Rethinking Sales and Marketing Alignment [How Marketing Will Help Close Deals]

November 05, 2015

Marketing and Sales alignment is vital if your business is to maximise profits and improve customer service.

Most organisations have already realised that traditional business unit divisions hinder more than they help and are now seeking to improve internal relationships between departments. For successful alignment between Marketing and Sales, employees need to be empowered by technology. By using systems and technology that make data available across the organisation, businesses can:

  • Improve strategic decision-making, leading to increased efficiency and effectiveness
  • Apply automation to improve audience targeting, engagement and conversion
  • Boost ROI and close more deals

Technology will improve the communication and collaboration between Marketing and Sales, but it can only act as a facilitator once employees in both departments have aligned their goals. Highly aligned organisations achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth, according to Aberdeen.

Marketing and Sales departments should put in place shared processes to align on common revenue generation objectives:

  • Using the same buyer profiles
  • Developing an integrated messaging strategy, so content and communication is consistent
  • Agree on common metrics and definitions, ensuring teams are working towards the same goals
  • Define and agree the criteria for each stage of the sales funnel and in particular, formally define a Sales-Ready Lead
  • Establishing SLAs, with shared commitments agreed upon for monthly and quarterly goals
  • Create a process for handing-off leads - define the point at which the handover happens and how much information each department needs
  • Share a pipeline so both departments have the same knowledge and understand each other’s responsibilities.

Marketing and Sales alignment – delivering what the customer wants

CRM systems are instrumental in helping to support the self-service, pre-sales activities of the modern customer.

“Buyers agree that they navigate at least the top third and, at most, the first two-thirds of the sales cycle without sales.” – John Neeson, Managing Director, SiriusDecisions.

Marketing is most likely to be the customer’s first point of contact making it crucial to furthering the sales process. Marketing will need to align with Sales by passing over the relevant customer information and data, enabling Sales to have full visibility of the process and close the deal.

"Companies with “dynamic, adaptable sales and marketing processes” reported an average of 10% more sales people on-quota compared to other companies."

Marketing and Sales alignment – improved lead qualification

Sales Directors often complain they get poor leads from marketing.

Marketing Directors complain Sales waste the leads they do get.

CRM can help reduce squabbles by:

Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL): Define and agree the MQL qualification criteria and define the timeline to pass to Sales.

Sales-Qualified Lead (SQL): Define and agree what qualifies as an SQL, the lead management & ownership process thereafter.

Track MQL & SQL conversion throughout the sales cycle. Measure Marketing’s contribution to Sales and Sales effectiveness.

Marketing and Sales alignment – increased automation

The smoother the hand-off of leads from marketing to sales and the more efficient and defined the sales process is, the more effective lead conversion and deal management becomes. Research shows that closer alignment between the two departments can lead to:

Using CRM, the Marketing department can:

  • Auto-score prospects and use marketing automation to nurture leads automatically.
  • Push the “hottest” leads to sales automatically.
  • Provide valuable insight on each prospects marketing response and activity prior to sales engagement.

Marketing and Sales alignment – not evil, but necessary

Without closer alignment, lead conversion rates will never be fully maximised. Using technology to work more closely together will:

  • Boost Marketing’s contribution to Sales. Marketing delivers measurable value.
  • Enabling Sales to focus on better quality leads
  • Help your business enrich customer experience.

Discover how to boost your own lead conversion rates by downloading your free copy of Sales, Marketing and IT: Your cross departmental guide to designing a Marketing Operations strategy

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Sales, Marketing and IT: Your Cross Departmental Guide to Designing a Marketing Operations Strategy

Sales, Marketing and IT: Your Cross Departmental Guide to Designing a Marketing Operations Strategy

To ensure your marketing operations strategy is successful, align your various business function to an enterprise wide vision of top level strategic goals.

Download now!

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