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How to Achieve Sales and Marketing Alignment

By Jasz Rae JosephMay 10, 2017

aligning sales and marketing teams Among the most difficult parts of creating an effective lead generation and lead management process is the first step: sales and marketing alignment.

When you consider the fundamental difference between selling a product or service and marketing a product or service, it’s easy to understand why (almost universally) sales and marketing teams are at odds with each other.

What it boils down to is sales is a money-in process, and marketing is money-out. But the truth is, while both teams may be taking different routes to get there, they’re still heading toward the same goal: increasing revenue.

The more qualified leads marketing can generate, the more profitable deals sales can close. And the more profitable the company is, the more budget it can to dedicate to marketing. And the more budget the marketing team has, the greater they can expand and improve their efforts. And so on.

While aligning sales and marketing teams is challenging, it isn’t impossible. And it’s certainly easier if you have a game plan. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to get sales and marketing on the same page.

Mutually identify and agree on target buyer persona(s)

Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. One of the best ways to identify buyer personas is to interview current (ideal) customers.

Questions to answer with sales and marketing:

  • What are the persona’s professional goals?
  • What issues are they trying to resolve?
  • How will they measure success?
  • How can your company help them achieve their goals?

Define the criteria for leads, marketing qualified leads (MQLs), sales qualified leads (SQLs), sales accepted leads (SALs) and opportunities

An MQL is a person who has expressed a deeper interest in your offerings. MQLs are usually asking for information closer to the bottom of the funnel. An SLQ is someone who has been identified by your sales team as being ready for direct contact. SALs bridge the gap between MQLs and SQLs. They have been accepted by sales for follow up actions. An opportunity is someone your sales team is actively in conversation with.

Questions to answer with sales and marketing:

What actions must a user take to …

  • Be added to the sales and marketing database? (Lead)
  • Indicate they have an active interest in the company and should be nurtured? (MQL)
  • Show they’re ready to be contacted by a sales rep directly? (SQL)
  • Prove they’re a qualified buyer and worthy of pursuit? (SAL)
  • Demonstrate they have a high probability of being closed after being engaged by a sales rep? (Opportunity)
  • Be designated as a closed-won sale, excited to conduct ongoing business with the company? (Customer)

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals

While ROI is the measurement standard most often discussed, there is another set of three letters worthy of investigation: KPIs. Key performance indicators are metrics used to determine how a business is performing against its business goals and objectives.

Questions to answer with sales and marketing:

  • What are the weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual objectives?
  • How will success (or failure) be measured?
  • How can the marketing team support the sales team’s goals and vice versa?

Develop the lead generation and lead management process

The process of lead generation and lead management isn't simple, and ignoring any of the key steps can lead to poor outcomes. Building a killer process, on the other hand, leads to sustained growth and profitability.

Questions to answer with sales and marketing:

  • How will sales and marketing capture more qualified leads?
  • How will leads be transferred to sales from marketing and vice versa?
  • How will these leads be nurtured through the sales funnel and into opportunities and then customers?
  • How will the sales and marketing teams review results and make adjustments to improve them?

Build analytics dashboards and performance reports

There are innumerable, inexpensive tools available to make this part of the process easier. However, getting the best out of your metrics will require you to chase the right numbers, take what you must from a resulting sea of data, get organized and create a system.

Questions to answer with sales and marketing:

  • Which data sets are available and how valid are they?
  • Which reports offer the best insight?
  • What information is most important to the sales and marketing teams as well as the C-suite?

Aligned organizations achieve 19 percent faster revenue growth and 15 percent higher profitability. Aligning your sales and marketing teams will result in improved sales efficiency, increased revenue, proven ROI and more.

Without a well-organized lead generation and lead management process in place, your marketing team may struggle to attract quality prospects and your sales team may find it difficult to close deals. Discover the 7 steps to better lead generation and lead management in our free guide.

Effective Lead Generation and Lead Management Strategy eBook

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The Author

Jasz Rae Joseph

Jasz Rae Joseph is currently serving double duty as a demand generation intern at Kuno and senior at Baldwin Wallace University. With an extensive background in digital marketing for a college student, Jasz has had experience in nonprofits, a recruitment firm, digital agencies, and more. With a knack for writing, strategy and organization, Jasz found her fit in the world of inbound marketing. Aside from her work at Kuno, Jasz is usually strolling around a trendy part of town with a sesame seed bagel in one hand and a soy latte in the other.
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