How well do your marketing and sales teams work together to achieve joint corporate goals?
I know, that can be a loaded question. The good news is that two-thirds of the marketing and sales professionals and company executives who responded to HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound survey said their departments were either tightly aligned (which a service level agreement in place) or generally aligned.
But that leaves 1 in 3 companies that are not, and even those that are “generally aligned” could probably use some improvement.
Where do your teams fall on a scale from misaligned to tightly-aligned? If you aren’t sure what impacts alignment, or what specific steps you can take to improve alignment (and therefore improve marketing effectiveness, sales closures and revenue), take the test outlined below.
Are your marketing and sales teams aligned for greater ROI and revenue growth?
Give your marketing and sales teams a score of 1 to 5 (1 meaning never, 5 meaning always) regarding how consistently they follow the best practices outlined in each of the following statements. A perfect score would be 50 points.
1. Our company uses closed loop marketing to track how leads enter the system, what interactions they have with our website and/or staff, and what actions precede a completed sale or closed deal.
2. The data collected through closed loop marketing, and other marketing metrics, are shared across the marketing and sales teams on a regular basis. This includes (score yourself separately for each sub-category, as well as giving yourself points for overall):
a) Visits, leads, and visit-to-lead and lead-to-customer ratios for each marketing channel
b) Marketing-originated or marketing-influenced leads and sales
c) Sales-generated leads and sales
d) Top converting content (specific landing pages, emails, etc.)
3. We have an established definition for our sales funnel/buyers journey and share specifications and expectations of what constitutes a marketing qualified lead.
4. Our marketing department consistently shares lead intelligence with sales, including information gathered about each lead through progressive forms and lead nurturing, as well as what content the lead has accessed prior to transitioning to sales.
5. We have an established service level agreement which formalizes the commitment of the sales and marketing teams make to meet shared goals for revenue growth, including marketing's commitment to deliver a certain quantity and quality of leads and sales' commitment to a specified follow-up timeline and procedure.
6. The marketing department consistently shares marketing content with the sales team, and the sales team uses that content as appropriate in direct contacts with prospects and leads.
How did you rate your marketing and sales teams’ relationship? Obviously, we didn’t get into the more personal connections and individual personalities, but if you have proper processes in place, you set the stage for everyone to work more effectively together toward the same objectives: the creatives, the data-crunchers, and the personal touch sales gurus.
25 or fewer points:
It can’t be fun working in either department if you aren’t working together toward shared goals. The good news is that you have the opportunity to make big improvements if you can get everyone on board.
Depending on which areas had the lowest scores, your approach to improve alignment could start with implementing closed loop marketing to begin tracking those metrics that should be shared between departments, or you may need to formalize the definition of a marketing-qualified lead and create a formal service level agreement, just to get all parties on the same track and moving the same direction. Don’t attempt to change everything at once; pick one area to improve before moving on to the next.
Where were your lowest scores? Pick one of those areas to address at your next interdepartmental meeting (or call a meeting between leadership in marketing and sales if you aren’t sitting down together on a regular basis already). Chances are you are already collecting and sharing data. The next step is to put it to use formalizing an agreement that outlines what each department is responsible for in reaching for overall company goals.
With 35 to 45 points, your company probably falls into the “generally aligned” category, but there may be a few details you still need to finalize. If you are missing the formal service level agreement, download a sample template here to get started. The other most likely point that is being overlooked is sharing marketing content and making the most of that content on the sales side as well.
Congratulations! Your company has avoided the common problem of seeing marketing and sales as independent, separate entities with different goals and has instead found the processes and mindsets that encourage working together effectively toward a joint goal. In the comments, please share your tips for creating a positive environment that brings marketing and sales into close alignment.
Which of the statements above received the lowest scores? Check out these blog posts and downloadable resources to find tips and templates for improving marketing-sales alignment.
Closed loop marketing:
Metrics & shared reporting
Defining the sales funnel/buyers’ journey & marketing qualified leads
3 Ways To Define The Customer Sales Cycle & Segment Marketing Efforts
Gathering and sharing lead information between marketing and sales
Implementing a formal service level agreement (SLA) between marketing sales
Use Service Level Agreements To Align Marketing & Sales Quotas
Put Dollar Values On Your Marketing-Sales Service Level Agreements
Service Level Agreement To Calculate Lead Goals (downloadable template)
Sharing marketing content and utilizing it at the sales level
Examining a relationship isn’t always fun, and sometimes unearths things we need to work on ourselves (not everything is the fault of the other party, after all). But the payoff for doing that work, in this case, benefits everyone in the company.
Get more details on aligning your marketing and sales teams, sharing data, setting expectations, and developing processes that improve sales closure rates in The Complete Guide To Unifying Marketing & Sales. You can download it here, and then share your own tips or successful ideas in the comments section.