Misalignment between sales and marketing in an age-old problem for B2B marketers. It often stems from the leads that marketing passes to sales. In its worst case, sales assume every lead they get from marketing has no value. It becomes a vicious cycle; marketing sends leads to sales; sales reject the leads or doesn’t pursue them at all. The more leads marketing sends to sales, the more the sales team thinks the marketing leads are bad. What follows are some steps to take to get marketing aligned and improve everyone’s outcomes.
1) Sales Doesn’t Care About Your Problems: Sales only cares about selling and the sooner you recognize this the sooner you will get alignment. Telling sales leaders that you don’t have a budget for something or don’t have time, will get you nowhere. You need to understand the outcomes you want to drive as a marketing team and align them with the company’s sales and business objectives. You also need to get your entire team aligned around this approach so that there is a single and consistent message from marketing to sales. Keep in mind, they are your customer.
2) Align Marketing Goals to Sales Goals: You need to understand what sales are striving for to be able to align your approach. This is far more complex than just understanding what the sales target is. To build out an effective marketing and demand generation strategy, you need to know what makes sales tick and how to influence them by knowing:
3) Have a Dialog and be Transparent: You need to establish a dialog with sales. These conversations should focus on how marketing and sales can work together collaboratively. You need to be transparent about the metrics you use and how they align with business outcomes. They need to happen across all levels of sales, from leadership all the way through account executives. A basic framework for topics and audiences are:
4) Give Sales a Seat at the Table: When designing marketing programs and campaigns, give sales a seat at the table. Set up a marketing advisory council made up of key sales leaders and account executives. Getting the sales team more engaged will deliver many benefits, including:
5) Build Processes to Ensure Success: Make sure that the flow of leads to sales follow a clear process, that sales and marketing have agreed on. There should be service level agreements (SLAs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) in place as well that are also signed off on. Some examples to consider are:
Following these steps will help you get more aligned with sales. Over time it will reduce friction and increase collaboration. It will also help enhance the business impact that marketing and sales have on the business.