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Joanna Swartwood, Director of Marketing and Revenue GrowthWed, Jul 5, 2017 5 min read

3 Simple Steps To Better Sales And Marketing Alignment

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Marketing and sales alignment is always a hot topic for B2B teams, and it's crucial to driving revenue from your marketing and sales investments. 

Of course, it's easier said than done. With hectic schedules, competing priorities and overlapping deadlines, how do you start moving toward truly aligned marketing and sales teams?

Here are three concrete steps your organization can take right away to achieve better sales and marketing alignment.

1) Co-Create A Revenue Strategy

Most sophisticated organizations understand the importance of a sound strategy, yet they often have very distinct, siloed strategies for their marketing and for their sales. The result is misaligned goals and strained communication. Instead of developing your strategy by department, take a collaborative approach and co-create a singular revenue strategy for your company with input from both marketing and sales. 

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Involve the sales team early and often as you develop your strategy. For instance, when creating and revisiting your buyer personas, don't guess about the pain points they're feeling, the questions they have throughout the sales process or the content they're interested in reading. Just ask your sales team! They are on the front lines every day and they'll have valuable insight for you to build into your strategy. 

Plus, what good is marketing if it's not resulting in revenue for your company? By agreeing to key elements of your strategy up front, you'll streamline the relationship between marketing and sales for all program elements that result.

2) Include Sales Enablement Pieces As Part Of Your Content Strategy

Content marketing is a popular strategy for many digital marketers, yet sales never uses most content that marketing creates.

What's the reason? For most organizations, it's because the sales team doesn't find the content relevant or forgets that it even exists. Sales enablement content is specific content that marketing creates to support sales, and it drives revenue by directly impacting your sales team's ability to close more customers.

As a marketer, if you're simply providing your sales team with content that's already available to buyers in another capacity, you're not doing anyone any favors. Sales enablement content should address each stage of the buyer journey post-SQL and empower your buyers to visualize a future as your customer. 

For sales enablement content to be useful, sales and marketing need to agree on its relevance, when to use it in the buying journey and the best way to access it. Schedule a recurring monthly or quarterly meeting with your sales department to review new content needs and to discuss updates, performance and optimization for improved results.

What kinds of sales enablement content should you create? It depends on your organization's structure, industry, target audience and sales process, but in general, here are some tactics that work well to support the sales function:

  • Case studies
  • Pricing guides
  • Client testimonials
  • Product brochures
  • Call scripts

3) Agree On Lead Level Definitions

Both marketing and sales teams are accustomed to working with vast amounts of data. Successful alignment occurs when these data points are streamlined and you agree as a larger combined group on the most critical definitions for successful revenue generation.

Not agreeing on these key definitions will almost surely cause some friction. For your lead management process to run smoothly and for reporting to be accurate, everyone needs to agree on the concrete characteristics of a marketing-qualified lead (MQL), a sales-accepted lead (SAL) and a sales-qualified lead (SQL). Once you've agreed on the definitions for each stage, document those definitions and make sure that both teams are referring back to the definitions regularly.

In working to define these lead stages for your organization, also discuss how your lead scoring model, lead nurturing strategy and sales process should adapt at each stage. As your company and your team evolve, so will these thresholds, so be sure to revisit them at least every six months to adjust.

Want more tips on achieving sales and marketing alignment? Download 5 Proven Techniques That Ensure Sales And Marketing Alignment To Drive Revenue by clicking the button below.

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