Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Teams: A Practical Guide

The Guide

Where there is no lack of will, a way opens up.Eowyn, The King's Return

We all know the story: People who are separated by everything are forcibly allied, reach a mutual understanding and save the world from a certain danger. And who wouldn’t want to save the world?

In The Lord of the Rings, it seems impossible for Gimli and Legolas to get along: generations of misunderstanding, a great contrast between their personalities and their way of looking at things separate them even though their goals are the same at first. It’s only when they work together that they discover they’re not so different after all.

Marketing and sales teams in a company are like elves and dwarves. They have a common goal, to win an opportunity, but their means and habits are so different that historically, a rivalry exists and stands in their way. After having seen how to lay the foundations of a Sales and Marketing alignment, we will go into detail about this essential process.

Step One: Managing Expectations

If we take the time to ask the right questions, we quickly notice that Marketing and Sales teams often have the same expectations of each other: Sales will ask for a better qualification of leads, contacts and accounts, the definition of targets and the creation of messages adapted to them, etc. For Marketing, the expectations include a quick and efficient follow-up of the leads transferred, feedback on their quality, enrichment of the database, or ROI elements. For marketing, expectations include fast and efficient follow-up of transferred leads, feedback on lead quality, database enrichment, and ROI elements.

On closer inspection, it is quite amusing to see that both sides expect better lead qualification. But who should do this? We’ll see in a few moments.

Step 1 : Manage expectations

Step 1 : Manage expectations

Second step: implement best practices

First best practice: define together what a success is. Without this prerequisite, the rest cannot work. But what does this mean? In practice, it means setting up common definitions (what is a lead? A contact? An opportunity?), a lead lifecycle that fits everyone, an adapted scoring and a real reflection on the transparency of each team’s actions. Who sees what? What might salespeople be interested in among the marketing actions?

After that, it’s time to focus on lead follow-up. This is often a victim of the lack of communication between departments: no alert when a lead goes to sales, especially after filling out a contact form. You also need to make sure that your leads are correctly assigned to the right sales team.

In parallel, it is also important to give quotas to the marketing teams: how many leads should be passed to sales every month? What are the necessary qualifications for sales?

Last but not least, plan a regular meeting between representatives of each department in order to keep each other informed of developments and to update each other’s requests and the resources allocated.

Step 2 : Set up best practices

Step 2 : Set up best practices

Third step: the qualification team

Once the processes have been defined, the last step is to set up a lead qualification team, in charge of verifying and reinforcing the data of the leads passed on to sales by marketing in order to eliminate those that do not correspond to the company’s strategy (press, students, trainees…)

This team should ideally be made up of people with a particular profile, straddling the line between communication and prospecting, capable of calling the lead to retrieve the necessary information (particularly on the subject of BANT – Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline).

Step 3 : the qualification team

Step 3 : the qualification team

Bonus step: the marketing automation platform

Whether it is for the definition of the lead lifecycle, scoring or even reporting, the use of a Marketing Automation platform coupled with CRM greatly facilitates team alignment. The introduction of processes such as lead nurturing or the sharing of marketing emails with sales people, as well as the transmission of marketing information directly into the CRM are essential tools.

A platform like Marketo for example stands out thanks to its native integration with several CRMs (Salesforce, MS Dynamics, Sugar CRM) and its workflows adapted to a constant marketing and sales exchange.

Posted By Sylvain

For the past 20 years, Sylvain has been choosing and assembling the best technologies for his key account clients, to help them create a successful end-to-end customer experience. Surely the Leonard of the team, he is a fan - and expert - of Marketo! He sits next to his clients, drives them forward and makes Marketing Automation projects succeed with his team.