Too frequently, organizations experience a large amount of friction between their marketing and sales teams. Sales teams are frustrated with the quality of leads coming from marketing, and marketing teams are frustrated with the length of the sales cycle.
However, when both of your teams are working towards the same goal, this friction can disappear. By aligning your marketing and sales teams, you’re not just removing friction — you’re also implementing strategies that can improve your team’s efficiency, lead generation and revenue.
3 Tips for Combining Sales and Marketing in Your Company
Develop a service-level agreement
Service-level agreements (SLAs) are contracts between your marketing and sales teams that define common goals, establish the responsibilities of each team and define the metrics everyone will be measured on. An SLA will help make sure your marketing and sales teams are on the same page when it comes to lifecycle stages as they apply to your organization.
Does your sales team understand what constitutes a lead as marketing qualified? Does your marketing team know why sales has more success with some personas rather than others? This framework allows your teams to plan how to nurture a lead together, rather than operating separately with disconnected responsibilities.
Establish a culture of alignment
“Since an SLA is more long-term and serves as more of a framework to increase accountability, it’s important to have consistent, month-over-month action that realizes the potential of alignment,” says Beth Abbot, Inside Sales Manager at New Breed.
This can look like recurring revenue team meetings, revenue reporting between marketing and sales leadership and even a shared Slack channel. As your company grows, it’s important to scale these processes to best fit your organization's needs. Unified revenue teams will be able to communicate feedback more easily, and both teams will understand how their roles impact one another.
Create sales enablement materials
“A lot of alignment can begin with sales enablement,” says New Breed’s Head of Demand Generation Guido Bartolacci. “As you continue talking to your sales team, you’ll find out what challenges your prospects are mentioning. In turn, this will lead you to developing valuable content that your sales team can use during the sales cycle.”
For example, if you learn that your prospects are struggling to switch marketing automation platforms, developing a whitepaper that covers that topic will provide your sales team with content to use to further conversations, book meetings and even close deals.
Benefits of Aligning Your Marketing and Sales Teams
Revenue Operations Efficiency
As leads move through your funnel, eventually, they will need to be transitioned from marketing to sales. That’s where revenue operations come in.
If you’re using a marketing automation platform and a CRM, operations can integrate your tech stack so that leads are automatically transferred from marketing to sales once they are qualified. For this to work effectively, though, your marketing and sales teams must have a common understanding of when that transition should occur. If the teams are not aligned, they might not agree on what should happen leading up to the hand-off. That’s why it’s so important to have an agreed-upon SLA between your marketing and sales teams that outlines how that transition should occur.
When your teams are aligned, integrating your marketing automation, CRM and other software removes friction from your funnel and ensures transitions are as smooth as possible. Once the hand-off occurs, operations can provide further insight on the content that a lead has seen, their lead score and the challenges they’re facing, enabling sales to perform outreach.
Improved Qualified Lead Generation
“If your marketing and sales teams aren’t communicating on the evolution of your buyer personas, then you won’t bring in quality leads,” says Beth.
When both teams agree on what indicates a high-fit customer, then your lead generation efforts will be more successful. With insight from sales, marketing will be able to produce content that attracts the right prospects and primes them for their conversation with sales. This will lead to sales getting better leads from marketing, incentivizing them to follow up with those leads instead of prospecting on their own.
Increase in ROI
At this point it should be clear that the more aligned your marketing and sales teams are the more efficient they will become. When marketing attracts and converts high fit leads and those leads are handed off at the right time to sales, it becomes that much easier to close deals. Organizations with tightly aligned marketing and sales teams experience larger deal sizes, higher win rates and shorter sales cycles. All of which translates to more revenue and a greater ROI from your marketing and sales efforts.
Marketing and sales alignment can be crucial to optimizing your customer acquisition strategy. As your marketing and sales teams continue to work together, you will see an increase in lead quality and higher customer lifetime values. However, like all good things, marketing and sales alignment isn’t built in a day. It requires constant communication and dedication in order to ensure both teams are holding up their end of the bargain.