7 Steps to Align Sales and Marketing
My colleague, Shepherd Smith posted awhile ago about the importance of aligning sales and Marketing’s definition of “what is a lead”. I agree that too often these definitions have diverged without the other team realizing that each are using different definitions. Of course this can really heighten the divide that commonly exists between Sales and Marketing. Companies that are using a Marketing Automation platform know that aligning marketing and sales is a necessary first step to ensure that the pipeline is generating what everyone agrees are “better leads”.
MarketingSherpa gave a great summary of how to best achieve this alignment and ultimately generate and close more leads:
1. Get commitment from the top. The marketing and sales teams need to communicate, and it needs to start from the CMO and CSO. Says Fernandez. “The VP of Sales and VP of Marketing should go get a beer together.”
2. Model the marketing/sales funnel. An integrated revenue funnel helps each team understand what the other team is doing, and how their actions impact revenue.
3. Develop a common vocabulary. A common marketing/sales funnel also provides common language and metrics, which is especially important for defining when a lead is qualified and/or ready to be handed over to sales.
4. Look for operational disconnects. Make sure that goals, initiatives, and promotions are aligned by developing plans jointly and meeting monthly or at least quarterly.
5. Test key metrics to track. Trying to tackle all sales-marketing alignment issues at once is too daunting, so start by tracking two important metrics, such as lead volume and lead quality. This is a great way to start the dialog.
6. Create a closed-loop reporting process. Make sure marketing has a way to follow-up with sales to see how well leads are performing. This can help tune lead gen efforts, and is an important way to take qualified prospects that are not yet sales ready and recycle them back into marketing.
7. Share accountability between the teams. Marketing is a very measurable process, but the results are head to measure; it’s easy to measure Sales outcomes but Sales activity is hard to measure. As a result, compensation and rewards tend to be very different, which creates further problems. The better your marketing accountability and ability to measure marketing’s impact on the bottom line, the easier it is to bridge this gap