December 3rd, 2014

Quick Tips to Better Align Sales and Marketing

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Quick Tips to Better Align Sales and Marketing

Obvious fact: If you align sales and marketing teams, you will drive better leads, close more business, and reduce internal conflicts that may stand in the way of meeting objectives.

Survey Reveals Breakdown: The annual CSO Insights survey reports that major issues still exist between these two essential teams. Findings include the following:

  • 63% cited the need for improvement in marketing-generated lead quality and quantity
  • Only 43% said they had a formal process for qualifying a lead
  • 45% said supporting materials needed improvement

What can be done to improve these numbers and better align sales and marketing?

Create a Mutual Service Level Agreement (SLA) — With an effective SLA, both teams agree on priorities and accountabilities for deliverables. They commit to collaborating on programs and to discuss challenges openly.

  • Quick Tip: SLAs should include joint goal creation, meeting cadence, sales responsibilities, and marketing responsibilities.

KPI Alignment — Key performance indicators for both teams must be in sync, with marketing supporting sales and vice versa.

Lead Criteria — Sales and marketing need to agree on the definition of a good lead vs. a bad lead.

  • Quick Tip: Define the elements of a qualified lead, allow marketing to do the initial follow-up and qualification if it is a marketing-generated lead, sales must close out wins and losses with relevant information, and make sure contacts are added and updated in the CRM.

Leverage Content Effectively — Sales and marketing both play a critical role in content-based marketing, using and sharing the insights and content created within the organization.

  • Quick Tip: Embrace and share social selling tools, including mentions and links of company articles on LinkedIn, tweeting or re-tweeting ideas or company tweets, creating circles and sharing information on Google+, and reaching out to prospects and clients to share relevant articles with an “I thought you might find this interesting” note.

Sales Enablement — Marketing needs a clear view into how they can support sales at each stage of the sales cycle so that they can deliver the appropriate tools and materials to drive prospects through the pipeline.

  • Quick Tip: This generic sales process can offer a starting point for what marketing can help support. It also may help to define triggers that signal when to really move a lead into the sales cycle.
    • Qualification: E-mail templates, product playbooks, brochures, case studies, fact sheets
    • Discovery: Industry information, white papers, validation letters
    • Proposal: Updated proposal templates, RFP resources, solution outlines
    • Presentation: PowerPoint template, demos
    • Close: Contracts, master service agreements, implementation plans

Now more than ever, sales and marketing teams must work together to achieve a common goal. No longer can either succeed in a silo. True alignment will take time, commitment, and strong leadership to ensure that changes occur. When they do, and both teams are aligned and working toward the same goals, the whole organization will benefit.

Do you have more tips? What have been some of your challenges with aligning marketing and sales? Let us know!

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About The Author: James A. Brodo

Jim Brodo is Senior Vice President of Marketing at Richardson. Jim brings over a decade experience to this position with Richardson, where he oversees all marketing and communications efforts for the organization including SEO, SEM, planning, public relations, advertising, lead nurturing, and brand strategy. Jim is currently focused on updating the corporate identity, especially through the use of organic SEO and SEM tactics. He spearheaded the implementation of professional social networking strategies, launch of the new website, updated messaging, and marketing materials. In addition, Jim is credited for creating a content marketing syndication strategy that focuses on adding value to clients and prospects. As the leader of the corporate marketing operations, Jim aims to strengthen Richardson’s brand as the top sales training company in the industry.

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