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Crush Your ROI Goals with Sales and Marketing Alignment

Crush Your ROI Goals with Sales and Marketing Alignment

Jill Schneider
February 1, 2022

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If your sales and marketing teams are quick to throw each other under the bus, it’s most likely more than personality conflicts; it could be due to a lack of smarketing, which is when sales and marketing teams work in harmony to drive lead generation. When both teams aren’t in alignment, organizational performance is hampered, resulting in low lead generation and low sales. Competing goals with undefined collaborative metrics are frequently at the root of friction between sales and marketing. When this happens, it’s time to call a truce, regroup, communicate, and rebuild.

Smarketing requires teams to have an integrated approach, mutual accountability, and measurable goals that both teams agree to work towards. Frequent and direct communication between sales and marketing is essential. When marketing and sales teams work together in mutual pursuit of business goals, sales cycles are shorter, and ROI often increases for both departments. And not only can team cohesion improve your company environment and collaboration, it often increases productivity and morale.

 

Warning Signs of Mis-Aligned Sales and Marketing Teams

Sales and marketing teams that are not working in alignment can stunt business growth, so it’s essential to quickly address and resolve issues. If your teams are exhibiting any of the following characteristics more often than not, there’s likely room for improvement in your smarketing.

  • Neither team is reaching lead generation goals
  • Sales teams are frustrated by low-quality leads provided by marketing
  • A large percentage of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are not being followed up on by sales
  • Marketing isn’t collaborating with sales on content resources
  • Sales teams aren’t using content resources provided by marketing

Barriers to Smarketing Unity

Signs of friction between sales and marketing teams will likely be evident — they typically don’t crop up overnight and speak to larger barriers between these two interrelated teams. If company growth has slowed, it might be a good idea to take a hard look at your sales and marketing teams and see how they are actually working (or not working) together. Here are some telltale signs that it’s time to circle the wagons and get everyone on the same page.

Lack of Actionable Goals: Without a shared vision or goal, teams will remain misaligned, continue working against each other, and never get results. Too often, this looks like vague or undefined smarketing goals.

Undefined Metrics: Lack of defined metrics between sales and marketing teams only creates friction between the teams. Each team should know what metrics they’re responsible for and how they contribute to one another.

Accountability: When one team doesn’t know what the other is doing or even why they are doing it, reaching goals is impossible. An important part of smarketing is defining goals and responsibilities from the outset.

Poor CRM Management: A CRM that has bad or missing data reduces sales and marketing effectiveness, productivity, and the ability to make good, data-driven decisions.

Unclear Communication: When communication is poor, neither team knows what the other is doing. Oftentimes, it can be helpful to designate a single person on each team to lead inter-team communication. 

 

Take Action to Promote Smarketing

Even if your sales and marketing teams aren’t currently in alignment, all hope is not lost. While re-aligning teams can take time and effort, it’s worth working through the friction to improve each team’s ability to meet business goals and generate qualified, interested leads. Here are some areas of focus that can help you determine what action is needed to get back in alignment.

Define Mutual Goals: Sales and marketing teams should work together to define the messaging and content shared on a company website, social media, and through sales tools. A good practice is to brainstorm commonly asked questions in sales calls and develop ways to answer them online with marketing materials. Make your website a sales tool that provides great content, driving lead generation and conversions.

Implement a Structure to Define Metrics: Collaborate on outlining metrics that measure the speed of acquiring, converting, and closing leads. Identify criteria for each phase, set a reasonable timeframe for stage advancement, then look for breakdowns. Use this information to set themes, topics, and asset types for content deliverables. Shared KPIs need to be in the best interest of the organization and less about the individual teams.

Create Data Entry Best Practices: Define, document, and implement CRM policies and standards. Resolve any database issues, such as missing or wrong data, and configure fields and record screens. Set up contact health analysis dashboards for ongoing monitoring.

Implement Strategic Content Creation: Collaboration within sales and marketing teams for content creation is critical. Don’t leave content creation strategies solely to your content team. Sales is out in the trenches and has a plethora of information about customer pain points. Plan for your sales and marketing teams to meet quarterly (yes, quarterly – customer needs change, technology is evolving, pandemics happen) to create an optimal content strategy.

Encourage Disciplined Communication: Define what a qualified lead is by examining closed lost opportunities and won opportunities; establish marketing criteria to hand off to sales, and the variables used to disqualify a lead. Make a plan to attract and identify more of the right leads.

The unity and alignment of sales and marketing teams improves ROI, delivers better leads that convert, and enhances your customers’ experience. With a lot of us working remotely due to COVID, it’s even harder for sales and marketing teams to stay connected.

However, with a clear focus and a solid plan in place, you will be rewarded with higher conversion rates, better performance from your sales and marketing teams, and fostering a more functional working environment.

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