Marketing Strategy Blog Articles

3 Ways to Foster Marketing and Sales Alignment

marketing and sales alignment

With the convergence of digital experiences, machine learning advancements, and a plethora of different channels in which we can engage with customers, whether or not a company ‘gets marketing’ is becoming a key way to distinguish successful organizations from the not so successful ones. More so, the lines between marketing and sales continue to blur as consumers’ buying behavior increasingly puts them in the driver’s seat.

So what does this mean? Well, fostering alignment between your marketing and sales teams is more important than ever. When these two departments effectively work together, you can gather better data to inform the way you go to market, ultimately driving organizational growth.

To help you get started, I’ve outlined three ways you can hit the ground running to ensure your marketing and sales teams are set up for success in the new year.

Create (or revisit) your marketing and sales SLA

According to HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound Report, more than half of marketers describe their company’s marketing and sales teams as “generally not aligned.” One way to help your marketing and sales teams work better together is by creating and committing to a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

hubspot inbound report

Your SLA should define your organization’s marketing goals and the related sales activities that correlate to those marketing goals. It is also important for marketing to understand sales goals and ensure that the goals of both the marketing and sales teams are aligned. Doing so holds both teams responsible and outlines clear expectations for each group.

You can determine your marketing goals by working backwards from your target revenue numbers, using your funnel conversion data and average sales price to discover the number of leads your team needs to generate. (Need more help? Check out this lead goal calculator.)

Once you’ve determined your marketing goals, your SLA should also outline the exact process for lead follow up. Consider things like: what criteria makes them sales qualified? What is an appropriate time commitment from sales for lead follow up? How many touches will each lead receive? Setting expectations for the marketing to sales hand off will ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Lastly, once you’ve established the SLA between your marketing and sales teams, make sure everyone is held accountable. You can track performance against your marketing goals, as well as monitor lead movement through the funnel. Is your sales team following up with leads based on the criteria outlined in your SLA? Monitor the progress for both sides and revisit the data often to make sure you’re capitalizing on everyone’s efforts.

Automate More

It’s easy to get caught up in the various tasks you’re responsible for day to day. And while automation projects can seem intimidating, and may require extra work up front, they also help to streamline things, eventually saving you lots of time and manual effort.

automate more

Examine your entire marketing and sales process. How are leads being routed to reps? How are those leads being followed up with? What other campaigns are running? How are you reporting back on your efforts? Are there small or large pieces of your organization’s processes that can be automated?

Even something as simple as adding a live chat widget to your website – so you can prompt real-time web visitors as they’re browsing – can have a big impact on your bottom line. These chat widgets can be automated, which means no additional work (beyond setup) is required on your part. Configure triggers to ask your website visitors if they’re finding the information they seek. Then route responses directly to a relevant Slack channel, or to your inbox, and watch the new leads roll in.

Follow the data

Do you have a good understanding of how your prospects are moving through your entire funnel? It’s important to look at the big picture from the first touchpoint all the way to deal close.

Start by tracking high level metrics, such as the number of visitors to your primary offer (like a free trial or contact us form). Then calculate the conversion rates as those visitors progress through your funnel. How many become MQLs? SQLs? SALs? Opportunities? Customers? Calculate the percentages for each of these steps and make sure there are no glaring outliers. Does your data make sense?

Create a dashboard to help you monitor these funnel metrics in real-time. It’s important to then share this information with your marketing and sales teams to provide visibility across your entire customer’s journey, and analyze the data to uncover gaps or discover opportunities for improvement. You can even use industry benchmarks to help level set your organization.

You can also use this data to better understand your processes – are there ways to automate and improve things – while simultaneously ensuring your SLA is being met. These additional checks will help keep your marketing and sales teams aligned and setup for success well into the new year.

SmartAcre® can help

As experts with a solid background in growing revenue at many organizations, SmartAcre is a trusted extension of your marketing and sales team. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your organization, please contact us. We’d love the opportunity to better align your marketing and sales teams and take your demand generation and revenue attainment efforts to the next level.