Sales & Marketing Alignment: 5 Tips for Modernising B2B Organisations

27 Mar 2019 | by Ian Blake

Let’s talk about sales and marketing. While they should work together, harmony doesn’t always exist between them.

Sales & Marketing Alignment: 5 Tips for Modernising B2B Organisations


Let’s talk about sales and marketing. While they should work together, harmony doesn’t always exist between them. As a marketer, you’d appreciate revenue attribution that does justice to your work. If you happen to be a salesperson, lead generation and branding support are definitely welcome. In any case, there’s a rise of practices, like account-based marketing, that require both teams to align.

How much does misalignment cost?

According to HubSpot, misalignment between sales and marketing technologies and processes costs B2B companies 10% (or more) on average. Lost sales productivity and wasted marketing budget cost companies at least $1 trillion every year!

However, when sales and marketing are aligned, B2B businesses enjoy a 67% higher probability of closing leads. When both teams work together, companies see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates. This increases marketing-generated revenue by up to 208%.

Modern practices require greater alignment

Sales and marketing alignment is necessary if you shift to account-based marketing (ABM). This strategy allows B2B marketers to create and design campaigns to be personalised and sent to specific prospects to close deals.

How does this differ from the traditional marketing funnel?

ABM flips the traditional sales funnel by focusing sales and marketing resources, budgets, and campaigns, on key, high-value accounts and the most viable leads. Account-based marketing focuses first on identifying the right targets, sending them a personalised campaign, and eventually turn them into sales.

The benefits are clear. ITSMA’s survey indicates that 84% of companies claimed that their ABM strategy offers higher ROI than other marketing campaigns.

With ABM, sales and marketing teams work harmoniously to focus on achieving a shared goal.

Why sales & marketing alignment matters

“The new reality is that marketing needs to know more about sales, sales needs to know more about marketing, and we all need to know more about our customers.” - Jill Rowley, Founder & Chief Evangelist, #SocialSelling

Your company doesn’t have to stick to the common set up of having the marketing and sales team work apart.

Regardless if you’re a marketer, salesperson or CEO, you’d be interested to see how misaligned sales and marketing teams can set your company back and what you stand to gain when both teams are on the same page.

Consumer behaviour has changed

The way consumers learn about products and services has changed, but practices are yet to catch up. According to research, 92% of buyers start with online research. 53% of these buyers prefer going online to review rather than interacting with a salesperson.

Shared vision

When these teams come together, they understand each other's goals better. The marketing team can learn more about sales targets, and the sales team can understand how the marketing funnel works. In return, they can set a strategy that would work for both of them.

Improved communication and learning processes

Having sales and marketing work together increases transparency. Marketers and salespeople can share and learn from each team’s different perspectives on achieving business goals.


High-impact tips

So now that we’ve discussed the virtues of alignment between teams, how do you foster synergy between your sales and marketing teams? Consider these high-impact tips for sales and marketing alignment:

Tip #1: Communicate regularly

Set up a weekly or monthly meeting. Use this time to share processes, best practices and recurring schedules to be planned (i.e blog content, newsletters etc). Spend time getting to know how you can best support each other. You can have both teams attend events together to see how they work outside the traditional office environment and become more comfortable with each other.

Tip #2: Rally under one “growth leader” (e.g. the CEO)

One of the best ways to get your sales and marketing aligned is to have a leader look over both teams. This setup syncs them up as they receive directions and strategies from one person.

We understand that an organisation can’t be shaken up overnight. In many cases, sales and marketing leaders would have to turn to the CEO as the principal of growth KPIs.

Tip #3: Co-create plans

You ought to synchronise your measures of success. Co-create strategies and metrics that both teams agree with so that marketing knows what qualifies a lead, how many leads the sales team can expect per week or month, etc. The sales team will then come up with an action plan to convert these leads into sales. You can create and monitor a complete customer journey from lead generation (marketing-centric) to sales, to customer success.

Tip #4: Use the right tech

The right infrastructure helps you track leads. Purchase tools that the marketing and sales teams will use (e.g. Customer Relationship Management apps). In order to find the right tools, sales and marketing should agree on the requirements first. With the right CRM, marketers and salespeople should collaborate using the same automation rules, dashboards, and paper trail.

Tip #5: Adopt ABM principles and practices

If your team is performing account-based marketing, it’s inevitable for sales and marketing to align. Otherwise, your sales team will focus on revenue, while your marketing team focuses on lead generation. At first glance, that might look good. However, while they may be working on related goals, their disconnected approaches lead to unnecessarily higher costs. You’ll want to adopt an account-based marketing strategy (ABM) instead. With ABM implemented, your sales and marketing teams commit to targeting the right accounts and bringing them to the purchasing process together as a team.

Over To You

Sales and marketing alignment doesn't have to happen overnight. Both teams may have typically been associated as "rivals" in the past, but it's about time for the sales and marketing teams to work together. Looking to explore how account-based marketing can ensure successful alignment between sales and marketing for your business? Let’s talk.

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