing alignment. These same concepts can work on the other platforms we support: Zoho CRM, Salesforce, and Act! along with digital marketing platforms, such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, HubSpot, Pardot, Vertical Response, DotDigital, Marketo, Act! and Zoho Campaigns.

If you’d like to know more, please reach out to me. I can offer you a free consultation, and, if needed, pull in other TopLine experts to address your questions. Here at TopLine, we are at your service and would love nothing more than to help you meet or exceed those success metrics I outlined at the start of this newsletter.

May 2021 be a year in which you tap into your superpower!

 

 

References:

  1. Data from SiriusDecisions as quoted in the blog https://cxl.com/blog/sales-marketing-misalignment/
  2. Data from the Aberdeen Group CMO’s Agenda Report as quoted in the blog https://www.superoffice.com/blog/sales-marketing-alignment/. Data from International Data Corporation has measured a 20% revenue growth rate. This was outlined in the online article https://www.marketsource.com/sales-and-marketing-misalignment-impacts-bottom-line/.
  3. Data from the SiriusDecisions as quoted in the blog https://www.superoffice.com/blog/sales-marketing-alignment/
  4. Information from SmartAcre on lead grading and lead scoring, outlined in this article: https://www.getsmartacre.com/lead-scoring-lead-grading/#:~:text=Lead%20scoring%20is%20based%20on%20behaviors,grading%20is%20based%20on%20demographics

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