Sales and Marketing Alignment in the Current Digital Landscape

In the current digital landscape, communication and transparency between sales and marketing is imperative. With outbound efforts on the decline and inbound and micro moment marketing on the rise, marketing teams are contributing more leads and clients to the sales pipeline than ever before. 
Not only that, customer engagement strategies are more robust than ever, allowing marketing teams to contribute larger numbers of new customers and bolster customer loyalty. Marketing teams are leading the way for nurturing leads, from a cold MQLs to a warm SQLs that can be passed along to the sales teams.  

That being said, sales teams are a vital part of any organization.  Even though the days of cold sales outreach are fading away, sales teams are still the connector between an informed lead or client and the brand or service they require. As the shift to digital has evolved, so have the roles and efforts sales teams must undertake in the sales cycle. 

It is clear that marketing and sales need to work in tandem to successfully bolster pipelines, engage clients, close deals and increase ROI. Both team’s efforts go hand in hand and inform the other with information needed for success. The bottom line is that neither can successfully reach their goals without the help of the other.

Breaking the Divide

There will always be individual styles, contributions, strengths and approaches, lacking infrastructures means it’s impossible to efficiently scale and measure sales and marketing efforts cohesively. Even when success can be managed without structure, the lack thereof prevents institutional learnings about what efforts worked and which did not.

“For any successful B2B effort, sales and marketing need to be in cohort with a robust process and methodology that drives sales behavior and performance. In the absence of process and methodology we depend on individual strengths and weaknesses.” 
-Jay Kulkarni, Founder and CEO, Theorem

The long standing division between sales and marketing needs to be eliminated and collaborative workflows must be implemented. The bottom line for each is the ROI they create for their organization which cannot be achieved by either without the help of the other.

Uniting Through Common Goals

According to Salesforce Research’s 2020 State of Marketing, Sixth Edition, 82% of B2B marketers said they share common goals and metrics with their sales teams indicating that revenue is the KPI most often tracked by marketers. This statistic speaks for itself, sales and marketing have common goals and can achieve them more successfully and efficiently when they join together to do so.

“Teams need a robust sense of process, methodology and metrics as part of the DNA in order to unify and succeed.”
-Jay Kulkarni, Founder and CEO, Theorem

Revenue goals for the company are a point of unification that all sales and marketing teams have. The key to translating this commonality across both teams is to break revenue down in terms of KPIs that resonate with each. In many casesthis can be done by determining what revenue goals look like in terms of MQLs and SQLs demonstrating what each is contributing to the bottom line.

“You can evolve if you meet people where they are and build mutual respect. It’s not about sales versus marketing. It’s about how you accomplish goals, how you use your tools and capabilities, and how you work together with a common mindset.”
— Connie Weaver, CMO at Equitable

Aligning marketing and sales teams based upon their contribution to revenue outcomes is a surefire way to create uniformity and cohesive understanding of their impacts on each other. This exercise can bolster respect between the two departments as well as jump start a collaborative conversation about cross strategy enablement and implementation between the two.

Developing Agile Infrastructures

A flexible and adaptable sales and marketing infrastructure must be established and implemented that can help drive new revenues and enter new verticals and marketplaces. While sales and marketing teams will still retain their own individual KPIs and goals, the overall goals of their efforts are company goals.  Creating methodical yet agile workflows based on these over arching company goals is the only way to assure they are achieved. 
While each company will require a different type of infrastructure for their internal teams, the central focus points will remain the same.

Define areas of focus: 

Diversified pipeline management
Unified brand messaging
Lead nurture and qualification processes
Reporting and analysis of market trends
Consistent high-quality customer journeys
Client segments and messaging
Value propositions and solutions
Lead qualification milestones
Ensure and enhance scalability
Understanding of the customer value cycle
Defining and understanding common goals and objectives
Basing a workflow or infrastructure across teams on these focal points will allow for the ability of both sales and marketing to be nimble. Meaning pivots to strategy can be easily achieved based on outcomes and analysis of previous and existing endeavors. 
In the modern B2B and D2C landscape, agility is key. The ability to utilize reporting to pivot tactics to enhance performance is a must to keep up with the ever changing demands of the consumer market. Those who cannot work cohesively to do this will waste precious budgets and fall behind their competitors quickly.

Unification via Data Utilization

At the heart of all modern sales and marketing efforts is data. With the robust evolution of data collection came and even more powerful focus on the utilization of that data. This has become even more prevalent in the wake of the COVID pandemic with digital channel usage at an all time high. 
Data collection and utilization practices have been at the crux of marketing and sales efforts for over a decade. As data usage has evolved, so too has the need for universal data points across organizations. In order to better serve clients, teams must share and aggregate customer data to create uniformity of messaging. 

In Conclusion

The underlying trend for all modern business is agility — and marketing and sales are no exception. Teams that remain siloed will not succeed in achieving their goals and this is especially true when it comes to sales and marketing. 
While the contention between the two has been long standing, their goals remain unified. As consumer wants and needs evolve to request more personalized digital connections with brands, sales and marketing teams must unify efforts to meet the demand.  Utilizing cohesive data to create more personalized and hyper-targeted messaging across sales and marketing is the best way to create engagement, secure more leads and enhance brand loyalty. 

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