Tragically, may efforts to create better alignment and results between sales & marketing at B2B organizations are dead before they even begin.
It’s not due to execution or focus, lead definitions or effort. Unfortunately, in many cases, it’s the head of sales who doesn’t buy into the program, doesn’t support it with his or her people, and therefore kills any chance of it working and creating value for the organization.
Of course, demonstrating before-and-after results in other organizations can help. But I’ve found that directly appealing to the things that head of sales already cares about – and demonstrating how better coordination & alignment with marketing can help – is what gets them over the hump and into productive, cooperation mode.
Here are eight sales benefits that work best.
Sales teams worldwide, for thousands of years, have complained about the quality of their leads. But coordinated, agreed-upon definitions of qualified leads between sales & marketing helps solve that problem.
It can ensure your sales team is working with better leads, making better use of the reps time, and helping your team more efficiently drive towards quota and beyond.
Happier reps = better retention
Sales reps who struggle to hit their number, slog through not-ready leads, and feel they’re on their own often get frustrated and leave. And every head of sales can tell you eight reasons why it’s incredibly expensive to lose even an average rep (plus have to find, train and get to quota a new one).
Reps who get better leads and are supported with an aligned marketing organization tend to be happier, more productive, and stick around.
Faster support & solutions from marketing
Every sales team I know has a laundry list of things they’d like from marketing. And most sales teams complain that they don’t get these tools delivered fast enough, or that some things languish on the list forever.
With better alignment around revenue responsibility, sales & marketing can agree on the order and urgency of those support tools. If marketing is also responsible for revenue contribution, they’re just as motivated to get the right tools completed and delivered quickly.
More focused reps with better results
Imagine you had a pre-determined definition with marketing about what a Sales Qualified Lead looks like. Imagine these are the only leads your team receives. Yes, volume may go down from what they’re used to, but I bet your reps are more productive and have healthier pipelines as a result.
Share the blame!
This may be superficial, but ask any head of sales and she’ll tell you it’s important. When sales are down, sales gets blamed. But if you’re aligned with marketing from a revenue responsibility perspective, you can work together collaboratively to identify what’s wrong and operationalize a solution.
It’s less about sharing the blame, and more about having an active partner to proactively solve problems, someone who’s now equally aligned with you from a visibility, responsibility and even compensation perspective.
More sales training “for free”
In a non-aligned world, marketing generates leads and throws them at the sales team. Occasionally, there will be a “heads up” email about the offer, but little else.
In a marketing-aligned world, sales teams get detailed briefings about campaigns, what customers are targeted, what the intent of the inbound leads will look like, as well as response and follow-up tools, scripting and more to support the reps and increase conversion rates.
You might have a sales training organization or effort already, but with better alignment marketing becomes part of that training effort as well.
More efficient salespeople
An aligned marketing organization now cares just as much as you do about helping sales reps be more efficient. This includes faster and more effective pre-call prospect research, less time on administrative tasks (including entering data into the CRM system), and more.
In an aligned sales & marketing world, marketing is recommending and helping to implement tools, processes and more that ultimately improve both the quality of the process & leads as well as the efficiency with which reps can work through and convert them.
Help with sales operations
Somewhat related to the previous point, but worth pointing out again. In essence, your sales operations team just got bigger. You now have a marketing organization working proactively to ensure leads are seamlessly integrated into the workflow of the reps, data augmentation and research tools are ready and working, and that leads & opportunities that fall back out of the pipeline are supported with nurture campaigns until they’re again active.
Together, these “reasons” can make a highly compelling case for your head of sales.