How Marketing Operations Can Align with Sales (and Why)

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A common issue in many B2B companies is the lack of collaboration and understanding between sales and marketing operations. Often, both departments continue to work at maximum capacity in order to drive company growth but fail to see where their goals and work intersect. Yet, when there exists alignment between the two, their ability to attract customers and successfully guide them through the sales funnel drastically improves.

In fact, research shows that companies focused on marketing and sales alignment are up to 67% better at closing deals. That means fostering a relationship between these two teams has huge potential.

For marketers, it’s important to understand that communicating with the sales team is crucial to accomplishing their overall company goal, to drive sales. After all, members of the sales team are the ones who have to get on the phone and talk to prospective customers and seal the deal. To do so, the sales team needs as much information as possible about the people/companies they are calling into, which is insight that marketers, who have been guiding and tracking consumers through the sales funnel, can easily provide. Likewise, the sales team can provide you, the marketer, with customer feedback and insights to strengthen your efforts.

Therefore, you should think of this relationship as a win-win situation. If we can equip our colleagues in the sales team with as much information as possible and keep them in the loop, you’ll both be able to do your jobs more efficiently and effectively. You’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t and create a more seamless customer journey, leading to more conversions and an increase in ROI.

Are you unsure about where to start driving the alignment between your marketing and sales teams? Here are a few tips to make sure your marketing ops and sales teams stay in sync:

1. Tune into what’s happening in the world of sales

A good place to start building a relationship with your sales team is to be in the know about what’s happening in their world. Join their meetings from time to time to learn about their current efforts, challenges and objectives. This knowledge can provide you direction on what their needs are and where marketing can step in to help them meet their goals. Showing up to these meetings also demonstrates to your peers that you’re enthusiastic about their work and looking to see where you can contribute, which can help build trust and encourage collaboration over time. For example, the Act-On marketing team regularly attends the weekly sales calls, updating the sales team on the latest campaigns.

2. Schedule a regular sync up meeting

Knowing what pains your sales team is a good place to start, but scheduling regular meetings between marketing and sales can allow you both to collaborate and ensure you’re on track toward meeting your goals. These meetings are also an opportunity to get the sales team to buy into your marketing efforts from beginning to end.

Take this time to get the sales team up to speed on what you’re doing so they can voice their feedback and/or concerns, and provide suggestions based on their conversations with customers. Don’t forget to update the sales team on new marketing tools and content they can leverage to educate leads and close the deal.

3. Collaborate to identify goals and KPIs

To further drive alignment between marketing and sales, work together to identify goals and KPIs that will allow you to reflect on what you strive to accomplish through this collaboration. Look at these through the lens of the entire sales funnel, and think about how each action impacts your overall efforts. Think about what results you need to see at every stage to convert more leads. Doing all this will keep both teams in the know of the bigger picture and help shape your marketing to sales strategy.

4. Use tools to guide and facilitate your collaborative efforts

As a marketer, you may already be using several tools to drive efficiency and growth and measure impact within your department. Whether it’s data and analytics or implementing automation into your marketing strategy, you’re looking for ways to do your job better.

But you should also consider how these tools and results can be useful to your sales team as they work to build their prospect list and convert these individuals into customers. Activities such as lead scoring, segmentation, and nurturing can influence your overall success with a customer, and give both teams insight into what your customer wants and needs.

These tools and results will allow both marketing and sales to visualize how customers interact with your company through every step of the sales funnel and improve both your efforts to engage and convert.

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5. Measure your ROI and share your success

Change is never easy and your efforts to align marketing and sales will likely be an ongoing process. Even though the collaboration between sales and marketing makes sense, there may still be members of your team struggling to understand the benefits. This is where measuring and sharing your success can help you and the sales team see how your efforts align, where both teams excel, and where there exists opportunities and need for further collaboration.

Being able to demonstrate how marketing efforts impact sales allows you to show the value of your work. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 61% of companies with high marketing and sales alignment expected their content marketing budget to increase in 2018 in comparison to only 35% of those with low alignment. If you can tie your marketing efforts to ROI from sales, then you can make the case to leadership when it comes to growing your team and expanding your efforts.