Best Sales and Marketing Alignment Tips
Sales and marketing alignment is one of the most important things you can do for your business in the digital age. This helps to bring the teams closer together, and streamline their work towards a common goal.
Although marketing and sales are two unique departments, their alignment will help to facilitate greater production and development for both aspects.
Ultimately, all facets of a company work to grow the organization through their various goals. Siloing departments are no longer seen as the ideal way to improve outputs. Growth and development need to occur together, for the mutual benefit of all.
There are a number of ways that you can go about aligning your teams. Some methods are more intentional and rigid than others, and some let it happen organically. There are pros and cons to both styles, depending on your company.
10 Best Tips on Aligning Sales and Marketing
Here are the top 10 tips for sales and marketing alignment:
1. Agree on an ICP
It is imperative that your sales and marketing teams collectively agree on an ideal customer profile (ICP). It is entirely possible that different departments will have contrasting ideas about characteristics for your ICP, so this needs to be figured out together. These characteristics need to be relevant for your entire company, not just one team.
One of the best ways to determine your company’s ICP is to have each department individually work out their ideal ICP. This can be done through a questionnaire that clearly defines ideal characteristics.
Then collectively, each team can share their results to create an ICP that is the result of compromise and benefit to the whole company, not just their specific focus.
2. Establish communication between Sales and Marketing teams
Almost all “Software as a Service” (SaaS) companies experience a silo mentality between different departments, including their sales and marketing teams. In traditional industries, these were seen as separate entities.
However when it comes to account-based marketing (ABM), the more communication, the better the results.
It’s imperative to encourage communication and the facilitation of sharing information between these two departments. Do this by scheduling meetings together, encouraging team bonding, and facilitating communication channels that all teams can access.
3. Full transparency
When sales and marketing teams are both working on an account, there should be complete transparency between the two groups. Facilitate shared access to separate quarterly plans, goals, and important discussions, so that everyone is on the same page.
Marketing should be aware of how many opportunities the sales team requires for any particular month. This provides them with the insight necessary to provide appropriate support and resources. Conversely, sales should be aware of the lead generation plans for certain accounts from marketing. They can, in turn, provide the necessary support to the marketing team.
This can occur in a number of different ways and will depend on your teams, and relative projects. But sharing all necessary information through online tools or through meetings will keep everyone in the loop. It is highly likely that information won’t overlap much, but it will make the world of difference when it does.
4. Learn to speak the same language
In traditional funnel marketing, a qualified lead is considered to be a marketing qualified lead (MQL). But ABM works at an accounts level and focuses primarily on marketing qualified accounts (MQA). The difference between these two concepts must be understood, to ensure that engagement is being tracked appropriately on both sides.
Engage your teams in regular training sessions to ensure that all teams are fully aware of what they are working towards. Define “meaningful engagement”, and allow your teams to come up with their own definitions, and then agree on a common meaning.
This needs to go beyond just meeting the needs of a client in a way that results in a sale. This helps people to understand if they are qualified to appropriately support a project.
Make sure that your sales messages are using appropriate language that can be understood by both teams, but also by the clients. Ensure that all pitches match what they are looking for and that all parties are talking about the same goals.
5. Put yourself in each others’ shoes
In order to truly understand the mindset of someone else, you must be willing to see things from their perspective. The best way to do this is to have someone from each team sit in on opposing meetings and crucial calls.
Allow them the time and space to discuss whether marketing strategies align with the goals of the sales team. Let them determine whether the sales team are over promising or under promising, based on the abilities of the marketing team.
When one team understands the expectations of the other, they are far more likely to provide the necessary support. This allows both teams to flourish.
6. Work towards the same goals
Your sales and marketing teams should be working towards the same overarching goals for your company, regardless of specific objectives. They both have different but equally important roles to play when creating and utilizing funnels.
It is necessary that both teams are represented when discussing future plans and goals, to ensure that both sides are fully on-board. Create an integrated team, comprised of a salesperson and a marketer who can meet and discuss their specific team’s goals.
This helps each team align themselves on the same path and provide the assistance that both teams need to succeed. This team can also discuss the best ways to integrate so that both teams benefit without reducing individual successes.
7. Let both teams in on revenue meetings
Marketing and sales teams are both ultimately working towards increasing the revenue for a company. Allow members from each team to sit in on these meetings. This allows space for each team to be represented, and offer relevant input.
It also provides opportunities for teams to understand how to offer support in the pursuit of common and unique goals.
Giving your team the opportunity to see how their work fits into the wider scheme of things can reinvigorate staff. Teams can directly exchange ideas and feedback, with immediate gratification. Revenue objectives can be discussed and agreed upon by both teams, making it easier to move forward.
8. Create incentives for your team
Both of your teams should essentially be working towards the same incentives. Creating common goals that both teams can work towards will streamline their efforts, and help to make your business grow.
Aligned incentives can help both teams understand the bigger picture they are working towards, not just specific goals. They are part of a bigger collective, and success is based upon everyone, not just them. Winning together often leads to larger gains, as opposed to personal victories.
Develop a healthy mix of separate and aligned incentives that bring your teams together, but still enable them to shine separately. How this looks will depend entirely on your company.
9. Set engagement goals
Make it a priority for your teams to work together on meaningful engagement. Engagement goals will help to facilitate stronger ties between sales and marketing, for mutual benefit to both teams. By making it a focus, staff may be more inclined to diversify their perspectives.
Ideal engagement may look different, depending on their perspectives. If both of your teams establish what winning engagement looks like, they can both strive towards this. This will help them work together to produce successful results in both marketing and sales.
10. Hire staff with diverse backgrounds
It is also helpful to hire marketing managers with strong sales backgrounds (or sales managers with a strong marketing background). They have experience working under a different set of goals and procedures, with a broader understanding.
This can help to bring the work of their team closer to the other team. Ultimately good leadership is not just about how well you can push staff, but how well you understand them.
Sales and marketing are two separate and different fields, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Selecting leaders who are aware of this enables them to encourage staff to think that way as well.
There are company-wide benefits to streamlining marketing and sales teams. Their unique purposes can be utilized in tandem to further increase interaction with target accounts, and closing sales. There are a number of ways that these two departments can become aligned, without detracting from their unique tasks. Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy that is used to help align sales and marketing. It aims to focus time and effort on leads that are more likely to become a sale. It is the process of personalizing a product or service to these target accounts, increasing the chance they will buy.
Here are ten broad suggestions, but alternative methods may work better for your company. What is most important is that your staff see the value in integration, and actively work towards alignment as well. If they value the change, however it plays out, they are more likely to enact it.
If you are looking to make a shift from traditional B2B marketing to ABM, Vertex Marketing Agency is here to help. We have experience as a consulting agency, helping other organizations make the shift to department alignment according to ABM principles. We can help you to maximize the potential of your sales and marketing teams, for better results all around.