When you’re passionate about your product and business, you might feel a little gung-ho about scaling your revenue organization.
That’s OK. We admire your enthusiasm.
However, there is a method to the madness when it comes to building a successful sales and marketing team. Adding new members to your team willy-nilly is not necessarily going to help you target specific growth goals, so you need to be smart about it.
Luckily, being smart about it is easily achievable. Here’s how.
How to Build a Successful Sales and Marketing Team (the Smart Way)
1. Understand your weaknesses and set realistic goals.
Making smart hiring decisions requires you to first understand the gaps you’re trying to fill in your current sales and marketing teams. Your goals will help you determine who you hire and where you hire.
For example, hiring Business Development Representatives (BDRs) is a great way to book more meetings. However, if you don’t have a marketing team producing qualified leads at a sizable rate, then you’re wasting money on BDRs. The same goes for the reverse — you could invest a ton of money and resources into your marketing functions, but if your sales team isn’t ready to handle the volume of incoming leads, then you won’t be able to truly capitalize on that effort.
Perform a funnel gap analysis to understand where your current sales and marketing functions are falling short. If you’re struggling to capture leads at the top of the funnel, then you might need to hire additional marketers to scale the reach and effectiveness of your messaging. If you’re struggling to close deals, then you might need to focus on building the sales team instead.
Regardless, the different roles you’re hiring for will impact your funnel in different ways, so you need to account for this before you begin the hiring process. Be sure that your technology and internal processes are set up with a scalable, suitable foundation to handle these changes.
2. Be smart about technology at your disposal.
One of the biggest mistakes you could make when building your sales and marketing team is hiring a new team member to solve for a manual process. Think about how you can leverage the technology you’re already paying for to automate certain processes and stretch your resources.
For example, if you manually qualify, assign and route sales-ready leads to the sales team, consider how much of that can be automated through the workflows tool within HubSpot. Maybe you already have integrations in place that can help automatically enrich contacts. With workflows, you can set up an automated qualification and routing process to fill the role of that human you're paying $50K+ a year to do something your system is already built to do for you.
Additionally, when both your sales and marketing teams are familiar with all of the technology at their disposal, you create the revenue alignment that enables both teams to function more successfully.
3. Speaking of marketing and sales alignment...
You cannot build successful sales and marketing teams without making sure both teams are on the same page about who your prospects are, what they care about, how to frame your messages and which goals you’re working toward as a company.
At New Breed, we’re so passionate about marketing and sales alignment that we’ve combined our marketing and sales teams into one big revenue team. By developing a service-level agreement (SLA) to outline how the two functions work together to drive revenue growth for our company, we smooth the transition from marketing to sales and, consequently, boost the success and happiness of our customers.
Breaking down these silos creates an invaluable feedback loop between your sales and marketing teams. Marketers can use the challenges that salespeople run into during the sales process to inform their marketing content and improve the lead qualification process, whereas sales can use the enablement material that marketing produces to refine their messaging over time.
By ensuring alignment between teams, you can communicate more effectively about the challenges each is experiencing. For example, if your sales team is frustrated by the lack of leads that marketing is pulling in, that might be a sign you need to hire new marketers.
4. Measure both teams on their contribution to revenue.
Many marketing teams are measured solely on the number of leads they produce — but this is a mistake.
It’s OK to set lead quotas for your marketing team, but if you’re not also measuring your marketing team on its bottom-line contribution to overall revenue, then you’re not taking into account the fit or interest of those leads.
This issue had plagued sales and marketing teams for decades. Low-quality leads aren’t likely to close, so it’s a waste of both sales and marketing resources to focus on them. In order for both teams to be successful, they need to be measured by not only the number of leads they pull in but also the percentage of those leads who actually become customers.
Again, technology can help you streamline this process. At New Breed, we use Bizible for multi-touch attribution reporting. By measuring the complex and wandering journey that prospects take on their way to becoming customers, we can understand how our marketing and sales activities are performing on a more granular level.
Think of the revenue attribution model as just one more piece in the sales and marketing alignment puzzle. Both sales and marketing teams benefit when they’re working together toward the same end goal.
Once you understand that goal and how both marketing and sales teams work toward it together, you can more easily determine how many marketers and salespeople you’ll need to hire to achieve that goal. If you know your marketing team needs to produce more leads than your sales team has the capacity to handle in order to reach your revenue goal, that’s a signal that you need to hire more people on your sales team.
5. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your current team.
What are your current marketers and salespeople doing well? What do they struggle with?
As sales and marketing teams grow, their employees naturally move into more specialized roles. At New Breed, for example, our internal marketers wear many hats, but we have members of our marketing team who specialize in video, social media and partnership management.
Think about the specialization gaps in your current team, and hire to fill those gaps. If your marketing team struggles to effectively manage your social media accounts, you might want to look for a marketer with experience in social media marketing.
But again, make sure you’re not hiring to solve for a manual process or a problem that could be addressed with the technology you’re already using.
6. Think about the implications of hiring internally. Would outsourcing be a better option?
It goes without saying that hiring, onboarding and training a new team member costs a lot of time, money and effort. If you’re a small team with limited resources, it might be a smarter move to simply outsource your sales or marketing function to an agency with a proven track record for generating high-quality inbound leads.
Yes, building your inbound marketing machine in-house may look like the more attractive option, because you’ll have more control over the end-to-end process — but there’s a level of trial and error involved in mastering inbound that could become more costly than you anticipated.
Instead, you could hire an outside team of experts to get your inbound engine up and running fast. Although there’s a little less control and flexibility involved in this model, the right agency will treat your engagement like a true partnership, taking into account the unique needs and goals of your business and working with you to deliver the best possible results.
Plus, delegating some of this work to an outside team frees up your time to focus on other critical tasks. If you do your due diligence and feel comfortable passing some of this work to an external agency, you could save an incredible amount of time and effort while still extracting the same — if not more — value from the entire process.
Building a successful sales and marketing team requires:
- Visibility into your current people, processes and platforms
- Alignment about buyer personas, goals and messaging
- Candor about the gaps and weaknesses in your current team
Ultimately, you might take a step back to analyze the performance and ability of your current sales and marketing team and realize that hiring an outside agency might be a smarter move for your company. Your decision will all depend on the strengths, domain knowledge and resources already available to you.
Whatever “success” happens to look like for your company, these six steps should help guide you in building a scalable, successful sales and marketing team.
Beth is a Senior Manager of Revenue Operations at New Breed and specializes in optimizing how processes and platforms support revenue growth.