Sales and marketing alignment is an issue that organizations have been facing for years. A primary focus of the marketing department is to generate leads (among many other things of course), and the sales team has a responsibility to turn those leads into customers. In a perfect world, marketing and sales work in tandem, aligning their roles and goals to ensure that ROI becomes the responsibility of the whole organization. However, in reality, it doesn't always quite go as planned. A primary complaint of the sales team is that they don't think the marketing team is bringing in enough leads to fill their pipeline (or enough quality leads), and the marketing team doesn't think the sales team is working the leads hard enough.
There has got to be a better way to align your sales and marketing teams. There is, and it's called "smarketing." The term "smarketing", coined by Dan Tyre at HubSpot, refers to alignment between your sales and marketing teams created through frequent and direct communication between the two teams, and the goal is to have measurable goals that each team agrees to hit so there's mutual accountability, instead of the inevitable "blame game".
Here are four strategies to better align your sales and marketing teams:
1. Communicate: Clear and direct communication is the first step to getting your sales and marketing teams to collaborate efficiently and effectively. In order for the relationship to be successful, it is very important to share processes, resources, and best practices from the start. It may be difficult to get the teams to collaborate at first, but once they do, it will be the key to long-lasting success.
Here's an idea we've seen to work effectively in the past: Let your marketing team sit in on sales calls and even help close deals when necessary. In addition, have your sales staff sit in on marketing meetings when new product features or new services are being discussed, and the roll out strategy and campaign discussions so they understand the full scope of marketing. Then, to keep the momentum, schedule weekly meetings where everyone can discuss the quality of the leads that have been generated, track the combined team's progress, and celebrate the “wins”. Weekly may seem like like a lot, but it's imperative to discuss lead quality and the follow up strategy on a frequent and regular basis in order to make sure you are on track toward your mutual revenue goal.
2. Utilize Data: Facts and figures are powerful tools when it comes to overcoming frustration. It's easy to blame others when the data and facts aren't available. So utilize data whenever you can to hold both your sales and marketing teams accountable to meeting the measurable goals you have put in place for both.
Make sure your marketing team is measuring both volume and quality of the leads they are generating. Make sure your sales team is working leads at an impressively steady rate. Measure the numbers and hold both teams accountable to meeting the predetermined metrics. Then share the data with both teams so everyone is held accountable and both teams can work together to help the other succeed.
3. Agree to a Service Level Agreement (SLA): At times, it might seem like you need a miracle to help bring peace to the relationship between your sales and marketing teams. But in reality, all you might really need is a Service Level Agreement (SLA). A Service Level Agreement lays out what is expected of each team each month. The marketing team commits to delivering a certain number of quality leads, and the sales team commits to working a certain number of leads that they are delivered. Seems simple, right?
If both teams are living up to their end of the agreement, at the end of the month, there can be no complaining or finger-pointing if everyone has delivered on their agreed-upon goals.
4. Utilize Software to Streamline the Process: How can the marketing team know what the sales team is doing, and vice versa, if they are operating with different information? That’s why you should consider having your sales and marketing teams share the same software system. There are a few software systems that allow you to use one platform to manage your sales and marketing, so there is real-time data transmitting between the two teams. If you use a system that doesn't have a marketing automation platform built in, or a CRM platform built in, be sure you can sync and integrate those two systems at a minimum. This is a must!
Sharing the same system, like HubSpot's marketing platform and HubSpot CRM system combined, allows both teams to have a better idea of what is happening with their leads, from the time they are identified as a prospect to the close of the sale and beyond.
Now that you have four proven strategies to align your sales and marketing teams, it's time to put these strategies in place and get them to work in perfect (and profitable) harmony.
If you're interested in learning more about how to align your sales and marketing teams, we invite you to schedule a complimentary 30-minute marketing & sales alignment consultation with a member of our team. We also have dedicated HubSpot Accredited Trainers that can take a holistic look at your sales and marketing operations to come up with an effective strategy to align your teams.