Search for sales and marketing alignment in Google and you get 40.2 million results.
I know this because I did a lot of research for my own article on Sales and Marketing Alignment | Proven Strategies For Success.
Although I must admit. I didn’t review all 40.2 million.
Just the top 50. Results, not pages.
Here’s a summary of the most popular suggestions on sales and marketing alignment from those Google search results.
For each suggestion, I’ve highlighted a recommended article. Bear in mind that these articles make their suggestions specifically in the context of sales and marketing alignment.
See what you think about each.
Then, examine my own recommendations for sales and marketing alignment in your business.
Sales and Marketing Alignment Popular Suggestions
1. Amalgamate Sales and Marketing Roles
In this scenario, a single person heads-up both Sales and Marketing.
Often this is in the context of forming a single, consolidated Revenue Function. The aim is to remove conflict over competing goals, priorities, and objectives.
This is exactly what Coca Cola did.
2. Make revenue the only objective
Judge both Sales and Marketing only on hitting the revenue quota. Everyone therefore has the same purpose and shared goal.
That way, conflict and blame disappear.
In other words, align Sales and Marketing around a single goal. That goal is revenue.
By Kara Burney
3. Define and agree Marketing KPIs
This popular recommendation involves defining and agreeing a number of core marketing metrics.
These metrics usually relate to Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) and Sales Accepted Leads (SALs).
Author not specified.
4. Communicate more
In some companies, Sales and Marketing rarely meet or engage in meaningful dialogue.
It sounds reasonable that sales and marketing need to communicate more if they are to align successfully.
Other recommendations along these lines include having marketing listen-in on sales calls and spending time out in the field. Creating a weekly email and going for a beer and pizza together also figure.
5. Agree buyer personas and the customer journey
This recommendation is to agree what the ideal buyer looks like.
That way, the end-to-end sales and marketing processes and all marketing collateral centres on the profile of the ideal buyer and the process in which they engage.
6. Re-design the end-to-end revenue process
Take a long hard look at the end-to-end process and agree jointly how to improve it.
The emphasis is on optimizing the end-to-end process. To do this, many companies have rightly extended the traditional opportunity-based funnels to include additional, earlier stages.
For example, here’s the funnel advocated by Marketo.
The model emphasises the increased role of Marketing at each stage in the sales funnel.
To improve Sales and Marketing alignment, Marketo recommend a joint focus on improving the conversion rate at each successive level in the funnel.
For maximum impact, consider the buyer persona during this exercise. Then produce content and communications that guides and encourages people through the funnel.
7. Agree the Marketing-to-Sales hand-off process
Successfully converting sales-ready leads to won opportunities requires an effective hand-off process from Marketing to Sales.
Many commentators advocate a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between Sales and Marketing on the hand-off process.
This SLA stipulates that, when Marketing pass a lead to Sales (based on pre-agreed qualification criteria), Sales will call the lead within a defined number of working hours.
Me, Gary Smith
8. Create better Content
Research by CEB (now part of Gartner) reveals that on average buyers are 57% of the way through the buying cycle before they engage with vendors.
It’s a popular statistic.
It implies buyers are consuming content on the web long before starting a buying process that is visible to sellers.
Our own research, interviewing prospects and customers on behalf our own clients, also bears this out.
It makes sense therefore, that creating better content and finding a way to get this in front of prospects will increase the chances that a buyer will choose to speak to a vendor.
Author not specified
9. Implement a marketing attribution model
Most B2B sales cycles take 3 to 4 months. Often longer.
In fact, if you include the time prospects spend searching for solutions and reviewing vendors before they actually engage with a potential supplier, the timespan extends significantly in some industries.
So how do you assess the contribution of your various marketing campaigns and web content to this extended sales cycle? How does Marketing prove to Sales that they really are having an impact? How do we quantify the contribution of Marketing to the revenue generation effort?
A marketing attribution model is one answer.
Attribution means value is assigned to all marketing campaigns that ‘play a role’ in the end-to-end sales process.
In other words, attribute a percentage of the opportunity amount to all campaigns on which a prospect responded.
Author: Eric Bauer
10. Create a content-based funnel
Research by Sirius Decisions found that 60 – 70% of all content churned out by Marketing goes unused by Sales.
IDC put the figure at 80%.
I doubt you know the statistic for your company, but we can all probably recognize that vast amount of content created for Sales goes unused.
The research identifies three key reasons for this.
- Aren’t aware the content exists.
- Don’t know where to look for it.
- Think there’s too much content to sift through, therefore don’t bother.
On this basis, here’s a popular recommendation for achieving better Sales and Marketing alignment: Create relevant content and get better organised.
This means putting all the marketing collateral in one place. Make it easy to search and find relevant material. It also means communicating to salespeople about the content created by Marketing.
Author: Jonathan Franchell