Once upon a time, a marketer set out to generate leads through an array of marketing campaigns. They gave it their all, working with their team to perfect content, solidify market segments and determine the most effective advertising channels so the highest qualified leads could be collected for the sales team. Leads came in, deals were closed, bells were rung, and they all lived happily ever after…
Sounds like a perfect fairytale, right? Well, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re probably old enough – and wise enough – to know that fairytales just don’t exist.
In reality, we know that marketing and sales teams don’t always dance to the same beat. In fact, the relationship is often more of a nightmare than a fairytale; as misalignment prevails, egos erode, fingers point, resentment sets in, and ultimately, revenue suffers.
By now, we know that sales and marketing alignment is the key to B2B success. In fact, one recent report suggests that sales and marketing alignment results in a 67% increase in closed deals (source). But, when the two teams aren’t willing to see eye-to-eye, how can companies achieve alignment?
With help of industry thought-leaders, experts and coaches we provide you with the top three tips for aligning your sales and marketing teams.
Tip #1: Be the exception; think for yourself.
You must be thinking, “How will this enable sales and marketing alignment?” Our friend, Jay Acunzo, host of Unthinkable Podcast, explains it best: “Figure out what makes you, your team and your customers unique – obsess more over your context than everyone else’s advice filled content. You’ll be surprised by how easily you and your team stand out from the average noise just by thinking for yourself and being an exception from it.”
As Jay points out, thinking for yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not a team player; it just means that you’re being intuitive by challenging assumptions and focusing on what you need to get done for the benefit of the team. Intuition is in everything we do, yet, it is often kept tucked away in our closet, where it’s safe.
But no one reaches their goals by playing it safe. Thinking for yourself encourages context, context powers content, content produces opportunities, and opportunities lead to sales – but, it all starts with you.
Tip #2: Hold each other accountable.
Just like an engine relies on its parts to run, a team can’t function when its members aren’t doing their part. If a team member drops the ball, progress will stall, leaving your teams right where they started: misalignment.
Steve Richard, Founder & CEO of ExecVision, puts it in perspective for us: “The first step is to sit in a room and map out your marketing and sales funnel with the different stages and gates to get from one stage to the next. Debate the definitions until they are 100% objective, driven and crystal clear. Then, hold each other accountable! If an SDR (sales development rep) sets up a meeting that ends up not meeting the criteria, then, it shouldn’t count for their comp. If marketing passes a lead that is not an MQL (marketing qualified lead) by definition, then, they don’t hit their MBO (management by objectives). No exceptions.”
Bottom line – we all play an important role in the overall success of a company. While each of us must take responsibility for our own actions, we must also make the effort to support one another along the way. That’s what building an aligned team is all about, right?
Tip #3: Create sales, not leads.
We called upon Jeb Blount, CEO of Sales Gravy, to help us finish this post strong: “If you are in sales, and you run the sales in the organization, hear me; stop whining about the leads. It’s not the marketing department’s job to give you leads. It is your job to run the pipeline. The pipe is life and sales in an organization owns the pipeline, period. If you don’t have enough leads, go out and make your own leads. The marketing department, if you see the sales organization busting their rear end and going out there and building pipes and building leads, then that ought to be a message to you that it’s time for you to pour the gravy on. Just keep on working together, keep on driving the leads into the system together to create sales.”
While sales and marketing may have their own separate goals they’re working towards, the end goal for your organization is revenue. The faster your two teams embrace this shared mindset, the faster you’ll see the benefits of alignment.
Want to hear more about sales and marketing alignment from Jay, Steve and Jeb? Join us this fall for the 2017 Growth Acceleration Summit—a two-day conference geared toward B2B professionals looking to grow their businesses! Gain actionable insights, strategies, and tools for sales and marketing success from industry thought-leaders like Seth Godin, Trish Bertuzzi and many more!