A 5-Step Guide to Achieving Sales and Marketing Alignment

Sales Enablement
Marketing Operations
B2B data
Market Intelligence Data
May 10, 2024

Sales and marketing leaders, here's the thing. Despite your team's hard work, only 10 to 15% of leads actually turn into sales. This presents a double-sided challenge for companies: reaching as many customers as possible and convincing them to take action and purchase your awesome product.

Without effective alignment between sales and marketing, it's like shooting in the dark. Marketing may be able to generate leads, but sales can't convert customers because, quite frankly, both teams have different priorities. 

Image Sourced from Hubspot

Hubspot found that sales and marketing teams are struggling with a lot of challenges, including a lack of communication (32%), lack of alignment on strategies (29%), and lack of input of sales and marketing materials going out (29%). We're here to show you that while separate sales and marketing teams can still succeed, they're much stronger (and downright better) when they work together. 

This complete guide will give you the lowdown on all things sales and marketing alignment. We'll cover what it is (including the cute little term it's known as), its benefits, and how to make it happen. Let's get started. 

What is Sales and Marketing Alignment?

Sales and marketing alignment (sometimes known as smarketing) is like getting everyone in the same boat. It's about creating a shared framework where both teams understand the game plan and work together seamlessly. This means setting common goals and strategies and keeping the lines of communication wide open. 

Imagine you're the sales leader for a large business payroll organization. Your team is responsible for bringing in new clients and closing deals, while the marketing team is focused on generating leads and raising awareness. 

Without sales and marketing alignment, your team might be chasing after leads that marketing has generated, but they don't quite fit the bill. Or maybe marketing is creating content about your online payroll software that doesn't quite resonate with your target audience, making your job even harder. But with sales and marketing alignment, your sales efforts are complemented by marketing's initiatives, and vice versa.

Benefits of Smarketing

Now that you've got a better idea of what sales and marketing alignment is all about, let's explore some of the key advantages. These include: 

Better understanding of your audience

When sales and marketing teams join forces, good things happen. Sales teams are out there on the front lines, chatting with customers, while marketing teams are digging into real-time data (like product launch data or social media handles) and trends. Together, they can get a real understanding of their customers. 

For example, suppose you're a marketing leader working for a HR management tech company. Your sales counterparts are out there, hearing firsthand what HR professionals need and want from your technology product. Meanwhile, your marketing team is crunching numbers, uncovering trends, and tracking online chatter. When they share what they know, you've got this clear picture of who your audience really is: what they like, what they don't, and what makes them tick. Armed with this, you can tailor your messaging and campaigns to hit the mark every time, making your audience feel like you're speaking directly to them.

A revenue-aligned strategy

Image Sourced from Hubspot

If both teams roll up their sleeves and work together, sharing insights and real-time data to fuel each other's success. Marketing dishes out valuable intel about target customers, their pain points, desires, and industry trends. Sales teams provide crucial feedback from their front-line interactions, helping refine marketing strategies. 

These teams can up their game across the board. They're not just boosting lead quality or marketing ROI. No, they're also strengthening brand credibility and, most importantly, driving revenue through the roof. But don't just take our word for it. In a recent survey, 32% of sales and marketing leaders cited increased revenue as being one of the biggest benefits of smarketing. 

Improved collaboration and efficiency

When marketing and sales teams can align their efforts, they enhance collaboration and efficiency throughout the company. Think about it: instead of working in silos, these teams are sharing insights, strategies, and resources. This means fewer misunderstandings, less duplication of efforts, and smoother workflows.

Imagine your sales team identifies a recurring issue where customers are hesitant to make purchases due to high prices. With this insight, your marketing team can swiftly create a promotional campaign offering a discount code tailored specifically to address this concern. By streamlining communication and collaboration, businesses can respond more swiftly to market changes, stay ahead of competitors, and ultimately deliver a better overall experience for customers.

TIP: Want to learn more about the benefits of aligning sales and marketing? Our brilliant client, Microsoft, has created a handy ebook.

5 Steps to Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Teams

Ready to bring your super sales and magical marketing teams into sync? These eight steps will show you exactly how to make it happen.

