How to Align Sales and Marketing

Aligning sales and marketing for a dream team
Sales and marketing want the same thing, but too often go about achieving it in completely different ways.
To understand what we can do to improve this relationship and ultimately increase revenue we must first understand the core of a “sales” v “marketing” makeup.
Here’s a STEREOTYPE, simple and one to help us understand then better align.
Sales = Act & Persuade
Marketing = Think & Plan
Marketers are concerned about losing anyone for sounding too “salesy” and a salesperson would rather a prospect do something or get out of the pipeline. Aligning the team numbers and measurement through common metrics will help this.
However, the evolution of software is bringing the two disciplines into one. As this change happens, more marketers should embrace risk in their comp and win with sales. However, sales need to appreciate the importance of planning for delivering quality conversions.
One of the biggest missing pieces, in many organizations, is a meaningful feedback loop. Communication often happens at the C-Level but never makes it to the front lines. The last organization I was we had several factors helping to improve our sales & marketing alignment.
Here are the ingredients for starting a good sales and marketing alignment:
  1. TRANSPARENCY – when something is broken or not working DON’T ignore it. Acknowledge it and put in an action plan to change it.
  2. COMMON METRICS and performance compensation (pay marketing like sales.) Team leaders who have been on both sides (marketing leaders who have sold products or sales leaders who have marketed understand the unique challenges across the aisle) understand the need to have both sides aligned through common tracking and reporting.
  3. KPI DASHBOARDS – real-time reporting and a monthly metrics update.  The sales and marketing teams should be reviewing how many leads, opportunities, and closed-won deals.
  4. MONTHLY ACCOUNTABILITY meeting & implementing sales suggestions for testing.  Create a real-time feedback loop between the sales team to your marketing team so each team understands how they are doing against the common metrics.
  5. SALES SHADOWING – follow sales account managers, and business development reps as they perform prospect & new customer calls.  This call shadowing for marketing will help them understand what messages and activities move a prospect forward.
  6. WEEKLY TEAM MEETINGS (sales and marketing limited to 30 minutes)
    • Here’s what’s coming, what it looks like, what we expect the prospect/customer to do, and how to interact with it.
    • Feedback on those campaigns/action – real-time feedback from sales on what’s working/not
    • What’s happening on the social/creative calendar for the month

Here are several tools for aligning sales and marketing I could not live without.

Sales RACI

A sales RACI is an important tool for helping your team align on what is most important. The RACI discusses roles and responsibilities. R – Responsible, A – Accountable, C – Consulted, I – Informed.
This tool is very valuable in keeping sales and marketing teams aligned without wasting time. DOWNLOAD THE SALES AND MARKETING RACI

Sales and Marketing Alignment Assessment

This tool, created by Demand Metric, is an incredible sales and marketing alignment resource. It will quickly tell you where the break exists between marketing and sales teams. Often it’s a communication issue, but this quick assessment will highlight where you need to focus first. DOWNLOAD THE SALES AND MARKETING ASSESSMENT

Marketing Update for Sales Agenda

An agenda is critical to an effective meeting. Using this tool our team was able to get critical information to the sales team in less than 30 minutes weekly while ensuring there was time for sales to provide valuable feedback on campaign/tactic effectiveness from their position. While there is no silver bullet our Marketing Update for Sales Agenda did wonders to keep the information structured, consistent, and bi-directional communication open. DOWNLOAD THE SALES AND MARKETING MEETING AGENDA
If I missed something, let me know in the comments.