TLDR: Aligning sales and marketing teams is critical to achieving a better balance of lead quality and quantity. By fostering collaboration, creating shared definitions and workflows, and analyzing first-party data, sales and marketing can work together towards common goals and make data-driven decisions. By taking these steps, organizations can improve collaboration, work with a clearer sense of purpose, and ultimately win and keep more business.
Sales and marketing want the same thing: Great leads that quickly turn into revenue.
Achieving the right balance of quality and quantity is a continual challenge. Even with a perfect ICP and stellar demand funnel, prospects ditch demos, opportunities fail to close, and customers churn.
What often happens when KPIs are missed? We typically see finger-pointing, defensive postures, blame games, knee-jerk reactions, and other behaviors that simply don’t benefit the organization.
Instead of declaring your teammate is underperforming, look at the data and the levers available to pull. Conjecture is not a reliable strategy for creating revenue. Double down on data and alignment to avoid the perils of blame and divisiveness.
If friction and missed KPIs are common in your company, this Tough Talks Made Easy is for you. You’ll learn how to get your demand gen back on track by fostering better sales and marketing alignment and implementing a strategy driven by meaningful data analysis.
When sales and marketing work in siloes, internal dysfunction creates disjointed customer experiences. Sales can’t close the most suitable business for the company if marketing’s campaigns don’t resonate with the needs of these audiences. Likewise, marketing’s efforts to attract the best leads won’t fuel growth if sales’ outreach lacks personalization.
The North Stars of value and revenue should bring sales and marketing together to collaborate on strategy and goals.
Create shared definitions and workflows
First, both teams need shared definitions of common terms. For instance: what specifically qualifies a lead as an MQL, SAL, or SQL? Sales and marketing should also create an agreed-upon methodology for lead scoring, which involves investigating a few data points.
Based on the kinds of customers you successfully do business with, what budget, authority, and demographic traits suggest that a prospect is highly matched to your company? From past closed business, what behaviors at different stages in the buying cycle suggest they’re ready for sales to pursue?
Both sales and marketing have valuable perspectives and reports to share with each other. Sales, for example, can tell marketing more about why opportunities have been won or lost, what prospects have felt or wanted, and why past MQLs haven’t matched their needs. And marketing can advise sales on the content types that are likely to appeal to the priority leads they’re targeting.
Share workflows and communication structures
Sales and marketing leaders can incentivize a cultural shift towards alignment by creating shared workflows and communication structures. Establishing SLAs together, for instance, makes sure that both teams understand each others’ accountabilities and the exact work that makes a lead progress through the revenue cycle. Leaders of both teams should create shared KPIs and encourage a clear understanding of how sales and marketing’s individual KPIs contribute towards achieving overarching goals.
Taking these steps contributes to a higher quality of collaboration and understanding between sales and marketing. At the heart of every good strategy, however, is knowledge of why your campaigns or outreach efforts are valuable to the people you’re targeting—because if that value is limited or unclear, the people you’re targeting may not match well with your business, and are unlikely to be sources of revenue.
To help with this, sales and marketing leaders must lead the way with better data-driven decision-making.
Finding trend lines
When sales and marketing leaders meet quarterly, they often bring data points to the table like:
- business closed in the quarter
- pipeline for the months ahead, and
- lead volume.
Dig into first-party data
Less frequently do they dig into their first-party data from a forensic perspective, allowing anecdotal observations about customer trends to guide strategy. This is a significant reason why lead-gen efforts fall flat.
To determine who your ideal customers are, leadership should instead look at the data on your total addressable market for months and years past. Are prospects of particular company sizes, verticals, regions, or job titles more prone to churn or dropping off the funnel than others? Where in the funnel do they go?
From this analysis, you can gauge if your lead qualification criteria are sufficient, if your target customer types and markets are optimal for your business goals, or if your sales and marketing teams need more training to reach higher-value customers.
Identify demographic and firmographic trends
Identify the demographic and firmographic trends within metrics like closed/lost rates, closed/won, open opportunities, and sales-accepted leads. By doing so, you can make a confident hypothesis about the customer types that are most valuable, sustainable, and receptive to your business.
This outcome justifies contracting the support of a data scientist to parse through your systems and establish the trend lines, but if your budget’s tight, marketing can lead the way. Even just pulling closed/won rates from your CRM, you can begin to steer decision-making away from hunches and towards clear evidence.
Once you’ve identified the prospect types to pursue as priorities, both sales and marketing should research and share insights on these prospects. What are the emerging and relevant trends in their industries? What concerns are likely to motivate them at their level of seniority, region, or company? From this, you’ll get a greater sense of how to approach your target audience and what you can offer that truly speaks to their needs. This understanding should steer the direction of both marketing’s campaigns and sales’ outreach.
When sales and marketing leaders invest in aligning their teams, everyone wins.
Creating communication structures for sales and marketing to share goals, set strategies, and refine approaches together based on first-party data analysis substantially improves how you work.
It leads people to work with a clearer sense of purpose, more effective collaboration, and more confident decision-making—all of which are conducive to winning and keeping business.
Do you need help to better align sales and marketing? Get in touch today!