Step 1: Meet with each other regularly 

Free to use image sourced from Unsplash

Regular meetings are the backbone of maintaining a strong connection between sales and marketing teams. Here are some tips to ensure sales and marketing teams stay connected:

  • Onboard with Smarketing in mind: Start off on the right foot by holding smarketing meetings with every new salesperson. Share processes, resources, and best practices from day one. This sets the stage for a collaborative relationship and clarifies how marketing supports sales.
  • Attend weekly meetings: Encourage your marketing team to participate in weekly sales meetings and your sales team to attend weekly marketing meetings. This gives them valuable knowledge into progress and allows them to offer support as needed.
  • Hold monthly meetings with managers: Schedule monthly meetings between marketing and sales managers to review performance metrics and evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies. Share key metrics such as lead generation, MQLs, and conversion rates to ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards common goals. 

Step 2: Collaborate on content creation and distribution

Creating sales and marketing content usually falls under the marketing team's domain. But it's essential for marketing to team up closely with sales to ensure the content they're putting out hits the mark.

Marketing teams need to know what messages are resonating with sales reps and which ones aren't quite cutting it. Equally important, sales should share the common questions they field from prospects with marketing. By addressing these questions early on through marketing content, you can smooth out the entire sales process.

Now, here's the key: you need to craft a unified narrative. Both departments should be on the same page about what we're selling, the purpose of your product or service, who it's aimed at, and the overall brand story you're telling. This alignment guarantees consistent messaging and enhances the overall customer experience. So work together on your blogs, web pages, email builder and marketing materials. 

Step 3: Do some cross-departmental shadowing

Another fantastic way to ensure your sales and marketing teams are on the same page is by implementing cross-departmental shadowing at your company.

According to Harvard Business Review, having marketing team members shadow sales calls regularly and attend sales meetings can be incredibly beneficial. This firsthand experience allows marketers to gain insights into prospect challenges, understand the sales process better, and grasp the realities of current sales efforts.

By shadowing the other departments, teams can empathize with the challenges they face. For marketing departments, understanding the sales process (including important sales frameworks like MEDDPICC) helps in creating killer content that resonates with potential customers.

Step 4: Implement integrated technology solutions

Image Sourced Revenue Marketing Alliance

Technology has completely revolutionized the way that sales and marketing teams align and collaborate. By Integrating some of these awesome and innovative technology solutions, you'll be able to streamline data sharing and collaboration, making sales and marketing alignment much simpler and more efficient. 

The Revenue Marketing Alliance found that 78% of successful smarketing teams leverage technology to aid their cause. Wondering which tech to use? Here are some essential solutions to foster alignment:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
  • Social media management tools
  • Marketing automation platforms
  • Sales enablement software
  • Shared project management tools
  • Data analytics and business intelligence tools

Step 5: Share Reporting and Analysis

Effective sales and marketing alignment requires a culture of sharing insights and analysis. Both your sales and marketing teams diligently track and measure various metrics to evaluate performance and identify areas for improvement. By openly exchanging their learnings, salespeople and marketers can uncover valuable insights that might otherwise remain hidden. What might seem like unrelated KPIs or analyses from one team could hold significant implications for the other?

A stellar example of this is done by Amazon. Renowned for its data-driven practices, the company meticulously analyzes lots of customer data spanning browsing behavior, search history, and purchase patterns. This wealth of information enables the company to craft highly targeted marketing and advertising campaigns. 

Final Thoughts 

So there you have it. Our complete guide on smarketing, with definitions, benefits and steps to get you started. We've covered a lot in this guide, and hopefully, you're feeling pumped about aligning your teams for success. It's no easy feat, but trust us, the payoff is totally worth it.

So, get cracking! Start those regular meetings, collaborate on killer content, shadow each other's departments, embrace innovative tech solutions, and, most importantly, share those insights and analyses like Amazon does.

With these strategies in your toolkit, you're well on your way to smashing those sales and marketing goals. Here's to a future filled with stronger alignment, better results, and happy customers. You've got this!

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