7 Strategies To Building Sales-Marketing Alignment

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by: Jon Miller

As buyers take more control over their buying processes, building alignment between Sales and Marketing teams is now more important than ever. Yet despite the fact that they are pursuing common objectives (growth and revenue), Sales and Marketing all too often suffer an antagonistic relationship. Why can’t we all just get along?

The problem is that Sales and Marketing view things differently. Sales thinks only they are worried about making the quarter; Marketing thinks they are the only ones who think strategically. Sales wonder why they have to generate all their own leads; Marketing complains that sales ignores or criticizes everything the generate. Sales thinks Marketing is lightweight and easy; Marketing wonders why Sales can’t make their numbers.

MarketingSherpa just published a great article on this topic called Overcoming Office Politics – 7 Strategies to Generate & Close More Leads. The article is based on an interview with Marketo's CEO Phil Fernandez and Barry Trailer of CSO Insights. In it, Phil takes the perspective of the Marketing executive, Barry takes the Sales perspective, and together they discuss concrete actions to break down these barriers, align both teams, and build a single, integrated revenue pipeline.

Here is a summary of MarketingSherpa's 7 Strategies to Generate & Close More Leads:

1. Get commitment from the top. The marketing and sales teams need to communicate, and it needs to start from the CMO and CSO. Says Fernandez. "The VP of Sales and VP of Marketing should go get a beer together."

2. Model the marketing/sales funnel. An integrated revenue funnel helps each team understand what the other team is doing, and how their actions impact revenue.

3. Develop a common vocabulary. A common marketing/sales funnel also provides common language and metrics, which is especially important for defining when a lead is qualified and/or ready to be handed over to sales.

4. Look for operational disconnects. Make sure that goals, initiatives, and promotions are aligned by developing plans jointly and meeting monthly or at least quarterly.

5. Test key metrics to track. Trying to tackle all sales-marketing alignment issues at once is too daunting, so start by tracking two important metrics, such as lead volume and lead quality. This is a great way to start the dialog.

6. Create a closed-loop reporting process. Make sure marketing has a way to follow-up with sales to see how well leads are performing. This can help tune lead gen efforts, and is an important way to take qualified prospects that are not yet sales ready and recycle them back into marketing.

7. Share accountability between the teams. Marketing is a very measurable process, but the results are head to measure; it's easy to measure Sales outcomes but Sales activity is hard to measure. As a result, compensation and rewards tend to be very different, which creates further problems. The better your marketing accountability and ability to measure marketing's impact on the bottom line, the easier it is to bridge this gap.

Read the entire article on MarketingSherpa:

Original Post: http://blog.marketo.com/blog/2007/07/7-strategies-to.html