It's no secret that B2B sales and marketing teams don't always see eye-to-eye. In fact, you can find some hilarious videos on YouTube about that very problem.
You've heard it all before. Salespeople complain that marketing isn't generating enough leads. Marketing says that sales reps aren't doing enough with the leads they give them. And back and forth it goes.
The key for growing companies these days is to move past the "he said, she said" and successfully align both sides toward the same goals. Of course, sales and marketing alignment doesn't happen overnight. The question is, how do you find the right balance?
Benefits of Sales and Marketing Alignment
Research firms like like Aberdeen have reported companies that successfully implement sales and marketing alignment grow at a rate 20% faster than those that don't. By getting both departments to work together as a well-oiled machine, businesses can realize higher revenue and greater profits.
Inbound Marketing is the Key
In the old days, the role of B2B marketing was fairly simple: raise brand awareness, generate leads at the top of the funnel -- and let the sales folks do the rest. But today's B2B customers are less reliant on salespeople when it comes to making critical buying decisions. In fact, the average prospect now moves through 70% of the buying cycle before ever engaging with a live salesperson.
This is where inbound marketing comes into play. Companies that blog average 55% more leads than those that don't. By creating valuable content that attracts and educates potential customers early on, marketers can seize more control over the lead generation process and supply it's sales team with better selling opportunities.
Preparing for Sales and Marketing Alignment
If content is the gas that fuels the sales and marketing engine, then data is the wheels that move it forward. Here are the points to emphasize:
#1. Data consistency. It's no good if both teams have a different idea of what constitutes a quality lead, so clearly defining what your data represents is a must. For example:
- Inbound Leads: Prospects submit contact info via your website, or email/call you directly
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL): Measured and evaluated by marketing to discover which leads represent the best opportunities for sales, based on details like contact info or the frequency they visit your website
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQL): MQLs contacted by sales and identified as strong opportunities
#2. Data accessibility. This is best accomplished by integrating marketing data with your company's CRM system. That way, information is available to everyone at all times, in a format that salespeople are comfortable with.
#3. Real-time data. To maximize the value of your leads, it's critical that both sides have access the most up-to-the-minute information possible.
Bringing It All Together
Finally, sales and marketing alignment requires an environment of transparency and accountability to thrive. For example, you can use online dashboards that track the progress of both teams throughout the month/quarter/year. Sales can monitor how marketing is generating leads in relation to its goals, while marketing can track how salespeople are following up on the leads they deliver.
Both teams should meet regularly to discuss sales and marketing activities to promote trust and keep both sides on the same agenda.
There's no hidden math involved with successful sales and marketing alignment. With a strong inbound marketing strategy, both sides can work together to generate more qualified leads, drive more business, and put your company on the fast track to growth!
Have you implemented sales and marketing alignment at your organization? Sound off below and share your story!
Note: Puma Creative utilizes the HubSpot software to accomplish lead generation, lead nurturing, and sales and marketing alignment for our clients. If you'd like to learn more about our strategy AND tools - click here: