Far too often, marketing and sales teams work in conflict with each other.
Sales doesn’t think marketing is providing good-fit leads and chooses to source their own leads to follow-up on. Marketing thinks sales is doing a poor job following up on the leads they’re providing. Both groups feel underappreciated and undervalued by the other.
This friction is often due to a lack of collaboration and goals that don’t match up.
Align Marketing and Sales Around Their Commonalities
At the end of the day, marketing and sales teams are essentially doing the same thing: trying to get someone to purchase from their business. The difference between the two teams is how many people they’re talking to and how they’re doing it.
Marketing initiates one-to-many communications, and sales conducts one-to-one communications.
Marketing’s purpose is to provide a value proposition, raise awareness and promote your company’s offer in order to bring people in the door and generate interest in your company.
Once people are in the door, marketing should enable sales to reach out to the best-fit leads in order to hopefully convert them into customers.
At most companies, marketing’s goal will be a number of leads, and sales is measured by the amount of revenue they generate, but the overall goal for both roles is to communicate with a target audience in order to convince that audience to purchase your company’s product or service.
Since both marketing and sales have the same end goal, shouldn’t their tactical goal be the same as well?
Aligning both teams around a shared goal — revenue — forces marketing to take more responsibility for the leads they generate and how they’re being followed up with by sales.
This increased responsibility will encourage collaboration between marketing and sales.
Marketing will reach out to the sales reps handling the leads they generated and offer assistance. Sales reps will see how their teammates have benefited from marketing’s help, and reach out to marketers as well.
At New Breed, our sales reps will ask marketers about best practices, how to best respond to emails and to jump in on sales calls.
The teams working together leads to increased efficiency.
Another way to reach alignment is through a Service-Level Agreement (SLA).
An SLA is a contract that holds marketing and sales accountable to certain activities and each other. Marketing might commit to generating a specific number of leads that sales will follow up on. In return, sales commits to following up on those leads at a certain frequency in a designated time-frame.
Having that agreement in place and getting buy-in from all involved parties will help all teams work together because they feel they’ve had a say in the process.
1. Sales Will Become More Efficient
If a sales team member doesn’t trust marketing, they’re going to have to source their own leads and book meetings on their own in addition to selling to the leads they acquire.
Normally, when sales works independently, they’ll go through phases of peaks and valleys in regards to hitting their numbers.
They’ll generate opportunities, start to close them and close a bunch of deals, and then they have to restart the whole outreach and prospecting process again until they close those, and then they start over again. The cycle just goes back and forth.
Marketing will help supplement that outreach process and give sales reps more efficiency in their day-to-day.
2. Marketing Will Get Better At Marketing
Measuring marketers on their contribution to revenue instead of simply the number of leads they generate will cause marketers to work deeper into the buyer's journey since they care not just about the number of leads they’re generating, but also the quality and fit of those leads.
If their responsibility ends at leads, marketers might not care what happens to those leads afterward. If they’re responsible for getting their leads to close, they’re going to follow that lead, communicate with the sales rep who owns them and offer assistance.
Once a marketer starts to jump on a call with a prospect and starts talking directly to them instead of sending emails and putting out content without observing the audience’s reaction, they’ll get a much better sense of what it actually means to deliver messaging to that person.
Interacting with the targets of their marketing efforts will make them a much more human marketer, and the content they create will then resonate better with their audience as they understand their leads and prospects better.
3. Business Improves Overall
When marketing and sales are collaborating and growing together, your business will see one or more of the following improvements:
- Bigger deal sizes
- Higher close rates
- Optimized sales cycle
- More meetings booked
- More leads in the door
- Increased conversion rates
Aligning marketing and sales on who the best-fit leads are will allow them to bring in better prospects who will convert on larger deal sizes, or at the very least convert at a higher rate. Additionally, marketing and selling to the right leads in a way that resonates with those leads will help optimize your sales cycle.
An optimized sales cycle doesn’t always mean a shorter cycle though; if your sales cycle is too short, you might lose deals because of skipped steps making the lead feel rushed. Marketing and sales alignment will help you find the optimal sales cycle length that will help you close more deals.
Since aligning our marketing and sales teams around a common purpose by switching our marketing team’s goal to revenue, New Breed has seen:
- 125% increase in our average deal value
- 38.7% increase in our win rate
- 22.8% increase in our average deal cycle
Your business benefits from marketing-sales alignment. Not only does collaboration help both teams improve in their roles, it also helps your business become more effective and more efficient.
Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.