Quick: what's your company's core value prop?
Can you recite it in ten seconds or less? Is it easily identifiable on your website? Does your sales team communicate it clearly to prospects? Do your marketing materials match what sales tells prospects throughout the buying process?
If you answered any of those questions with "no," you've got some work to do. The good news is that you're not alone: sales/marketing alignment is still a challenge for many companies. With sales teams ignoring as many as 50 percent of marketing leads and only 30 percent of CMOs implementing a clear process, it's obvious that many sales and marketing leaders aren't working together to solve their common problems.
But that doesn't mean it can't be done. Targeting the right prospects, setting the right metrics, and building the right sales and marketing execution are foundational elements of a true sales and marketing alignment. It's easier said than done, but with buy-in from leadership and follow-through on process, companies can see real results. Answering the following three questions can point sales and marketing teams toward unity and boost the bottom line.
Who's Your Customer?
Marketing might use data to target one type of customer while sales goes after a completely different customer. And when that happens, deals take longer to close, the deals that close are less likely to be clean, and new customers are more likely to churn. The result is two teams working harder for inferior results.
Creating an ideal customer profile (ICP) is just one solution to this problem. An ICP gives both sales and marketing teams a clear target with criteria like company size, industry, geographic location and more. Sales and marketing teams armed with an ICP can collaborate on everything from top-of-funnel content to late-stage materials to closing deals. And because both sales and marketing are clear on who they're selling to, they can accelerate the buying process.
What Are You Measuring?
There's no reason for marketing to celebrate hitting its lead gen number if sales misses its revenue number. Sales and marketing must agree on common metrics throughout the sales cycle to ensure that every qualified opportunity can move through a pipeline to closed-won.
Sharing goals can lead to a consistent knowledge exchange as well. That exchange can take the form of regular enablement sessions, dashboards with relevant metrics, and reviews of win/loss data to determine how to improve the buying process. Facilitating a flow of ideas and data between sales and marketing makes it easier to pinpoint what works and what doesn't.
What Are You Doing?
It's a serious question. When sales and marketing don't offer each other visibility into execution timelines, the buying cycle can spiral out of control. But commitment to communication about how to execute can stop a problem before it starts.
An Aberdeen Group study shows that 77 percent of best-in-class organizations report having a "good" or "strong" sales and marketing relationship when leaders from each team meet on a regular basis. When sales and marketing can agree on a common execution timeline, shared priorities, and a clear playbook for moving leads through the funnel, a company can streamline its entire sales process.
Good companies invest the time and resources necessary to ensure sales and marketing can work together. Great companies encourage their leaders to devote time to ensuring sales and marketing function as a single team. When both sales and marketing support each other, the entire company wins.
Sharmin Kent is content and communication manager at Octiv, a sales productivity platform that revolutionizes connection and collaboration across the sales software ecosystem.
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