Aligning Sales and Marketing Teams for Optimal Performance
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Many top execs will tell you that their sales and marketing teams are aligned, but what does that really mean? True alignment means everyone is working toward the same goal – revenue generation. Marketing is usually focused on MQLs and sales is focused on closing deals. However, aligning sales and marketing starts with shared goals and more importantly, shared accountability. If your marketing team isn’t at least somewhat accountable for revenue generation, then it is unlikely that they will feel the need to stay connected to the lead beyond the MQL. Conversely, does sales have a say in the MQL process?
As you prepare to establish or improve your alignment within Sales and Marketing, there are five buckets your business system needs to focus on to maximize team performance and revenue generation.
Structure from the Top
The senior leadership in sales and marketing have to agree on a successful alignment strategy. Who is the target market? What messaging are we trying to deliver? How do we deliver it consistently? Support and direction from the top with a well-defined team integration plan, will set these teams on a path to success. Integrating sales and marketing is a big step and one that not all organizations are ready to implement. It is essential that the senior leadership understands how leads (prospects) will move through the funnel, from team member to team member, without a disruption in messaging or a lack of attention felt from the prospect or potential customer.
Crafting and maintaining your message throughout the sales process and organization is critical to achieving the sales metrics you desire. When messaging is not clear, prospects can easily get confused and look elsewhere for services. Additionally, marketing and sales team members can be left cleaning up past conversations and get frustrated from a lack of clarity in how they’re trained to present the product/service.
To establish an effective message throughout your organization, start by doing proper market research and review your customer’s feedback. This will provide you with valuable insights into critical insights to build a compelling message that attracts your ideal customers. Once you’ve crafted this message, make sure there is a process in place that puts additional emphasis on clear messaging. When your message is clear, marketing teams can maximize their ability to develop the best messaging campaigns to attract more customers.
When your message has been refined and top leadership (and even stakeholders) is behind your plan, it’s time to focus on enabling your sales team. In today’s world, buyers are more informed and sellers must be highly skilled to combat this. There are six fundamentals to enhancing your sales enablement capabilities in order to maximize alignment and sales performance.
1. A well utilized CRM system
I’ve seen organizations that have a CRM system, but don’t really know how to utilize it to its fullest. Each member within the sales and marketing process should be using this to keep the prospect (or customer) info and notes up-to-date, to ensure these prospects keep moving forward and members are enabled with the most relevant data for selling.
2. Content Development
Are your sales people even using the content that’s being created? In a recent report of 2200 salespeople, the majority admitted to not using the content that marketing was creating. The main reason was that content was not up-to-date and relevant for helping the sales person close the sale.
3. Onboarding and developing new sales team members effectively
What is your process for getting your new talent up to speed with your process, product and sales methodologies? Do you have a Sales Playbook? Is there leadership or systems in place to fast track their abilities to start selling effectively? Create a Sales Playbook to help assist with this growth opportunity.
4. Sales Leadership
How skillful is the leadership that you have in place for taking your sales people from novice to master? Are team members motivated within your sales organization ecosystem or frustrated by the micro-management enforced from a lack of leadership ability?
5. Customer Experience
What are your customers saying about their experience? Are they satisfied and willing to be a referral or are they thinking about other solutions to the product/service you are providing?
6. Marketing and sales process and communication efficiency
When was the last time you spoke to your marketing and sales team about the bottlenecks and challenges they are facing on a weekly basis? Is the process built for simplicity or is it too complex and filled with unnecessary task that only frustrate team members? Enabling members with a fluid process helps salespeople spend more time selling and achieving higher sales metrics.
Both marketing and sales should be working in lockstep inside micro-teams to develop sales funnels, MQLs and closed deals. Micro-teams are the new black with sales and marketing working side by side. That means integrating your sales and marketing departments to work more effectively together by creating cross-matched teams. If you’re able to combine a marketing, business development and sales professional as a micro-team, you’ll create a team with full capabilities to take a lead from initial awareness to closing the sale with precision. If you can establish this within the organization, you can create an environment of micro-teams working together and in competition against one another. When done effectively, team members and customers feel more empowered from the fluid process.
As you build these micro-teams, marketing, business development and sales meetings will all be more productive with real-time data and objectives of how to close more sales and maximize department success. This should bring all three departments closer together. The closer the teams can work together, the more revenue your organization can generate. Additionally, prospects going through the process won’t get frustrated by a broken system and will feel more drawn to work with your organization.
As you transform your marketing and sales process, it is critical to have a clearly defined plan for how this will play out. Team members need to fully understand what their role is and how to hand-off the lead effectively to be able to take full accountability of their position.
If you want to test the waters before committing to a fully integrated sales and marketing team, you can start by forming a working team of key staff within marketing and sales. Positions should include people that are involved in content development, demand gen, campaign development, business development and sales (whether that’s 2 or 5 people within your organization). They should be seated close together to enable their ability to work together and avoid potential silos. The team will need to clearly define MQL and revenue goals and all should participate in the success for this program. Ideally everyone should be accountable for revenue generation and everyone should celebrate achieving MQL success metrics.
Regardless of whether you are ready to dive in or just test the waters of creating micro-teams, now is the time to reposition your teams for 2020. New teams take time to gel and reach their optimal performance. Starting in Q4 2019 provides a runway for growth and ironing out any kinks in the process. This includes the team members in the decision-making process, which encourages them to be more innovative, aggressive and persistent. Aligning sales and marketing is a key step in a 2020 growth roadmap and when done correctly will lead to increased team focus, increased MQLs and increased sales.
To learn more about how your organization can benefit from improved processes and sales enablement strategies, contact Joel Puthoff @ Fortune 5 Consulting for an in-depth assessment and review.
Fortune 5 Consulting