5 Specific Ways to Guarantee Alignment Between Marketing and Sales

“Sales is calling all the shots on marketing strategy.”

Does this sound familiar? In the collaborative dynamic between sales and marketing, there should be a balance of power, but sometimes this balance gets a bit off-kilter. No company is perfect, but if this is an ongoing symptom of your M&S team, it’s time to take a closer look at restoring the harmony here for the sake of your lead gen efforts.

All the data support the importance of balance between “Team M” and “Team S.” Engaging buyers at the right time is critical to an organization’s demand generation marketing success, and it is the client-facing team members’ responsibility to successfully perform this function. To do so, they need insights that can only be derived from aligned teams. Marketing must provide quality sales ready leads, engaging content, and relevant materials and tools, and must provide sales with the story line necessary to engage with buyers and positively influence their purchase decisions.

A unified organization is cohesive between marketing and sales. In such an organization, trust, collaboration, and mutual goals will foster productive forward momentum. Without it, you will lose output from both sides.

Here, we’ve outlined five specific ways to set your Marketing and Sales up for success:

  1. M&S should align to a single plan that they create together. This ensures that they will take the time to understand each other’s goals, processes and challenges, and better equip them to generate leads and follow up on them effectively.
  2. Sales and marketing should agree to Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that define the number and quality of marketing leads that the home office team should deliver, and the deadline for a sales follow-up. This will avoid a “quality over quantity” sales lead situation and wasted leads.
  3. Define scoring criteria for lead scores. This will ensure that only qualified sales ready leads are passed to sales and will help determine which leads should be nurtured. Scoring should be re-visited regularly to account for updated approaches or customer strategies.
  4. Be sure to define the terminology used (e.g., “lead” vs. “prospect,” “marketing qualified lead/MQL” vs. “sales qualified lead/SQL”) so everyone is on the same page and using the same lingo. This could avoid costly miscommunications within your lead management process.
  5. Marketing should agree with sales on timeframes for the effective follow-up of leads to maximize the chances of success. This can be accomplished through a lead tracker or lead website. Regularly measure results and tweak your program as necessary to ensure repeatable wins. The end result will yield better quality leads that sales will be happy to follow up with.

Aligning sales and marketing ensures that all are working towards the same outcomes efficiently and effectively as one team. Ultimately, a shared understanding between marketing and sales is rooted in a shared strategy and is based on the unified goal of engaging and converting leads successfully.

Once these teams are moving in the same direction, marketing will be better able to generate leads and the content needed to meet buyers’ information requirements. Likewise, sales will be better able to foster a personal relationship and meet prospects’ needs. Now isn’t that what we are all working toward?