10 Sales and Marketing Alignment Best Practices

As nearly every industry vertical becomes more crowded, the cost of marketing increases, and competition heightens. To succeed in this environment it is absolutely crucial that your sales and marketing teams are aligned. Sales and marketing alignment leads to increased revenue, better win rates, and improved customer retention.

In fact, a recent study found that successfully aligned sales and marketing teams generate 32% more revenue, retain 36% more customers, and see 38% higher win rates than teams with poor sales and marketing alignment. By bringing your sales and marketing teams together, you can easily multiply the performance of both teams.

Sales and marketing alignment focuses both teams on a singular goal and unites them in the pursuit of success. When these two teams work in tandem with one another, the entire organization benefits.

Sales and marketing alignment provides both departments with better data, as they can access and share information between one another. This leads to a better understanding of prospects, customers, and their unique needs. Your company can then better engage with prospects and customers, as they are equipped with more knowledge and tools.

Well-aligned sales and marketing teams create a singular buyer journey that translates to a more effective sales process. Furthermore, both teams can easily see, measure, and understand the process so they can simultaneously make improvements to it.

So, to ensure that you achieve and maintain proper sales and marketing alignment, here are 10 best practices:

Understand your target buyers and their buying processes

First, you must clearly understand your target customers and the manner in which they buy. If your team does not understand your buyers, or how they buy, any sort of alignment will be worthless.

Use existing customer data, analyst reports, and the knowledge held by both sales and marketing teams to properly arrange your sales process, marketing team, sales team, and target customers so they all fit together properly.

Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and shared metrics

Successful sales and marketing alignment cannot be achieved if you do not clearly define the part that each team (and possibly individual within that team) will play.

Your marketing team and your sales team must each understand which components of the sales process they are solely responsible for executing and how they interact with one another.

Clearly defined roles also enable teams to easily identify points of improvement. If a particular part of the sales funnel underperforms, you can easily understand what associated component must be improved or which reps need to be trained.

For example, marketing knows that they need to capture top-of-funnel leads. Sales must know it is their job to contact and qualify those leads, and depending on the outcome of those conversations, to either pass them back to marketing for nurture or to advance them down the funnel.

Perfect your sales and marketing messaging

Properly aligned messaging is crucial when joining your sales and marketing teams. As a customer, it will be a jolting, off-putting experience to suddenly switch from one value proposition to another as they move from your marketing to sales team. Instead, the two departments should use the same messaging and language to provide a seamless experience.

Define the perfect marketing to sales handoff

The marketing to sales handoff has been one of the most discussed topics within sales. What does a perfect handoff look like? Who is responsible for what? When does it happen? All questions must be clearly answered and understood by everyone. For more information about the perfect marketing to sales handoff, read our post.

Marketing and sales enablement tools need to play together

Sales and marketing teams both have unique needs, so naturally, the tools they use are different. However, the technology stacks that each team employs must play nice with the other. They should all integrate fully with your CRM, or with each other, so there is zero data loss. Even better, find tools that both teams can leverage effectively.

Align your content usage

Content is king. When you align your sales and marketing teams, their content should align as well. Again, there needs to be a seamless transition in messaging and language so that your sales process is as smooth as possible for the prospect.

Since content is something that your prospect keeps with them and will reference without a salesperson present, every piece of content, regardless of who created it, must feed back into the overall story that is your sales process.

Use sales and marketing SLAs

Service level agreements are a powerful tool that both sales and marketing teams can use to hold one another accountable for particular components of their alignment. For example, SDRs may agree to respond to marketing-generated inbound leads within a certain amount of time. The key is that all SLAs must relate back to the ultimate goal of both teams: driving revenue.

Meet regularly, and often

There can be no sales and marketing alignment if both teams do not meet with one another at least once a week. It does not have to be your entire sales and marketing groups, but a few leaders from each department must get together to review processes, make adjustments, and provide feedback to one another.

Align your sales and marketing goals

Obviously, if your teams are aligned, your goals must be aligned, or else both groups will fight each other to reach their individual numbers. Create goals based on metrics that are mutually beneficial for each team so that they will work together to achieve them.

Listen to sales calls

Marketers don’t work the phones (there’s a reason for that). However, there is incredibly valuable information that comes straight from the prospect’s mouth. Marketers should leverage a sales call recording tool in order to listen to calls that salespeople make based off of their leads.

Through this, they can understand exactly what conversations they are generating, what is being discussed on them, and how they can help improve them.

It also provides marketing an opportunity to provide feedback to sales so the groups can further align their messaging and ensure consistency.

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About the Author

Zack Cronin

Zack is a Sales Content Specialist at RingDNA. He is passionate about solving everyday problems and increasing performance through innovative technology. Zack has worked directly with sales teams and understands the challenges they face on a daily basis. When he's not developing and sharing knowledge at RingDNA, he loves being outdoors, hiking, and coffee.