5 marketers share 5 tips to sales and marketing alignment

Building a strong relationship between marketing and sales is more important now than ever - especially for siloed businesses. Kavita Singh spoke to five marketers about their top tips.

6 steps to understanding your customer's buying process

Kathy Seegebrecht, CMO, UL

Ultimately we need to stop viewing marketing and sales separately, recognising their interdependency and reflecting that by acting as one team. Set shared revenue goals, jointly define processes, roles, and responsibilities, and touch base often. Align sales and marketing on technology and data needs, and share responsibility for interpreting data and determining performance indicators. Work together to define buyer personas and buying committees, build an understanding of who you are targeting, how they should be marketed to, and their role in the purchasing decision.

Kathy headshot

Matt Antos-Lewis, EMEA marketing lead, Verkada

Agree on a single customer profile. Knowing not just who you want to sell your product or service to, but who in reality is actually buying is critical. Not clarifying and agreeing on a single ideal customer profile (ICP) is one of the biggest causes of disconnect between sales and marketing teams.

Matt-Antos Lewis

Marketing might have a more idealised approach to identifying targets, whereas sales may chase whoever they think has money, or is most likely to pick up the phone.

The former is often more targeted and systematic, the latter is born out of experience on the front line.

Its creation should be a mutual process, with equal input from all stakeholders.

If sales and marketing agree on a shared ICP, which should be enshrined in a living, breathing document, you can use that tool to then understand what your ideal customers look like, where they can be found, and what their biggest challenges are.

If you don’t understand what your customers look like and where to find them, your marketing and sales efforts will be disjointed and involve plenty of wated effort (and missed targets).

If you don’t understand their challenges, then you will fail to understand their needs and how your own offering can add value for them.

Adam Leslie,  product strategy leader, Dun & Bradstreet

“Ever since the coronavirus pandemic, marketing and sales teams have had to adapt their approaches and pivot away from ‘traditional’ tactics. Customer needs have changed, and the most successful marketing departments have been those who have been agile and responsive to the new environment.

Adam Leslie

One trend we’ve noticed is a renewed focus on foundational data. This growing understanding of the benefits of effective master data management, underpinned by robust data governance and data stewardship, is helping to feed sales teams with relevant information that accelerate the journey from prospect to client. Many have tried to steal a march on competitors by launching new products or services first. However, often the information used to identify prospects isn’t nearly good enough.

Without foundational data at the heart of operations, the result of rushed sales and marketing is often untimely, inaccurate and irrelevant outreach that wastes the time of both the sales teams and the prospects they are trying to target.”

Kate Cox, CMO, Moneypenny 

"It is important to analyse the correlation between the volume and value of leads. There is always a trade-off between the two and it is imperative that this is analysed to ensure the maximum “bang for your buck.” Off the back of this, it is helpful to have clear definitions as to what characteristics constitute a marketing qualified lead versus a sales qualified one. Spending too much marketing against low value customers will hit lead numbers but not sales targets and vice versa spending marketing against high value customers might not hit the overall goal.

Kate Cox

By working together on top prospecting lists and sharing tips on the nuances of certain leads, the teams can support and help one another develop and generate success. In addition, I find that unstructured catch ups between teams helps in focussing on developing performance. Finally and very importantly, teams should share and celebrate wins together, calling out good news stories to generate further camaraderie calling out nice news – this customer said they saw your ad, this lead is an old client etc."

Mercè Cozens, founder, lead consultant & chartered marketer, Think Beyond

"Only 8% of businesses report having strong alignment between sales and marketing and one study suggests that a lack of alignment costs businesses a trillion dollars per annum. In fact, it is one of the main reasons that revenue growth stalls.

Merce Cozens

More informed buyers have increased purchase cycles and have driven sales conversations further down the sales and marketing funnel. Marketing is now responsible for lead generation, funnel management and customer retention, encroaching upon sales territory. A “Smarketing” team is the unification of the current state of B2B marketing - two teams that work together to engage, convert and retain customers.

Looking for a place to start? One way to increase sales and marketing alignment is to establish a set of shared KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) between sales and marketing. Shared KPIs foster collaboration via common metrics. They also increase the focus on MROI (Marketing Return on Investment) with more marketing activity tracked through to leads and CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)."

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