4 Ways to Align Sales and Marketing in 2017

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It’s the age-old separation of church and state when it comes to marketing and sales departments. While their daily operations are focused on different aspects, their end goal is irrevocably interconnected. The main factor most inside sales organizations overlook is recognizing each team’s specialization, and how they can align sales and marketing to generate lead automation and revenue growth in seamless unison.

Marketing encourages leads and builds credibility through a variety of strategies including email campaigns, white papers, tradeshows, referral networks and digital marketing. Digital marketing has become the key to effective inside sales because this is the latest process through which customers research the industry and, ultimately, decide to buy products and services. Successful digital marketing addresses the change in customer behavior to not only increase the number of leads, but the quality of these leads to generate better growth.

After marketing has ‘reeled-in’ the leads, it’s then up to the sales team to close the deal. Reps are expected to develop a one-on-one relationship with the customer, and to ensure the lead evolves from having an interest in their company, to signing a contract and paying for a product or service.

The trick is striking a balance for both marketing and sales to provide the best process to produce successful results for your company. Per SiriusDecisions, organizations with a tightly aligned sales and marketing teams achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth, and 27% three-year profit growth.

align sales and marketing

There are 4 primary ways to develop the relationship between the latest sales and marketing companionship:

1. Bringing Sales Qualifiers into Marketing

When you decide to crossover an inside sales agent to the marketing department, you are playing both sides of the fence. Since marketing is holding onto leads much longer than ever before, it’s beneficial to have someone who can focus on developing and nurturing relationships (that has a sales background) with leads before handing them off to agents.

2. Building Respect between Departments

The main way to reduce the number of cold leads and increase the number of clients is ensuring both teams value one another. When marketing and sales recognize each other’s potential, they will strike a balance to create an effective partnership in generating growth. Having an effective sales team which can close prospect deals generates revenue and ensures the marketing team’s efforts are not wasted.

3. Creating Transparent Buyer Personas

There’s much to say about the importance of buyer personas in the marketing department, but it’s equally critical to establish personas for the sales side of the equation as well. As all prospects are not created equally, they should not be treated the same either. When laying out personas, create clear protocols for how the sales team so should interact with them.

Various levels of personas should include:

  • Lead
  • Marketing qualified lead
  • Sales qualified lead
  • Opportunity

For example, when engaging with a senior level persona (such as a CEO), we know that a specific set of questions should be cued up, and we need to understand that persona may not need an explanation of the whole decision process given their level of expertise.

4. Nurturing Campaigns

An important designation for campaigns is whether the prospect is being actively engaged with an agent. Leads that are being managed need to have nurturing campaigns that connect with the issues the rep is working. Those prospects that are in long-term nurturing programs should receive more campaigns geared to start a conversation and close the deal.

The main takeaway is that marketing can no longer just hand over leads to sales. Both teams must be involved in the entire process, producing informational materials to help reps address prospects’ objects to nudge them down the funnel. For your organization to be successful this year, it’s imperative that marketing and sales adopt a few fundamental changes, including bringing more transparency to the table. When marketing and sales teams are coordinated, companies became 67% better at closing deals, per Marketo. While it may be hard at first, these changes are critical for an effective inside sales strategy. Ultimately, this will help you sell more, run smoother alignment between teams and create the all-important sales-marketing fit for business success.

For a more comprehensive look at how to align sales and marketing to increase revenue, read our white paper “Sales and Marketing Alignment.”