(From Part Nine of my Book “The Ultimate B2B Marketing List: 200+ Innovative Tactics You Need to Try.” )
I’m thrilled to present the second edition of my newsletter where I share tips from my book, “The Ultimate B2B Marketing List: 200+ Innovative Tactics You Need to Try.”
Last week, I conducted a survey, and half of the participants selected “sales & marketing alignment” as the preferred topic. And without further ado, let’s dive in!
It’s no secret that sales and marketing can sometimes be at odds, but their alignment continues to serve as one of the largest opportunities for improving business performance. Just look at this statistic: aligning sales and marketing leads to 38% higher sales win rates.
You cannot overemphasize how important it is to bring these two powerhouses together and align efforts to increase revenue. Sales and marketing alignment should always be a top priority, and I’ll give you the lowdown.
First things first: Establish Common Goals
The most fundamental part of aligning sales and marketing, as discussed in my book, is establishing goals. Goal-setting drives data-driven marketing and helps determine which tactics to use, which experiments to conduct, and how to evaluate their effectiveness.
The first step is to establish a common long-term stretch goal (“the North Star goal”), which should always be measurable such as revenue or customer acquisition.
The North Star goal is then broken down into smaller, actionable goals via the funnel approach, keeping both sales and marketing teams accountable and focused on what they need to achieve together. Both teams agree on their respective responsibilities and are very clear on the service level agreements (SLA). Pro Tip: SLAs should be clearly documented and agreed upon by both parties. In particular, it’s crucial to focus on the handover process of marketing qualified leads to sales and to have a clear understanding of what constitutes a sales-accepted lead and an active pipeline opportunity. By ensuring that there is no ambiguity around these critical stages, you can minimize the risk of misunderstandings and maximize the potential for successful collaboration between both teams.
Forecasting each stage of the funnel can be very powerful too, as it allows for transparency between teams. Identify any stages in the funnel that are not working and collaboratively make the necessary adjustments in tactics or goal-setting.
Continuous learning and experimentation are key to improving and aligning sales and marketing efforts. Each stage in the funnel can be the subject of experimentation, and it’s important to embrace both positive and negative learning outcomes as opportunities to grow and refine strategies.
Once the goals have been set, the next area is ensuring frequent communication and establishing transparency. This can be established in three ways:
Have Weekly Pipeline Cadence Calls, or Pipeline Review Calls
Weekly Pipeline Cadence Calls, or Pipeline Review Calls, are an essential part of aligning sales and marketing efforts. During these calls, the status of each lead and opportunity is reviewed, and the next steps are identified. The sales forecast is also updated, and the sales team may review the performance of marketing campaigns.
By collaborating on these calls, bottlenecks and gaps in the sales and marketing process can be identified and addressed. These calls help ensure that both teams are working towards a common goal and provide a forum for discussing any challenges or opportunities in real time.
Run (Monthly) Sales and Marketing Leadership Meetings
Hold regular monthly meetings for marketing and sales leaders to strengthen collaboration and address any issues that may be causing misalignment.
Review results and assess the service level agreement (SLA) between the two departments. During these meetings, they should discuss key metrics such as :
- the number of leads generated
- the percentage of leads accepted and worked on
- the lead-to-customer conversion rate
- review of Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
- MQLs that convert to Opportunities (active Sales Pipeline)
Additionally, it is crucial during these meetings to secure buy-in from sales leadership for marketing initiatives, particularly those initiatives that require substantial investments. By involving the sales team in the planning process and ensuring their support, marketing can ensure a smoother and more successful implementation and improve the chances of these initiatives driving desired outcomes and meeting the overall business goal. Moreover, not all marketing campaigns will be successful, but by securing buy-in from the sales team, the risk can be shared. In the event that a campaign does not meet its targets, both marketing and sales can work together to learn from any mistakes and make necessary adjustments for future campaigns.
Spend Time Together
It can be beneficial for sales and marketing team members to spend time together in informal settings, such as at industry meetups, in-office happy hours, or conferences.
These types of events offer a chance for team members to get to know each other outside of the office and can help to foster better relationships and communication.
Use Marketing Channels to Highlight Sales Accomplishments
Another effective way to foster great alignment between sales and marketing is through effective communication using marketing channels such as internal marketing newsletters or customer win announcements :
Highlight Sales Achievements in the Internal Marketing Newsletters
Whether weekly or monthly, Internal marketing newsletters help keep employees informed, improve employee engagement, foster a sense of community, and facilitate cross-functional collaboration
To further improve sales and marketing alignment, these newsletters should feature highlights of the sales team’s wins, new clients, and special accomplishments. It is also a good idea to include the profiles of individual salespeople. This not only helps to build morale and recognize the efforts of the sales team but also aligns marketing efforts with the sales team’s goals. Additionally, highlighting the sales team members in the newsletter can also help build relationships between sales and marketing, as it allows everyone to better understand the people behind the numbers and strategies.
Publish Customer Win Announcements
Celebrating customer success is a crucial aspect of any B2B marketing strategy. By creating internal customer win announcements, you can showcase the important victories and strategies that led to the sales’ achievements. These announcements can be shared with all employees or targeted to specific teams within the organization.
Highlighting the sales team’s accomplishments not only strengthens relationships between sales and marketing but also boosts morale and fosters a sense of teamwork across the company. By recognizing and sharing the impact of their efforts, the sales team feels valued and motivated and builds a positive company culture.
The Marketing Team Should Support Marketing Ideas from Sales
Finally, incorporating lead generation ideas from sales into marketing initiatives can be very powerful to build a strong relationship between sales and marketing, and is more often than not a unique opportunity to collaborate in a positive way. By valuing and leveraging the expertise and insights of sales, marketing can create effective and targeted campaigns.
When a salesperson presents a lead generation idea, it’s great for marketing to consider it and explore ways to enhance and integrate it into the overall marketing strategy. This approach not only shows respect for sales’ contributions but also increases their personal investment and motivation in the success of the campaign. And this is very valuable.
Marketing can also take a proactive approach by reaching out to specific salespersons, including those who may not typically be cooperative but carry significant influence. By engaging in a discussion with these individuals and exploring how marketing can support them in building their sales pipelines and ultimately increasing their success, a strong, long-lasting relationship can be established. By working closely together and building rapport, both marketing, and sales can achieve greater results.
Throughout my experience, I have found that a collaborative approach with sales leads to more successful outcomes. By acknowledging and highlighting the salesperson’s contributions, a foundation for a strong partnership is established.
What do you think of the above ideas? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!