Sales and Marketing alignment is extremely crucial in any organization. 

This is why:

The first step of revenue generation for every business starts with demand generation.

One of the major responsibilities of Marketing is to do demand generation.

Marketing qualifies the leads they gather and hands them over to sales. Then sales takes over and finishes qualifying these leads and converts them into opportunities.

A good example of Sales and Marketing alignment is a relay race where marketing has to run first and pass the baton to sales. Sales then has to take over and cross the finishing line for the organisation. If we observe the market leaders or organisations who have a lion’s share within their industry we can easily notice an extremely tight alignment between their sales and marketing functions.

But, this is easier said than done. According to a recent case study, close to 75% of all marketing leads never convert to opportunities when your marketing and sales teams aren’t aligned.

But on the flip side, when there is alignment between sales and marketing, 38% higher sales win rates were seen according to MarketinProfs.

The marketing team is trying to generate as many leads as possible and your sales team wants to convert as many leads as possible. But not every time do these teams work together to meet their common goal.

In this blog, I am going to talk about the 4 basic building blocks that sales and marketing teams can use as a framework to improve “ ALIGNMENT”

THE PILLARS OF SALES AND MARKETING ALIGNMENT:

1. Identifying ICP

sales and marketing

Aligning Sales and Marketing starts from the basics. Both the sales and marketing teams need complete clarity on the Ideal customer profile and Target account list with no ambiguity.

An ideal customer profile is a profile of customers based on various factors who is a good match for the products and services you sell.

For e.g, I currently sell Enterprise storage. 

For me, ideal customer profiles are Banks and Fintech customers who – 

1. Have their own data centres

2. Run the mission-critical application.

3. Have a customer base of 3 million-plus customers.

4. Have double-digit growth in their revenues. 

The aligned Sales and Marketing team is completely aware of ICP and Target Account list. They are aware of their sweet spots. They are aware of Existing, Acquirable, Aspirational customers in the sales teams’ target list.

2. Accountability:

sales and marketing

As per my personal experience Marketing is a bit underrated in B2B sales. Often we have seen finger-pointing between marketing and sales. Sales usually blames Marketing for not passing qualified leads. And marketing blames sales for not managing their leads properly.

Rarely, the marketing team is a part of the sales teams’ review meetings. The sales team is rarely a part of the marketing teams’ strategy meetings.

And that’s where Accountability becomes important. The teams need to understand that both are accountable for each other’s deliverables.

In tightly aligned sales and marketing teams, Marketing owns up the target for generating Marketing qualified leads. The sales team supports the marketing team to achieve their target by providing them with constant feedback on leads generated and insights on how they can improve their lead gen process.

3. Tools and Reporting 

sales and alignment

There is a famous quote by Tom Peters, an American writer on business management practices…  

What gets monitored, get measured. What gets measured gets done. 

This applies to Marketing & Sales alignment. In this fast-paced, volatile, uncertain, complex and agile world, if you want to experiment, iterate and scale you can’t do it without adopting the right tools.

Tools like Marketo and Rollworks are excellent tools for improving sales and marketing alignment. By using lead scoring tools, marketing teams can help their sales counterparts focus on which leads to call first.

Tools like Marketo Sales Insight gives the sales team insights into what pages a prospect visited and what content they downloaded. 

This helps the sales team to personalize their messaging when they call their prospects.

Narayana Murthy, Founder of Infosys has this famous quote, 

In God we trust, the rest must come with data.

Accurate Data is possible with the right tools. Tool first attitude can see a far tighter alignment between sales and marketing.

4. Culture:

sales and alignment

Legendary management consultant and writer Peter Drucker once said, 

 Culture eats strategy for lunch. 

Every sales team is different. Every Marketing team is different. And every business is different. 

There is no one size fits all strategy for sales and marketing alignment. However, there are a few common sets of values that are essential for sales and marketing alignment and these are.

  1. Trust and mutual respect for each of the function
  2. Customer value creation is centred around everything we do.
  3. Customer education is not an option but our responsibility
  4. Communication and listening are the bedrock of all the successful relationships

If sales and marketing are part of an organisation that signifies such a strong culture, success takes care of itself.

Marketing and sales are the two rocket ships of any organisation. They are responsible for growing the company’s revenue. 

The alignment of these two functions is always a work in progress. however, with the above framework, you can keep a check on how well you are complementing each other.

Sales and Marketing leaders are both equally responsible for alignment. So, they are in this together even if they succeed or fail.

If you liked this article, do give it a like. Share it with people who might find this interesting. If you have any questions, hit me up in the comments. I am always here to solve your queries.

Thank you!

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