If you haven’t got your B2B sales and marketing teams aligned yet, you’re missing out on a wide range of benefits – and most importantly, more revenue.
As we race towards 2022, make achieving sales and marketing alignment your new year’s resolution. In this article, we’ll look at seven ways to do it. But first, let’s look at the theory behind sales and marketing alignment.
Why B2B companies need aligned sales and marketing teams
Traditionally, a company’s B2B marketing and sales teams would work in silos, separate from each other.
However, with both teams essentially working on the same process (turning strangers into customers), it became clear that they could achieve more by working together.
When you get your sales and marketing teams aligned, you will see:
- Better quality B2B leads coming into the organisation and moving through the sales process.
- A simpler workflow with more collaboration, enabling you to work towards common goals.
- A shorter sales cycle, more closed-won deals and more revenue.
B2B organisations that have aligned their sales and marketing teams have seen the difference. Check out these stats:
- A LinkedIn survey found that 87% of sales and marketing leaders believe collaboration between marketing and sales teams enables critical business growth.
- In this survey, 94% of top-performing salespeople called the marketing leads they receive either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.
- Research by Aberdeen Group found that achieving sales and marketing alignment could increase your revenue by up to 32% year-on-year.
Problems that sales and marketing alignment can solve
Alignment between your sales and marketing teams can solve several challenges that slow your growth.
First of all, it can solve the problem of ineffective messaging. Marketers may think they know what resonates with prospects, but it’s the sales team that’s on the frontline talking to them every day. Collaboration can make sure the content that marketers create meets the needs of the marketplace.
Alignment can also make both teams more efficient and productive. For example, the point at which marketing hands leads over to sales used to be a grey area. By working together, you can define where exactly that point is, so the sales team can move faster to close the deal.
It also makes for a more harmonious workplace, eliminating the points of tension that used to occur as sales and marketing teams fought over leads, budget and credit for achievements.
Now, let’s look at seven sales and marketing alignment best practices.
1 – Share goals and KPIs
Alignment can only happen when both teams are working towards the same goals. It’s in their nature that teams will focus on their targets above everything else, so make sure that you get them working together.
The most common target for aligned sales and marketing teams is revenue. By focusing on revenue, you ensure that marketing generates leads that are more likely to buy, while your sales team will move fast to win deals.
2 – Know your buyers
When sales and marketing teams are siloed, you may find that they focus on different audiences, with marketing creating content for one group and sales reaching out to another.
Get your teams together to define the buyer personas that matter. Marketing has the data, while sales has the inside knowledge that comes from the frontline. Together, you can work out precisely who you want to target and then craft messages that resonate.
3 – Map out your sales process
As mentioned before, the handoff of a lead between marketing and sales can be a point of disagreement. Between your aligned teams, work out what a perfect handover looks like.
Pinpoint the exact moment that a lead moves from marketing’s responsibility to that of the sales team. Assign responsibility for the handover, to make it as smooth as possible for the prospect and fast enough for the sales team to take action.
4 – Agree on roles and responsibilities
Once your teams are working together towards a common goal, look at your customer journey and assign responsibilities for each step of the process.
When you have someone who knows they’re responsible for a specific stage of the journey, it’s easier for them to identify ways to improve. They can also take on feedback from other people on the aligned team.
5 – Audit your tech stack
Aligned teams should be working wherever possible on the same tech platforms; this enables better information sharing and insight.
Look for ways you can unite both teams around tech, for example:
- Give marketers access to sales call recordings to improve their customer knowledge.
- Allow SDRs access to the content calendar so they can make use of relevant content in their outreach.
- Bring in sales intelligence platforms that bring benefit to both teams and boost collaboration.
6 – Improve communication
Successful sales and marketing alignment can only happen when both teams communicate with each other transparently. Nothing works if teams are keeping information to themselves.
So, make it simple. Centralise all your documentation in one shared drive or folder, so everyone knows where the information is and can access it easily.
Pro-tip: set up a sales/marketing Slack channel for real-time collaboration.
7 – Meet regularly
There’s nothing like face-to-face connections to boost sales and marketing alignment. Get your teams meeting regularly (either in the office or on Zoom) and avoid slipping into those old siloed ways.
At sales and marketing team meetings, have members of both teams share what they’re working on, including forthcoming content and marketing campaigns. Both teams should also share success stories, so everyone can see how their hard work is paying off.
Good luck with all your sales and marketing alignment efforts in 2022!
Connect with Cognism
For the best in B2B sales and marketing content, make sure you follow Cognism on LinkedIn.
Andrej Fedek is a digital marketer. He recently started his own blog about digital marketing called InterCool Studio. His passion is to help startups grow and thrive in a competitive environment.