3 Steps to Sales and Marketing Alignment

Your sales and marketing teams are constantly engaged in a three-legged race, with the finish line being a successful conversion from prospect to customer. When the two teams are working together, they’re fast, they’re responsive, they communicate, and they cross the finish line by collaborating smoothly and anticipating each other’s needs. But when they’re out of alignment, well, it’s a big mess of missed cues, missteps, and missed opportunities.

And those opportunities aren’t small, either: According to LinkedIn research, businesses with strong sales and marketing alignment are 67% more effective at closing deals, retain customers 58% more effectively, and drive 208% more revenue as a result of their marketing efforts. What’s more, Aberdeen Group found that sales and marketing alignment can lead to a 32% increase in year-over-year revenue growth.

 

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We see all the time how easy it is for sales and marketing teams to naturally fall into silos. But with numbers like those at stake, your business can’t afford not to tear down those silos and get everyone on the same page.

Why "smarketing" matters

Sales and marketing alignment — often referred to as “smarketing” — is the practice of unifying your sales and marketing teams around a shared system of communication, methodology, and business goals so they can function as two halves of the same whole. 

Essentially, your sales team needs to be working warm, qualified leads and allowing the marketing team to convert suspects to prospects and prospects to leads. But to do that, your marketing department needs feedback from sales in order to be effective so that they can hone your Ideal Customer Profile and refine their messaging to be more impactful.

Bringing sales and marketing into lockstep ensures that your marketing team is creating content that works and that your sales team is using that content effectively. 

Successful sales and marketing alignment can:

  • Create and simplify workflows
  • Shorten the sales cycle and get you to market faster
  • Lead to better customer data
  • Inject more sales enablement into the buyer’s journey
  • Report on revenue attribution to funnel activities
  • Prevent stagnant growth
  • Help you find more opportunities to upsell or cross-sell to existing customers

Sounds great, right? So where do you start? We’ll show you three quick steps that can have you on the right path toward smarketing success. 

 

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1. Get on the same page

Better sales and marketing alignment needs to start with a conversation that defines common terms, outlines goals, and establishes the strategies and processes you’ll prioritize moving forward. And above all, encourage open channels for communication between teams, whether it’s a shared email group, a Slack channel or Teams group, or even regular happy hours or team lunches that can build camaraderie, empathy, and trust for a more unified smarketing front. When you have a clear idea of what each team is working toward and how, you’ll be better able to support each other in achieving those goals.

Key talking points: 

    • Define your individual and shared goals
    • Define SQLs and MQLs 
    • Designate the people and processes for sharing leads between teams
    • Outline individual and shared KPIs
    • Identify shared tools both teams can use

 

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2. Maximize your sales enablement

Once you’ve unified your teams around common goals and processes, you can start using those goals to drive your sales enablement tactics. What marketing materials does the sales team need to effectively close more deals? What information does the marketing team need to create those materials? And how can you ensure that both teams are using the same language to talk about offerings and promotions?

Keep the lines of communication open to ensure each team has the information they need to be successful and don’t be afraid to fail fast and iterate quickly. If a certain piece of content isn’t doing its job, talk to each other to find out why — and how you can adjust it moving forward.

Key considerations: 

    • Marketing should always tell sales about current and upcoming promotions and ensure the sales team is using the correct language
    • Both teams should collaborate on user personas and an ICP to ensure messaging is on point
    • Make it easy for sales to provide productive feedback on marketing materials
    • Outline the sales process to give marketing a better understanding of the customer journey

 

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3. Keep the conversation going

Once your smarketing strategy is in place, nurture it! Schedule regular status meetings for the two teams (or if your teams are too large, choose representatives from both teams who can report their learnings back to their counterparts) where you have conversations about what each team needs, what’s working well, and where there’s room for improvement. Identify areas in need of refinement or rethought, and take time to call out the things that are working especially well.

Key topics:

    • Upcoming marketing campaigns
    • Requests for content
    • Upsell and cross-sell opportunities
    • Results and metrics — and don’t forget to celebrate wins!

The bottom line:

Aligning your sales and marketing teams isn’t a small undertaking, but the boosts to efficiency and improvements to your sales cycle are well worth the effort. 

And you don’t have to go it alone, either. We’re experts at getting sales and marketing on the same page — contact us today and let us help you say goodbye to silos and start winning the smarketing race.

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