Aligning Marketing and Sales

@Sabrina | Marketing Automation, Strategy

More than often within B2B operations marketers find that priorities between marketing and sales are misaligned. The complex relationship between the two sides proves to be challenging as both try to meet demand and revenue goals.

The greatest challenges B2B marketers face include: developing the right content strategy, identifying the right audiences, generating good leads, and determining whether developed initiatives can in fact prove ROI.


Key Steps to Alignment


Communication

As with all relationships, communication is key. If marketing and sales cannot function as a team and speak the same language, progress is hindered. Both sides need to be able to understand each other’s priorities, and work together to share information with ease.

Customer Profiles

Customer profiles from marketing and sales need to match as they define the ongoing operations from each side. Using information gathered from marketing automation, CRM systems, and previous knowledge developed around customer profiles, it’s imperative that both sides compare their customer profile details. From here, they can work towards developing profiles that match, tying together goals for prospects for both sides, and as a result increase cooperation and the seamless transfer of knowledge and understanding.

Content Strategy

Content is the vital component that ties everything together. Often however, content in the form of assets, is not used in a consistent and organized approach. This leads to both sides using different content assets for their individual initiatives. Gaps in what content requires updates or a much-needed refresh are often missed. The goal here is to ensure that a content strategy is developed and integrated effectively to ensure both marketing and sales understand the type of content that is available and how both can easily share what’s ready or being developed for use.

Sales and Marketing SLAs

Sales and Marketing SLAs as we know are all about accountability. To ensure goals are met for both marketing and sales, SLAs should be established to ensure both teams follow through with their tasks and continue to collaborate effectively. Meeting certain thresholds and performance metrics, for example, means creating a standard flow of checks and balances.

Hand Off Process & Closed Loop

The lead hand off process from marketing to sales should be clear and mutually agreed upon. Integrating sales and marketing automation tools with this is mind becomes a vital step. Syncing marketing automation tools (Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot) with CRM tools (Salesforce, Infusionsoft), allows for a closed loop process. It gives marketing the ability to reduce the sales cycle and work on nurturing, and sales the ability to manage relationships with easy access to information gathered. The hand off between marketing and sales thus becomes seamless, and allows for a clear sales cycle. 

Lead Definition & Scoring

Priorities and goals need to match up, and as a result, tie together the basics – terminology used, lead definitions, target markets, and scoring. With lack of agreement on the basics, such as what qualifies a lead, MQL, SQL, etc. disorganization occurs, with two opposing sides, and no clear data results. With no clear data results, measurement ultimately becomes a nightmare.

Bottom Line

Opportunities that have the potential to lead to successful results should be at the forefront of B2B Marketing initiatives, and tested to identify areas for improvement. By building consensus with the buying team, and supporting sales, optimal/customer centric experiences can be created. More importantly, tying marketing programs directly to revenue provides measurable success points and highlights gaps.

Additions & Feedback

If you have additional links, sources or ideas that you think would be helpful, please comment below.

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