3 Steps to Sales and Marketing Alignment

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6 February 2017 smashdeck Comments Off on 3 Steps to Sales and Marketing Alignment Sales Growth

I have a unique perspective about sales and marketing alignment having worked on both sides of the table. Sales perspective is that marketing isn’t working hard enough to fill their pipeline and marketing thinks sales is lazy. It’s true. Just ask about any salesperson or marketer and they will tell you the same.

Instead of living in mutual dissatisfaction, try these 3 steps for sales and marketing alignment:

1. Set Expectations

Initially sales and marketing should define their buyer personas, together, not separately. A clear understanding of personas and ideal sales targets will lead to less frustration later on. There will be no squawking about unqualified leads from either team if personas and sales targets are mutually identified and agreed to.

Identify what a Lead, Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) are. There is often disconnect between sales and marketing teams about when a Lead should be converted to a MQL or what exactly happens when a Lead becomes a SQL. Define the process, draw out a workflow, and agree to it just as you have done with buyer personas.

2. Align Goals

Miscommunication is unfortunately the downfall of many relationships – sales and marketing included. Save yourself the grief and nip it in the bud. Marketing automation tools like HubSpot simplifies this process and communicates the advantages of marketing, specifically when it comes to desired outcomes.

sales-marketing-alignmentNext, marketing and sales should create a Service Level Agreement (SLA). A SLA is an agreement between the two teams on what leads marketing needs to produce to reach a sales goal. A SLA isn’t a contract. It’s a working document. It should be looked at, updated, and refined continuously.

The process of working together on results is sometimes more important than the results themselves. This especially is true in start-ups. I mean neither sales nor marketing understands how the pipeline will develop. As long as both teams are striving for the same goal – more sales, then the middle and top of the funnel will come into focus. Here is a link to a great article that discusses a framework for startup marketing effectiveness.

3. Close The Loop

Email Communication is a simple yet effective method to communicate with the sales team about pipeline development. HubSpot has a great feature for this. Marketing can trigger an email to sales once a prospect reaches a certain stage in the email nurture sequence. Regardless of the action sales takes next, email will keep the sales team in the loop about what marketing is doing to generate a pipeline.

Closed loop reporting is such an important step in defining marketing effectiveness that if a marketer is not closing the loop in today’s marketing automation world he is walking himself out of a job.

If you work in sales or marketing and your teams are not aligned, step up and take action!

Smashdeck is looking for sales and marketers who would like to be interviewed for its SmashUp Marketing Podcast. If you have a marketing campaign that you are dying to tell the world about we want to know. Learn more here.

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