April 11, 2017

Align Marketing and Sales Through Better Change Management​


Aligning marketing and sales is a difficult challenge for any organization. Add in the internal process changes necessary for a successful alignment, and all of a sudden you're staring down Pandora's Box.

Change can be hard on your team members (and yourself). But if you go about change management in the right way, you can streamline your organization and even bring your marketing and sales teams closer together. Let's get to how.

Know Your Audience

As inbound marketers, we're always trying to help solve problems for our leads. It's the same for process changes — we're trying to address an internal issue and relieve pain points. 

Let's say one of your operations team just built a creative solution to streamline lead handoff from marketing to sales. When explaining that new process change to the greater team, it can be tempting to dive into the nitty gritty of the new automation, but hold on! The problem is, not everyone at your company is going to be as enthusiastic as you are about Salesforce Flows or HubSpot Workflows. 

To ensure all internal stakeholders are engaged and actually stick to the process going forward, keep these tips in mind:

  • Frame the change as new and exciting
  • Lead with the benefits
  • Don't get too far "into the weeds"
  • Deliver what's relevant to each team
  • Emphasize your availability for feedback on the new change

Let's look at two ways of delivering change regarding that awesome lead handoff automation from earlier.

1. "Hey team. I've built a new lead rotation system that evaluates the number of form submissions a lead has had against the timeframe in which they did so, as well as which content offer they downloaded, and it's going to change the number of leads you get each day."

2. "Hey team. We've built a new lead rotation system that will not only give you more qualified leads, but ensure greater fairness of lead numbers among sales reps. This has been tested thoroughly, but if you guys have questions or feedback let myself or (insert manager here) know."

Which do you think is more effective? That's right, it's the second one. It efficiently outlines the change, explains the benefits from a high level, and shows empathy and availability for feedback!

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Be Mindful

Different people respond differently to change. Car companies don't talk about the science behind their new and improved gas mileage in ads, they simply outline that their engineering team has improved the MPG and made a better car for you! Consider similar techniques when improving your internal procedures or systems:

  • Prioritize the "why" and "what" over the "how"
  • Anticipate where there will be pushback from your team
  • Make your update digestible — communicate efficiently
  • Show the team that they have a say going forward
  • Use the right medium of communication — email probably won't work best for this one!

It's key to be mindful of how each team will be impacted. Let's get back to our earlier example. The folks in marketing may be worried the sales team isn't going to follow up with the new leads in the right way, while sales is concerned they're getting fewer leads than they were before.

Show both teams how the hypothetical system does the following:

  • Sales now has more data to tailor their process to the individual lead
  • Marketing is now handing over better leads to sales, increasing likelihood to close (ideally)

It's a win-win, and you keep everyone engaged.

Marketing and Sales: United!

Process changes are tough, but the results can be powerful. By leveraging the techniques we've discussed, you can show your marketing and sales teams that you are working hard to improve their day-to-day as well as the long term.

These two teams are working toward the same goal: driving new business for your company. By actively practicing change management using these techniques, you can ensure the road from marketing to sales is a smooth one.

Download New Breed's guide to marketing and sales alignment.


Pat Buono

Pat is the Revenue Operations Manager at New Breed. He specializes in optimizing software stacks, maintaining reporting integrity, implementing process changes and supporting our clients' needs.


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