Sales and marketing alignment

I can’t emphasise enough how the alignment of your sales and marketing teams is a must for any business. Now, I know your business will have set methods of working and any change is always met with resistance, but this shouldn’t matter or influence the decision. If you have the option of understanding your customers better while increasing your efficiency and revenue, surely it’s a no-brainer to align your sales and marketing teams?

Change your approach

If you’re still focused on quantity, then the likely scenario will be focused on filling your pipeline with X number of leads, and your sales team will be focused on making X number of calls per day in a bid to convert those leads.

This worked to a degree back in the day, but times have changed and so has the consumer. This tactic, which we covered when we flipped the funnel earlier, doesn’t focus on the quality of leads, and marketing and sales are more focused on their individual goals. The outcome is usually disruptive, and can annoy prospects.

Stop the blame game

There has always been a battle between sales and marketing which ultimately concerns blaming each other for the failure of any ROI or lost conversions.

The blame game will notably come from having KPIs that are not aligned, short-term targets that don’t align with long-term objectives, no collaborative thinking, and the approach to activity, to name a few. 

So, what’s the answer?

Align your sales and marketing. Ditch the old school way of thinking and let your teams work together. Align their roles and goals so ROI becomes the key focus and responsibility for your whole business, and not on individual teams.

This is where ABM comes into play, and if practiced correctly, can help you to align your sales and marketing teams so they are working as one cohesive unit.

Businesses that have aligned sales and marketing departments have an increased annual revenue growth of 32% (Topo). By aligning your sales and marketing, you can shorten the sales cycle because everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.

70% of buying decisions are made before a prospect even gets on the phone with a salesperson (Topo). Sales can provide marketing teams with key insight into the market and customer, because who else is going to know them better than the people who engage with them daily. Marketing can then take this key insight and create tailored content as part of a strategic approach that is focused on producing quality leads.

As mentioned earlier, it’s about aligning their roles and responsibilities, which I know is no easy task. I’ve implemented ABM campaigns and worked with sales and marketing teams from the UK to the Silicon Valley and it's never a walk in the park as you have two teams who are used to working in silos, who are all of a sudden expected to work as one, which is unrealistic.

From experience, you need to ease teams together and get their buy in first. It’s hard work breaking old habits, but I would try to embark on the following: 

Team workshops

Get the teams together regularly to review marketing and sales approaches. This gives you a perfect opportunity to frame the conversations and get the teams talking. You can highlight the key elements of which the vast majority are in this book, but at a top level you could look at how the buyer has evolved in their expectations and how we now communicate, build trust and engage. They will soon see that a new approach is needed, and that ABM fits the bill. 

Target Accounts

Encourage the team to create a list of target accounts together. This will allow them to look for overlaps and create a clear picture of what is an ideal account. Off the back of this, they should start to have conversations around lead scoring systems. 

Personas

Marketing need insight, so work with sales and start to create some solid personas with their help and input. This process is all about the details. While marketing can get the basics, the real insights are held by sales, so again this exercise is great to get the teams interacting and collaborating as one. 

Content

Marketing has the data on which pieces perform the best in a digital world, but sales will again have the insight as to which actually work with real people when it comes to conversations, meetings and closing that account. Get them working as one when it comes to creating content plans, researching subject matters and creating an authentic tone of voice. 

Integration

All of the principles of ABM can and should be applied to your multi-channel strategy tactics and outreach. Be it pushing out content via your blog, social channels, PR and email to the sales demos to calls and emails, it all needs to be integrated. This will help you influence the culture of your business and mindset of your teams to appeal to the customers of today. 

Being Human - Marketing & Social Selling in a Digital World

This is a snippet from my book, “Being Human: How to Sell in a Digital World”, which is available via Amazon. I hope you found this of use.

Still need some guidance? That’s what I’m here for. I’m always happy to have virtual coffees to offer my advice and support.

Sud Kumar

Marketing Director

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