For a long time, Sales and Marketing teams have been presumed to exist on two separate worlds with different cultures, terminologies, and goals. But if 2015 has taught us anything about our universe, it’s that planets are not as unique and isolated as we think. Major discoveries in outer space have changed our perspectives, causing us to realize we have more in common – and even more at stake. After all, there’s even water on Mars now!
To bridge the gap from old ways of thinking to new, it’s essential that your company take steps to align your Sales and Marketing departments. The benefits of alignment are many: from higher sales win rates to increases in revenue.
Below is an introduction to four steps you should take to align your Sales and Marketing departments, including important questions to ask as you bridge the gap.
Step 1 – Agree on Common Goals
We all know marketing culture and sales culture, though different, need to work together. So ask yourself: how symbiotic is the relationship between these two departments?
Too often, each department uses different metrics to measure success, and this inevitably leads to general underperformance. Even worse, failure to declare common goals can hurt the bottom line. In fact, research agency IDC found that when B2B companies did not align their processes, it cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year.
As you explore common goals, think about ways the two departments can share the same languages, processes, and intents. Are you holding training sessions together? How might reviewing your metrics on a joint basis help you optimize your leads and win a higher closure rate? What kind of bonus incentives can you offer to help the departments work more efficiently?
Step 2 – Establish a Quota for your Leads
If you want to hit your sales target, it’s not enough for Marketing to use raw leads as a primary metric. Raw leads might look good for internal department numbers, but will do little to support your company’s overall revenue goal.
In order to align Marketing and Sales, Marketing should commit instead to a sales-qualified leads quota that’s directly connected to your revenue goal. With this focus, you are more likely to hand over high-quality prospects. This will help Sales close the deal more quickly and successfully.
How can you determine “high quality” as you work to meet your leads quota? There are numerous methodologies your company might use. One CRM-friendly tool you will want to explore is lead scoring, which you can use to identify and categorize your top prospects
Step 3 – Create a Service Level Agreement
One of the best ways to formalize common goals is to create a Service Level Agreement (SLA). SLAs essentially spell out ways in which Sales and Marketing teams will support each other.
The document includes concrete marketing goals (i.e. number of leads or number of sales-qualified leads) and the specific activity that sales will conduct, such as lead follow up, in pursuit of that goal. In this way, both departments remain accountable to each other.
To align the two departments, research some of the main elements that comprise an SLA. For example, explore what kind of performance measurements to include in the agreement. You will also want to learn how SLAs can help you plan for a more predictable revenue cycle.
Steps 4 – Measure your Sales and Marketing ROI
With so many key performing indicators, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of big data. Do you know the only marketing metric that matters? (Hint: it has to do with revenue). Once you understand the importance of this metric, how can you measure it and create a successful “rinse and repeat” system using a feedback loop?
We explore the answers to this question and more in our eBook, “Bridging the Gap: 6 Steps to Seamless Sales & Marketing Alignment.”
In this book, you’ll get detailed tips for establishing common goals, learning more about lead scoring, exploring Service Level Agreements, and discovering the key differences between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL). We also discuss the only marketing metric that matters, and how to build a feedback loop that lets you rinse and repeat as you improve your success.
Download a copy of the expanded guide, “Bridging the Gap: 6 Steps to Seamless Sales & Marketing Alignment.”