<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1021636444570495&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

//cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/32387/file-218630110-jpg/images/sales-and-marketing-alignment-whats-in-it-for-me.jpg

Sales and Marketing Alignment: What's in it for Me?

By John McTigueJul 8, 2013

sales and marketing alignment whats in it for meTo many sales and marketing professionals, "alignment" sounds like a forced march over a cliff. Either adhere to these new rules and play nice in the sandbox, or you're fired. That's why sales and marketing alignment often doesn't stick. It's a top-down approach that doesn't address the fundamental differences between the two armed camps. In my next three posts, I'll explore a different way to approach the gulf based on shared goals and mutual respect (OK, maybe just shared goals).

What is Sales and Marketing Alignment?

In a nutshell, sales reps and marketing staff agree to work together based on:

  • An agreed upon set of term definitions and criteria—for example Leads, MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads), SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads), SALs (Sales Accepted Leads), Opportunities and Customers
  • An agreed upon set of buyer personas, buyer goals and buyer journeys to be used for all sales and marketing strategies
  • A shared library of messages and content to be used for each buyer persona  throughout the buyer journey
  • An agreed upon process for attracting new leads, nurturing them into MQLs and SQLs based on qualification criteria, passing qualified leads to sales, following up on SALs, closing sales and closed-loop reporting
  • Consistent use of agreed upon technology tools and methods for managing leads and sales activities
  • Agreement on goals and targets for both sales and marketing, formalized in a Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Regular meetings and 24/7 reporting of both sales and marketing results based on the SLA
  • Accountability by all members of the Sales and Marketing Team based on the SLA

Sounds like a lot to do and an uphill climb to implement and enforce, doesn't it? No doubt. What if the stakeholders in sales and marketing alignment could see the benefits, not just for the Company but also for their own bottom line? What's in it for me?

What's in it for Mary Marketer?

Mary needs to look at the big picture. She has a job because there's enough marketing budget to support her salary and (hopefully) bonuses based on sales performance. Yes, her livelihood is (usually) 100 percent dependent on how well Sammy Sales does this month/quarter/year. If Sammy doesn't get enough qualified sales leads each month to do his job effectively, revenues are going to drop. If revenues drop over consecutive months and quarters, well, Connie CMO is going to be compelled to cut budget and staff. What can Mary do about this?

  • Get on the same page with Sales via the SLA, and commit to it personally
  • Strategize and prioritize marketing initiatives to meet mutual sales and marketing objectives
  • Focus on the right personas with the right messages and optimize the marketing process to increase qualified sales leads and deliver them quickly to sales
  • Keep an eye on the daily reports and make adjustments to the marketing plan to keep things moving forward
  • Keep Sales honest by referring often to the SLA and Sales metrics, then asking questions if they are warranted

What's in it for Sammy Sales?

Sammy needs to meet or exceed his sales goals each month, pure and simple. If he does that, and the rest of the Sales Team does too, everybody wins. Failure, and the questions start flooding in. Prior to sales and marketing alignment, Sammy was more or less on his own. He might call many of the leads thrown over the wall by Marketing, but this was often a waste of time. So instead, Sammy started prospecting on his own and would keep his leads close to his vest to protect them from other Sales poachers and pesky marketers sending them useless information. This worked OK some of the time, but more often than not, prospecting took more than 50 percent of Sammy's time, and his lead calling activities suffered. By buying into sales and marketing alignment, Sammy can now:

  • Stop prospecting on his own, spend more time on lead communication and management
  • Focus on qualified leads based on agreed upon criteria
  • Close more sales in less time
  • Reduce the number of lost opportunities
  • Reduce the sales cycle
  • Make more money and improve sales performance & reputation
  • Keep Marketing honest by referring often to the SLA and Marketing metrics, then asking questions if they are warranted

What's in it for the C-Suite?

If Mary Marketer and Sammy Sales are doing their jobs better and increasing revenues, what else do you need to think about? Well, plenty of course, but that's the point. Now that sales and marketing are on the same page and moving forward, you can focus your energy on other aspects of your business, like product awesomeness and customer happiness, or even company culture. Yep, you might be able to afford that free beer refrigerator, open vacation policy and daycare center. We can all dream, can't we?

Start with Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Teams - Learn More


john mctigue blog photoWith over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. Connect with John via TwitterLinkedIn or Google Plus.


Creating Content for Marketing Automation
Additional Topics: Inbound Sales
The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR >