How to Align Sales and Marketing Teams

Once a lead begins your buyer’s journey, they advance through multiple phases: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight. Attracting and converting clients fall under the scope of the marketing team, whereas the sales reps focus on the Close part. Meanwhile, the delight part is the company’s responsibility. However, without the sales and marketing alignment, the leads would not have gone through all these stages and may have been lost. The marketing professionals alert the sales reps to close a lead at the right time. Without proper collaboration, the lead could get confused and leave, which could have cost your organization.

Both the sales and marketing teams have to align to fulfill a common goal: improve your organization’s revenue. It’s crucial that your sales and marketing teams become best friends so there are higher conversions, less confusion, and higher efficiency.

It often happens though that sales and marketing teams work in silos. Still, there are ways to make sure them communicate and collaborate better with each other. Let’s delve into them.

Align sales and marketing teams on reaching the same goals

Every company focuses on the same goal i.e. driving more business. It is met when they earn more money or new clients come aboard.

For instance, if you offer monthly services, such as web design services, your goal might be to get 5-10 clients per month. For some companies, a new client is as good as a monetary goal.

What you can do is to make this a shared goal for both the sales and marketing team. This will encourage them to work closely on achieving that instead of focusing each on their own KPIs.

Service level agreement

If sales and marketing are to align on a revenue goal, they must have a well-defined part. This goal can be achieved if both know how to work backwards. They have to get the hang of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs), particularly how many of them are needed and what makes a sales-ready lead.

For instance, consider your organization has set a revenue goal of $200,000. The average deal size is $20,000. Therefore, you can hit the goal if you are successful in getting ten new customers. If your organization’s average lead-to-customer rate is 4%, you need 250 leads to earn those ten clients.

This example shows that the marketing reps are aware of the number of leads they have to provide to the sales department to meet the organization’s revenue goal. Once the number and other details are formalized, you need a service level agreement.

A service level agreement specifies what a team, both sales and marketing, intends to achieve in a bid to meet the organization’s revenue goals.

Marketing specifies in the SLA how many MQLs they have to provide to sales by considering the close historical rate and the definition of SQL. On the other hand, sales specify how much time they will take to follow up a lead and how many times they need to follow up.

Sales-ready lead

Other than numbers, there’s a need to define a sales-ready lead. If your marketing reps believe that they are sending several leads to the sales team and pin the blame on the sales for not hitting the target, you don’t have any alignment between sales and marketing.

The sales and marketing teams must have a shared understanding of what makes up SQLs. An SQL for your organization may be defined as the contact that provided their details in a form to request a demo, who is a project manager, resides in the US, and earns more than $50,000 in revenue.

Communication about new MQLs and SQLs

Figure out a process that communicates new MQLs and SQLs among your marketing and sales teams. After the marketing team concludes that they have an SQL, how are they supposed to provide this information to the sales team? It doesn’t have to be tricky. If you use collaboration tools, for example Microsoft Teams, they make a post in a dedicated channel and @mention all the people involved. The key is to make sure that both teams approve a communication protocol.

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Finish the feedback loop

Implementing closed-loop reporting can communicate to the sales and marketing team that they have been performing well. Such reporting allows the marketing team to provide more information to the sales team and the sales team to pass feedback to the marketing team. Sales and marketing teams both get a significant advantage from this feedback loop. The marketing team learns which campaigns work and which don’t. The sales team receives assistance in lead prioritization and obtains additional information on leads, which improves the quality of sales calls.

If your sales team complains that they get duplicate leads, it means that they don’t receive any relevant or important information required for closing the lead. Instead, they are getting unqualified leads and thus, it’s an ideal time to implement closed-loop reporting.

Open communication

If your marketing and sales team don’t communicate, it’s a major dilemma. Constant and open communication is necessary to align both departments. They must have monthly and weekly syncs. The monthly meetings can help to resolve an issue and talk about new strategies, whereas the weekly meetings can be used to get everyone on the same page.

Structured collaboration process to align sales and marketing

To align sales and marketing teams you should also provide them with the right tools. Collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams is a great start. With it you can also connect to any other tool you use. That can be a project management and task management apps, and even CRMs. In this way, your teams won’t have to juggle between all the tools they use. Plus, they can have access to all the needed information in one location. Moreover, they will have a better visibility on what everyone else in the organization is working on.

Create teams for various projects your sales and marketing work together on. Then, add them as members and build channels for focused discussions. Create tasks through your preferred task management app, add guidelines, upload necessary documentation, and see how the collaboration between the two teams improve.

You may also want to take advantage of Collaboration Templates by nBold to achieve better sales and marketing alignment. They allow you to create templates for any collaboration process – sales deal, marketing campaign, product launch, account management – you name it. The template creates a structure for the process, includes channels for discussions, file templates, pre-built tasks, pre-configured apps and other content your team may require.

Then, whenever you need a new team in Teams, just use the template. Your team members will be able to start collaborating straight away having all the information they need at hand so they can focus on matters.

Get started to see how you can benefit from Collaboration Templates.

Making your marketing and sales team collaborate properly will take some time, and it requires the commitment of both teams. You can also consider using app to improve the efficiency of your sales tasks.

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