What is Sales and Marketing Alignment?

August 11, 2016

What is Sales and Marketing Alignment?

So, in our last blog, “Why you need to close the gap between sales and marketing”, we identified the disconnect between sales and marketing and highlighted the importance of collaboration between these departments. In this article we are going to share with you some first steps around aligning your sales and marketing teams.

Sales and marketing alignment is exactly how it sounds, it's about bringing together the two departments and aligning their objectives and goals. The reason for this is, that by breaking down the walls between those two departments, it will generate significant dividends for your business.

  • Sales conversion rates go up
  • Marketing budgets work harder
  • Deals progress faster
  • Pipeline visibility improves
  • Fewer opportunities are wasted

An aligned sales and marketing operation makes more money, faster!

So, where do I start I hear you ask, below are my top five tips to set you on the path of sales and marketing alignment, affectionately known as Smarketing.

  1. Define your ideal target customer ‘The Buyer Persona’ – This is the most crucial part of the sales and marketing alignment. Both teams need to have exactly the same definition, if not it will give one of them a ‘get out of jail’ free card. The best way to do this is to get both teams together to brainstorm and bash it out.
  2. Agree on what is classed as a sales qualified lead – You don’t want your super expensive sales people wasting their time and your money on leads that aren’t fully qualified and aren’t looking to buy in the near future. By the same token your marketing guys won’t be happy sending leads through that won’t get followed up. So, between them they need to agree what a sales qualified lead will look like.
  3. Agree on what the aligned sales and marketing funnel will look like – This can be as simple as depicted in the diagram at the end of this blog, or more complex depending on your sales and marketing process. The key to this is determining the metrics to feed the funnel i.e. if the goal for your new Smarketing team is 2 new customers per month, you need to calculate how many raw leads need to go into the top of the funnel and the conversation ratios at each step down to the securing the customer. Your newly aligned sales and marketing team should know and agree this information.
  4. Agree on what you are going to measure – This should be a short list based on what really matters to your business and certain metrics should have mutual accountability for your Smarketing team to help keep them aligned.
  5. Define the process – Getting together once and agreeing all of this will not keep it going. Ensure you have a define process and ongoing action plan around, reporting, keeping on page, and reviewing performance.

The key to successful Smarketing is to nurture a congenial culture between the two separate departments and maybe in the future making them one department with one single vision: Revenue Creation.

Inbound marketing for sales directors