3 Immediate Ways to Align Sales and Marketing

William Ruddy

By William Ruddy
3 May 2017

5 min read


Marketing and sales are now merging due to digitization. Consumers can interact with businesses on various channels, which results in an ever- increasing number of touch points for marketers to track.

Without the correct technology, processes, and communication established between sales and marketing, lead attribution proves difficult. This issue creates friction between the two teams.

Marketing and sales misalignment costs B2B companies 10% of revenue or more per year. This finding is one of many statistics pointing to the negative result of marketing and sales misalignment for businesses.

This blog post explains three immediate ways to change the conventional culture around sales and marketing alignment.

1. Adopt and Own a Collaborative Sales and Marketing Mindset

Speak the same language: Focus on aligning and integrating sales and marketing departments. This takes place when the teams come to an agreement on common lead terminology and definitions, lead scoring criteria, and key performance indicators (KPIs). and establishes closed-loop reporting with sales and marketing systems.

Share the same goals: Once these team leaders combine goals and processes for communication and feedback, it’s a solid start to eradicating the typical negativity evident between the two departments.

2. Obsess over Lead Scoring, Lead Quality, and Lead Movement

To correctly optimize for an ideal buyer journey throughout the entire funnel, processes and criteria for lead scoring and movement must be established as an ongoing conversation.

According to InsideView’s report “Crack the Code of Sales and Marketing Alignment”, among the 1,000 sales and marketing professionals surveyed, 42% stated broken/flawed processes as one of the top reasons for sales and marketing misalignment.

When referring to processes, teams should meet to collaborate and define criteria and processes for evaluating user activity that impacts lead scoring, lead qualification, lead movement through your mutually agreed upon lifecycle stages.

Lead Scoring - The Conversation that Never Occurs

The issue of lead scoring is a major concern preventing alignment between the teams. This report revealed that 63% of sales and 43% of marketing professionals stated that they do not meet with one another to discuss lead scoring. With no conversation, it’s difficult to know which marketing tactics, content, and specific messaging is the most effective in influencing user actions that lead to sales.

The absence of the lead scoring conversation contributes to friction and miscommunication on lead quality and movement. If there is no process in place for sales to report on poorly qualified leads from a specific marketing channel, then marketing won't know how to make adjustments for future campaigns or even know if those leads need further nurturing.

Establish a Shared Funnel, Pipeline, and Accountability

Is the pipeline clearly defined? Does every person from both departments understand the goals and KPIs for each stage of the funnel and pipeline? Are these goals shared between these two departments?

To create cohesion, there must be the establishment of a shared funnel, pipeline, and accountability. Success in alignment isn’t merely a numbers game where marketing produces X amount of leads and sales turns X amount of leads into revenue.

Alignment hinges on rethinking this antiquated view on the role of sales and marketing. The InsideView report referenced earlier shows the disconnect between these two departments. 55% of sales believe marketing isn't accountable for the pipeline, and 27% of marketing think "salespeople are single-celled organisms that chase revenue". Sales and marketing leaders must focus on amending those pain points to bring teams together.

An effort to share responsibility and establish goals together will enable a more effective and profitable dynamic, such as the companies who earned 208% more revenue when adopting collaborative practices.

3. Build a marketing & sales software stack with closed-loop analytics

Before marketing and sales teams can evaluate lead scoring, lead quality, movement, they must build an efficient marketing and sales software stack with end-to-end tracking. This includes these platforms:

  1. Content Management System
  2. Marketing Automation Platform
  3. Customer Relationship Manager
  4. Website Analytics Platform
  5. Data Enrichment Software
  6. Call Tracking Software (Infinity)

The software you acquire depends on the types of marketing campaigns and channels the marketing team utilizes. Marketing teams with budgets dedicated to AdWords Paid Search and Display campaigns should have the ability to track conversions from AdWords to the CRM, CMS, marketing automation platform, and call tracking software. They must account for every type of conversion (content downloads, product inquiries, Contact Us form submissions, chat interactions, inbound calls).

Customer journey visibility

When these systems integrated and correctly pass data to one another, you have the insight to see the countless touchpoints and actions of the customer journey.

  • You see when a user clicked on a Paid Search text ad.
  • When the same person spent significant time on specific pages on your website, and when they filled out a form to download a white paper.
  • Weeks later the same person interacted with an email through a nurturing campaign.
  • They return to specific product pages and eventually call your business.

With the correctly assembled tech stack, you can view all of the above activity of a hypothetical lead from when they first interacted through AdWords and every touchpoint before they decided to call the business.

Closed-loop reporting

Call tracking software is a pivotal piece of the software stack for marketing and sales teams. When the above lead calls the business, Infinity’s Salesforce Caller Insight App immediately displays valuable data (lead source, page views) from the customer journey for a salesperson to gain context for the conversation.

This software reinforces the communication and feedback processes between departments. The Insight App enables sales members to record phone call conversions and directly stamp lead data from inbound calls automatically into Salesforce. This saves the sales team time when logging data, such as lead source, marketing campaign, etc. while it provides immediate insight for the marketing team on the performance of their email, organic, PPC, and other campaigns.

This software ties together the Research Online, Purchase Offline (ROPO) dilemma often experienced by businesses. Some purchases don’t often take place online. They’re not straightforward transactions. They require a phone call. As all sales and marketing professionals know, often these inbound call leads demonstrate a higher level of buying interest compared to other website leads.

Identify successful marketing channels and increase ROI

The software stack described above enables marketing and sales teams to focus less on nailing down the lead source and more time on identifying successful marketing campaigns and content to leverage. This also empowers them with the correct data to make adjustments at the top of the funnel by seeing what PPC campaigns and even keywords lead to call conversions and which ones don’t.

Without end-to-end analytics configured correctly, friction arises between the teams and misalignment becomes evident. Teams should invest in marketing and sales software to improve communication and empower them to perform the necessary analysis and optimization of the customer journey.

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