It’s common knowledge that marketing and sales need to speak the same language and work together to make the most of revenue opportunities. But knowing and doing are two different things, and syncing up can seem complex. Here’s a simple way to coordinate efforts to drive growth.
You know the story well: Marketing and sales teams must align for a slew of reasons. Collaboration is essential for enabling everything from streamlined processes to lead management to personalized content for marketing and outreach. However, much of the time, what matters most comes down to one word: revenue.
Here’s the hitch: When you’ve proved revenue, all’s fine and dandy. Sure, you have a hunch your sales colleagues aren’t exactly 100% in harmony with your marketing messaging, but that’s OK; everything will work itself out in time. You also have that guide on the importance of marketing and sales alignment, and you’ll take it seriously one day. Until there’s a dip in the almighty revenue.
According to a recent study by SiriusDecisions, B2B organizations with tightly aligned marketing and sales operations achieve 24% faster revenue growth and 27% faster profit growth over three years. Furthermore, a Marketo study shows team alignment can make an organization 67% better at closing deals and reduce friction by 108%.
Consider this: We’re rarely sure when and where the next rainstorm will hit. But we’re smarter when we bring an umbrella. Similarly, instead of reverting to panic when revenue takes a dive, prepare better. Adopt a prescriptive process of marketing and sales alignment to avoid contributing to negative results.
Where to start?
Begin by drawing a Venn diagram of your daily marketing and sales activities, and zero in on the overlap. In no particular order, you’re likely to find the following central elements – your focal points:
- Identify and understand your target buyers: Build consensus in answering these questions: Who are my ideal customers? What do they really care about? What’s their buying process? A streamlined revenue chain requires a cohesive marketing and sales process, based on a unified understanding of the buyer. To develop a clear, shared view of the prospect, create buyer personas by maintaining current information in your B2B contact database, as well as by channeling information to marketing, sales and product marketing on an ongoing basis.
- Sync all content: It’s well-known that personalized content works and personalization ramps up results. In a recent analysis of 380 CMOs, Forbes found that marketers who provide personalized Web experiences achieve double-digit returns in marketing performance and response. But to tailor content effectively and consistently, it’s critical to align the gamut of your content strategy – from marketing content to sales collateral. Build content around agreed-upon personas, ensuring that marketing considers sales input in developing outreach campaigns and sales incorporates the right messaging into its materials.
- Coordinate lead generation and management tactics: Typically, your sales and marketing funnel indirectly reflects your revenue cycle. Here’s how to align the inner workings of lead gen and management:
- Commonly define each kind of lead: Agree on what constitutes a marketing qualified lead (MQL), a sales qualified lead (SQL), and an opportunity.
- Develop a lead-scoring system: Because all leads aren’t equal, have your teams use the same scorecard to better manage incoming leads.
- Determine roles and responsibilities: Make sure everyone recognizes the differences between such functions as inside sales, inbound sales and new business development.
- Identify and harmonize the activities of your MVPs: Get to know and integrate the work of the marketing and sales pros who execute and analyze lead initiatives.
Finally, it’s essential to align your CRM and marketing automation platforms. If feasible, have marketing and sales collaborate in similar systems to ensure that both teams implement and nurture strategies that optimize revenue.
While alignment is only one ingredient for jump-starting your revenue engine, it can make all the difference. Fortunately, it’s prescriptive and predictive. Syncing marketing and sales early on will help you avoid barriers to revenue growth and nip any issues in the bud.
Want to learn more about how to align marketing and sales, through real-life examples and expert insights? Register for ZoomInfo’s 2017 Growth Acceleration Summit (Sept. 13-14 in Boston). Join hundreds of B2B marketing and sales professionals and more than 25 of the industry’s foremost thought leaders for two full days of multi-tracked sessions, presentations, workshops and networking to speed your progress toward success.