Inbound Marketing + Sales Blog

September 26, 2016

How To Start Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Teams

Written by: Julia Woodward  |  Share:

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On one side of the office, you have the marketing department. They’re generating leads, targeting potential revenue streams, crafting brilliant messaging. On the other side of the office, you have the sales department. They’re qualifying leads, getting the face-to-face time with customers, closing the sale. What would you do without either of these teams?

The contribution each team makes is invaluable to the company’s success. No argument. Unfortunately, quite often, these teams are doing their amazing work in isolation. Marketing generates the leads, tosses them to sales, sales makes the deal. The end. In many cases, this isolation may cause marketing to unknowingly hand unqualified leads to sales or leave sales without the necessary marketing assets to close that deal. We have four ways to help sales and marketing team leaders forge the alignment to this incredible success:

1. Character

If you want to see a specific behavior, model it and others will follow. The leaders of your marketing and sales teams need to align themselves first. The teams have to see their own leaders agreeing on the outcomes that spell success and then working together to bring them to reality.

By agreeing on these outcomes and responsibilities to make it happen, you lay the groundwork of a service-level agreement or SLA for your marketing and sales teams to operate within. The SLA is important for a number of reasons, including that it helps establish parameters and detail accountability.

But this agreement isn't the focus here. First, the teams have to see their bosses engaging positively with one another, asking questions, demonstrating respect for dissenting opinions and respecting the unique contribution and perspective each leader brings to the discussion.

2. Collaboration

If you want to create a supportive culture between your marketing and sales teams, recognize supportive behavior. When members from different teams provide feedback, offer assistance or share information and knowledge, recognize that contribution to the revenue team's success. Recognition is a great reinforcement tool. Use it to build a collaborative, supportive culture for sales and marketing.

Access our Webinar: Leveraging SLAs for Marketing & Sales Unification

3. Configuration

If you want your teams to work together, put them together. While it's not always realistic to actually push your two departments into the same general area, if you're someone who can make it happen, the results will be worth the effort. Pipeline marketing isn't only successful when your platforms are aligned to track attribution from top-to-bottom of the funnel, but also when your teams are aligned around the same goal. The configuration of your marketing and sales teams — or, as many organizations call it, the revenue team — makes that a possibility.

If you can’t bring your newly-formed revenue team together physically, create a space that enables the two teams to come together. Host joint department meetings in a neutral space. Create a dedicated space for members to meet. Go as far as your space will allow to enable the two teams to spend as much time together as possible. 

4. Customer Service

Lastly, if you want to truly align your marketing and sales teams, rally them around your customer. Both teams should always be striving to put the customer first. If everyone adopts the philosophy, then other alignments should naturally fall into place. You can’t build customer success without marketing understanding the marketplace, the client’s target audience and the client’s competition. You can’t build the client’s success without sales understanding the customer’s pain, identifying potential solutions and advising the client for optimum results.

It’s all about the customer. If everyone agrees on that, sales and marketing can evolve into an agile team of customer service specialists committed to exceeding client expectations. Who doesn’t want to see that happen?

Leveraging SLAs webinar recording

Topics: Revenue Operations

About The Author

Julia works on New Breed's internal marketing team and specializes in our brand strategy and promotion.

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