Your Guide to Sales and Marketing Alignment


By Payal Parikh, Director of Client Engagement at Heinz Marketing

Numerous studies have shown that sales and marketing alignment leads to increased revenue, improved campaign performance, better win rates, and improved customer retention.

In fact, according to a study by  Aberdeen, when sales and marketing teams are aligned, they generate 32% more revenue, retain 36% more customers, and see 38% higher win rates than teams with little to no alignment.

A key benefit of sales and marketing alignment is improved communication of important data and insight across teams and functions throughout the organization.  This leads to a better understanding of prospects, customers, and their unique needs. Your company can then better engage with prospects and customers, as everyone from product development to marketing, sales, and customer success is equipped with more knowledge about the target audience and the messaging that resonates with them.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about sales and marketing alignment and strategies for successful alignment. Here, I would like to share top best practices:

Alignment needs to come from the top

If sales and marketing alignment is not an executive priority, it will fall apart no matter how much planning goes into it. It will not become a habit within the organization, and it just will not stick. Executive sponsorship will help with the culture shift. It allows and forces the two groups to come together and agree on common goals, accept initial failures, and helps them learn through the process. When sales and marketing alignment is prioritized from the top, knowledge sharing, and two-way information flow become a habit.

So how do you get executive sponsorship on something that is so vital for each team’s success? Get your numbers straight and collect data to show what happens when they are aligned. There are many research reports and studies available through simple Google searches you could use to convince top leadership.

Align on content

We talked about better knowledge sharing as one of the benefits of sales and marketing alignment. Sales teams are the gold mine for messaging and personas. Because they speak with potential customers all day long, members of the sales team can provide you with insights on who makes up the buying committee and how organizations are trying to solve a particular problem. Sales reps can help you articulate the pain points of your target audience. This, in turn, helps marketing develop messaging that resonates with the target audience.

Marketing can then take the learnings and develop content pieces that are top, middle, and bottom-funnel and that speak to the prospects and customers in their journey. Sometimes the information gets lost at this stage. Sales is not aware of what content pieces marketing is developing for campaigns and where to find it. I see a lot of companies developing top-notch case studies, white papers, eBooks, etc. to be used by marketing campaigns. But when sales is conducting their outreach to the prospects and customers, either that content is not available on the website or they don’t know where to find it. In the end, it results in a lot of wasted time and duplication of efforts.

For a successful campaign follow-up, marketing needs to create a follow-up strategy for the sales team. There needs to be a seamless transition in messaging and language so your sales process is as smooth as possible for the prospect. Every piece of content, regardless of who created it, must feedback into the overall story, that is your sales process.

Creating a central repository of content also helps your sales and marketing teams to see what is available to use, where are the gaps, and what needs to be created.

Align on metrics

Sales and marketing alignment focus both teams on a singular goal and unites them in the pursuit of success. When these two teams work in tandem, the entire organization benefits. Create goals based on metrics that are working towards a common business goal of revenue achievement. The ideal sales and marketing funnel is really a revenue funnel in which both sales and marketing teams are accountable, in varying degrees, at each stage of the funnel.

Read more about how to align marketing and sales with the Revenue Funnel.

Weekly reporting on metrics

Having common goals and KPIs is important but meeting regularly and monitoring the KPIs on a regular basis helps keep the alignment intact. This also provides an opportunity to brainstorm and discuss how the follow-ups are working. A weekly platform provides an opportunity to understand and adjust prospect pain points, what kind of messaging is resonating, and what content needs to be produced. It is a reality check on the quality of leads.

By bringing your sales and marketing teams together, you can easily multiply the performance of both teams.