Your Prospects Want One Seamless Experience; Sales And Marketing Alignment Delivers That
I can’t help but take advantage of Halloween with this spooky tricks to marketing and sales alignment blog article. Having more than 20 years of experience working with both marketing and sales teams, I know there’s a lot to be scared about when it comes to aligning these two historically opposed teams.
They might as well be Frankenstein and Dracula. Sales and marketing teams have been at each other’s throats since the beginning of time. Sales doesn’t know what marketing does and doesn’t appreciate the leads they do generate. Marketing doesn’t think sales follows up on their leads. Ask a salesperson where the lead came from for their latest sale and the answer is almost always, “I found them.”
That might actually be true. They did find them, but the prospect also visited the website, downloaded content and was on the email nurture list for three months. The truth is that great marketing touches prospects in a variety of ways and great sales helps guide that same prospect through their buyer journey. It’s time to bring Frankenstein and Dracula together so they start cooperating and driving insane revenue growth.
In addition, data shows that aligning sales and marketing drives dramatic business results:
- Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing had 36% higher customer retention rates and achieved 38% higher sales win rates (MarketingProfs)
- Companies with dynamic, adaptable sales and marketing processes had an average of 10% more of their salespeople on quota (CSO Insights)
- Aligned organizations achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth, while less aligned companies reported an average 7% decline in revenue (Forrester Research)
- B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster growth and 27% faster profit growth over a three-year period (SiriusDecisions)
Here are 13 spooky tricks (not really tricks, more like tips) to start helping you get your sales and marketing teams working more closely together.
1) Give Both Teams A Single Goal – Revenue
Dissolve the separate goals that typically come with marketing and sales teams. Yes, sales is usually responsible for revenue, but marketing is almost never responsible and accountable for the same revenue. Change that today and you’ll notice a change in behavior that follows.
2) Put Both Teams Under One Single Leader
This might seem extreme, but it’s a quick and easy way to get these two teams working together. Instead of a VP of sales and a VP of marketing, create a chief revenue officer role that is responsible for both sales and marketing. It’s one of the most innovative new roles in companies today and one that matches up perfectly with how your prospects want to be treated during their buyer journey.
3) Run Daily Stand-Up Meetings With Both Teams
Daily stand-up meetings are a great way to get people on the same page and keep them there. Get everyone together every day for 15 minutes at the same time. The stand-up meeting has one simple objective: “What do we have to do today to drive revenue?” Determine what everyone is working on to move that mission forward and what might get in their way. This helps to ensure everyone is working on the same mission and working together.
4) Start Tracking And Sharing KPIs
Once you start tracking revenue-related KPIs, a lot of alignment follows. Make sales teams accountable for the same numbers as marketing teams. Now everyone is working on improving the close rate on submitted proposals. Now everyone is contributing to the lead-scoring algorithm. Now everyone is looking at the quality of sales opportunities from the marketing-qualified leads generated.
5) Use Technology To Improve Efficiency
It’s not easy to change behaviors, especially those that have been in play for years. But if you can make processes easier or give people access to data that has historically been difficult to get their hands on, change can be easier to execute. Sales and marketing technology gives you an opportunity to make certain sales and marketing processes easier to set up and easier to execute. Technology also gives you the data needed to see what’s working and what’s not working so well. Take full advantage of that if alignment is your goal.
6) Redesign The Click-To-Close Experience
Almost every client we work with needs some level of sales process redesign. This is a great opportunity to bring sales and marketing together and look at the entire click-to-close experience. Then have sales and marketing redesign that experience together. This should produce a truly remarkable experience that both sales and marketing understand, contributed to and can track over time for its ability to turn visitors into new customers and revenue.
7) Start Using Lead Scoring
There is usually a lot of bickering around the quality of leads. You can eliminate this by adding a lead-scoring component to your existing marketing automation tool. If sales and marketing work together to create the attribution and profile model, and if they work together to create the scoring algorithm, there shouldn’t be any argument as to whether the leads are “good leads” or “bad leads.” Every lead has its score and the team knows how to handle leads based on that score.
8) Consider Account-Based Marketing
One of the best ways to align a sales and marketing team is to start an ABM program. Keep in mind not every company is right for account-based marketing, so this trick won’t apply to everyone.
But if you know who your targeted prospects are, or if you’re crystal clear on your persona profile, getting sales and marketing to create, deliver and manage an ABM program is going to force them to work together in a highly aligned manner. For more on how this works, consider reading this article on ABM delivery.
9) Build, Share And Publicly Display A Company Dashboard
I’m a big fan of transparency and making key performance metrics, data and goals available to everyone involved. By creating a dashboard that is visible to everyone in the company (or at the very least both sales and marketing teams), you bring key metrics out into the open, and people are now motivated to visually show progress and improvement.
10) Send Marketing People Out To Visit With Prospects
Something magical happens when marketing people spend time with sales. They get to hear first hand how prospects talk and their specific challenges. They get to see how salespeople tell stories. They get to see how salespeople describe the business, products and services. They get to ask direct questions to prospects and learn how they felt about the interactions on their website, with content or through emails they’re sending. The insight and intelligence is unmatched.
11) Put Salespeople In Marketing Planning Meetings
Something magical happens when salespeople spend time with marketing. They get to see first hand that marketing doesn’t get to do everything they want because budgets and restrictions are associated with marketing. Prioritization is important. They get insight into the tools and techniques marketing is using and how those get deployed. They see that it’s not easy generating leads and that a ton of distractions, buzz and influences make lead generation challenging.
12) Include Sales In Content Creation
One of the major advantages from putting sales and marketing together is you get field-level feedback into the content marketing creation process. We do that now by getting sales to provide us with a set of questions that prospects typically ask. If you get that insight directly from sales, you can accelerate the process. It’s always better to get first-hand information as opposed to second-hand information. Knowing exactly what challenges and questions are top of mind with prospects means better content, more visitors, more leads, more sales opportunities and more new customers.
13) Create Service-Level Agreements
This is definitely an advanced idea, but once you have the basic blocking and tackling covered, you can look at service-level agreements. These are typically performance agreements. Marketing agrees to generate a certain amount of high-quality leads or to produce a certain dollar amount of potential revenue (more on that in a second), and sales agrees to a certain level of follow-up, feedback or participation in the process with marketing.
If you’re really looking for advanced service-level agreement ideas, consider putting a dollar value on every lead. A prospect who fills out a form on the website might be worth $1 because they’re at the top of the funnel. A prospect who attends a webinar and gives you more contact information is worth $10 because they’re typically further down the funnel. A sales-qualified lead might be worth $50 because they’re asking to talk to you. Add up all of those leads and the affiliated dollar value, and now marketing has to produce $10,000 in lead revenue each month as part of their SLA.
Aligning your sales and marketing teams, orchestrating your sales and marketing delivery, and starting to look at how to better support your prospects’ buyer journey are going to be the secrets to success in 2018 and beyond. Most of the tips above can’t be implemented this afternoon, and most should demand strategy and thinking before you jump in with both feet. But what I can promise is that if you want to achieve your revenue goals this quarter and next year, these tips and tricks need to be at the top of your company’s strategic priority list.
Square 2 Marketing – Innovating Marketing And Sale To Match Today’s Buyer Behavior!
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.