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How much is the misalignment between your sales and marketing teams costing you?

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Misalignment between marketing and sales teams costs companies an average of 10% of revenue per year.

A lot of organizations are dealing with the misalignment of marketing and sales. 

It was found that 87% of the terms the two groups used to describe each other were negative. 

marketing and sales misalignment
Source: Freepik

It must be complicated to achieve our goals when two key teams that drive revenue growth act as rivals… Can you imagine what could happen if they actually work as a team?

This process is called “sales and marketing alignment” and seeks to foster better communication and collaboration between sales and marketing teams to achieve the same result: generating more business.

According to a 2010 study, companies with strong alignment between sales and marketing achieved 20% annual revenue growth, compared to a 4% decline in annual revenues for companies with poor alignment and in 2021 these numbers were even more crucial for leaders not to do something about it.

Here are some steps that will help you to align

#1 AGREE ON TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS

Only 45% of companies had established a company-wide definition of a sales-ready lead. 

While marketing is confident they are delivering great leads, sales perspective is totally different. 

How can we change this? Have a meeting dedicated to establish a universal definition for key terms you use to track your sales and marketing pipeline:

  • Prospects: This term can be used to signify that someone became a known contact in your Marketing Automation Platform’s database, but they are still not fully acquainted with who you are and what you do. Maybe you acquired only their name and email address from a trade show. Or they filled out a gated content form or you acquired their contact information from a co-marketing activity with a partner. Prospects are at the top of the marketing funnel, right before they turn into full-fledged leads.
  •  Leads: A full-fledged lead is a prospect that has all the potential of becoming a customer AND has demonstrated certain interest in your company through your content. This is someone that has all the attributes that your decision maker and starts to get more interested in what you have to offer.
  • Qualified Leads: This is a lead that after showing the right engagement and having the right attributes goes to the next step towards becoming a customer. Ideally we want our sales team to be more effective when closing a new deal and the way to do it is by qualifying our leads. There are many ways to do it but it needs to be accepted by sales. 

If we are not fully aligned in what constitutes each of those, the rest of the steps will surely fail. 

#2 ESTABLISH A SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT 

Once you’ve agreed on terminology, use those terms to develop a service-level agreement (SLA) between sales and marketing. 

An SLA is like a contract between the two groups that  sets expectations for the quantity and quality of leads that marketing will deliver to sales, and outlines the steps sales reps will take to follow-up on those leads and the time required to do so.

SLA meetings give marketers a chance to really understand how a sales rep handles the leads they are given, and what it takes to close a deal. Marketing should ask several questions about the sales process, including:

  • How many qualified sales leads does a rep typically need to make quota?
  • How many leads does a rep need to be efficient 100% of the time?
  • With X leads and Y hours per month, how many follow-up attempts should sales be able to complete per lead?

From those discussions, create specific and measurable goals for the SLA. Some of the steps in this setup process can include:

  • Define number of sales ready-leads marketing will deliver to sales
  • Define number of contacts sales will attempt to contact in a month.
  • List info marketing will offer to sales with every sales-ready lead.
  • List info sales will be recorded in the CRM System after each contact attempt.

In another exercise, to get further alignment, the same exercise should be done the other way around and this is to get upper funnel visibility.

marketing and sales alignment
Source: Freepik

#3 GATHER ADDITIONAL INSIGHT ABOUT THE SALES PROCESS

One of the reasons for the mistrust between sales and marketing comes from the fact that neither side understands the other very well. None of them has taken the time to understand their day by day. Marketing really doesn’t know what a rep does and viserversa, many sales rep have no idea what a marketer does everyday to generate leads.

To reduce this misunderstanding use some formal and informal meetings and help them to share their processes and their insight about prospect behaviour.

3 Questions Marketing Should Ask Sales

How many people are involved in the buying decision?

The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers, each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must deconflict with the group. This is valuable information to create higher value content, knowing how to prioritize is also a good idea since each persona will exponentially grow the required investment.

What are the most common objections that sales encounters in the field?

This information can help marketers develop content that heads off these objections during the lead nurturing process – before the sales team even engages with a lead.

ProTip: There is more and more infrastructure available for marketing to know more about what drives our customer including progressive profiling, tracking questions from support to develop additional content.

What are the characteristics of an ideal customer, from the sales team’s perspective?

And what does a tire-kicker look like – i.e., a prospect that looks like an ideal lead from the marketing team’s perspective, but doesn’t really have the intention of buying?

The key to aligning sales and marketing, from our perspective, comes from understanding that our buyers have continued to evolve and now marketing even in the B2B segment is fundamental to drive accelerated growth. 

We have seen organizations that make the mistake of generating this “defensive” behaviour just by how they define success for each of those areas. If they are not ultimately driven by the same measure of success, they won’t be able to develop the partnership they need to work on to be successful.

marketing and sales team alignment
Source: Freepik

Our clients don’t care who does what, they only care about their experience with us when they see us as trusted advisors to solve their problems. 

“Coming together is the beginning.
Staying together is progress.
Working together is success.”

– Henry Ford.

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