This is part two of a three-part, thought leadership series for chief marketing officers (CMOs) and other marketing and sales leaders. For part one, check out How Gift Giving Can Boost Your Sales Enablement Metrics. For part three, check out How to Automate Offline Marketing with a Scalable Gifting Strategy.
- The impact of aligning sales and marketing teams
- 4 best practices to get started with marketing and sales alignment
- The easy way to facilitate alignment
In the past, it was common for companies to have separate marketing and sales departments. And too often, these departments wouldn’t speak to each other, wouldn’t collaborate, and would even sometimes undercut each other’s success—intentionally or unintentionally. And when they would talk, it was often like they were speaking different languages at best, adversarial at worst.
But we’re in a new era, one that demands that these two departments work together like a well-oiled machine, with both sales and marketing aligned toward an organization’s goals. That means collaborating on strategy and listening to each other’s needs, but it also means actively working together.
Of course, this is always far easier said than done. Many chief marketing officers (CMOs) and vice presidents (VPs) of sales don’t know where to start.
With more than 20 years of CMO experience in software-as-a-service (SaaS), I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) what works and what doesn’t when it comes to aligning these two departments. Here are four best practices I’ve identified that I believe are essential to achieving alignment—and most importantly results.
1. Get Leadership and Goals Aligned
As is the case in many enterprise organizations, alignment needs to start at the top. CMOs and VPs of sales need to work together to develop revenue funnel goals that are fully aligned between the two departments.
2. Align Sales and Marketing Metrics
Not only does leadership need to agree on goals, but they need to also agree on the key metrics to be measured, and who’s responsible for each metric. For example, here at Sendoso, I’m aligning marketing and sales teams around “sales qualified opportunities,” not leads. While we do produce leads, I find that sales qualified opportunities are where the rubber hits the road because that’s where the marketing and sales roles best align.
3. Embrace Data Centralization
One thing I’ve observed over the past 20 years is the atomization of technology, where there are many different single-purpose tools. That resulted in sales and marketing data being just as siloed as the departments themselves. And as a result, extracting the right data and getting a broad, accurate view of what was happening in the business had become significantly more difficult.
A more recent trend, however, is a recentralization of data and processes with the advent of data lakes and cloud-based data warehouses. These technologies now give us a greater ability to centralize data and use business intelligence tools to extract meaningful insights from them. We don’t have to worry about who owns the data or where it’s coming from, or even if it’s formatted properly in many cases.
By centralizing data, companies can more easily align sales and marketing because leadership can now collect all the data they need to ensure you’re measuring and reporting results accurately from a single source of truth.
Software integrations can make this task easier. When your software has Salesforce integrations, for example, reviewing and reporting on the data is the start of centralizing your data from that single source of truth I spoke about.
4. Executional Tools
As I said above, it’s not enough to simply align on strategy and metrics. Marketing and sales departments need to be working hand-in-hand on a daily basis to achieve and benefit from alignment. And a technology tool is an easy way to start, and maintain, alignment.
There are essentially two lenses to view how an organization achieves executional alignment: One is clearly internally, where the left hand doesn’t appear to know what the right hand is doing and vice versa. We’ve probably all seen this where there are emails coming out of marketing, out of sales development, out of sales, where it’s clear that they’re not well-orchestrated and the teams clearly don’t know what the others are doing. Not surprisingly, this looks bad from the customer journey perspective, where customers are getting multiple, sometimes contradictory emails from a single company.
This is another area where technology tools play a key role and can be a hidden source of alignment. There are collaboration and automation tools, and sending platforms that allow centralization of engagement and activities. Whatever technologies are put in place, it’s vital that the customer journey has full visibility and control in that tool.
How to Align Sales and Marketing the Easy Way
If you do these four things, I think your alignment will be pretty good. But an easy way to align your sales and marketing teams is to implement a mutually beneficial software, like a Sending Platform.
Marketing teams can use it to drive leads and sales qualified opportunities. Sales teams can use it to warm up leads, book meetings, and close deals faster. With both teams operating from the same platform, it forces them to collaborate on their leadership, metrics, data, and goals. Just ask these CMOs who have benefited from alignment thanks to Sendoso.
Keep in mind, it’ll never be perfect, but just remember: We’re all on the same team and we all want to grow our organizations.
For more information on this topic, watch this webinar on how effective sales and marketing alignment can lead to over 200% ROI. Or if you’re ready to learn how the leading Sending Platform can help your marketing and sales team align, request a demo today.
About the writer: Alex Ortiz is the Chief Marketing Officer of Sendoso, the leading Sending Platform. Alex is responsible for the global marketing and partner organization and will focus on category leadership, brand strategy, and customer growth. Previously, Alex held executive marketing roles at high-growth technology companies including Tray.io, QuanticMind and Salesforce. He brings more than 20 years of experience in enterprise marketing.