5 Strategies for Successful Marketing and Sales Alignment

More often than not, there’s a divide between marketing and sales teams. For many companies, this just seems to be a fact of life. But why can’t marketing and sales get along? Usually, it’s because they aren’t really aligned. 

Marketing and sales teams typically use separate processes, tools, and data, and they have different priorities. What all this means is that, in many organizations, marketing and sales work in different systems and use different data. 

While this may sometimes allow each team to be successful on its own, more often than not, it doesn’t foster the collaboration required to deliver the unified, Amazon-like experiences expected by a majority of today’s customers. 

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.

At Salesforce, we’ve worked hard to overcome the marketing and sales divide — and here are the five key strategies we live by to make it happen.

SHARE GOALS AND METRICS

Sales and marketing alignment starts with giving both teams common goals. While the two teams’ jobs will always be different, they need to have shared high-level goals that lead to pipeline and revenue targets. 

At Salesforce, revenue and pipeline targets are the primary focus for both sales and marketing. Each of the core marketing and sales roles is responsible for meeting specific targets. We use the same data and dashboards for both teams, which makes it easy to measure the performance of each team throughout the year.

DEVELOP CHAMPIONS ON EACH TEAM

When it comes to building and managing relationships between marketing and sales, having support at the leadership level is table stakes. What really drives successful relationships, though, is having champions at the account executive level — in both marketing and sales.

When you have top account executives advocating for marketing and sales alignment, you’ll drive a collaborative mindset throughout your entire organization and be better equipped to work together to achieve common goals.

For example, having a champion in marketing can help salespeople navigate their deal cycles. Salespeople need various assets to support their deals, like pitch decks, white papers, ROI calculators, and other content to send to customers. When salespeople proactively support marketers in the development of those assets, they can help influence the creation of content that’ll, in turn, help them make better deals. 

COMMUNICATE CONSTANTLY

Properly aligned marketing and sales teams aren’t islands. They’re constantly collaborating, communicating, and working together to make each other better. To help inspire communication between your teams, you may have to instate a communication program.  

A few years ago at Salesforce Pardot, we realized that sales frequently missed updates and was generally unaware of what marketing was up to. Our reps needed a quick and simple way to learn new information that could help them sell more, and marketing needed sales to be able to more effectively leverage the resources they created. 

Now, each Monday, our marketing team posts the top upcoming events, webinars, sales resources, and product announcements in an easily digestible online memo. Sales knows exactly when to expect this information, and everything they need to know is prioritized for them. As a result, our sales teams now use marketing programs and resources far more than they ever did before. 

TURN ENABLEMENT SESSIONS INTO PIPELINE WORKSHOPS

At Salesforce Pardot, our sales and marketing teams realized that enablement sessions tend to eat up time that could otherwise be used to focus on revenue-generating activities. In standalone enablement sessions without a strong call-to-action, we’d sit and learn about some new product or release and then go back to work. It was a pretty passive experience.

Not anymore. We decided to make all enablement actionable by turning enablement sessions into pipeline workshops. Every session needs to involve a pipeline-generating activity. Here’s an example from a recent program designed to help our sales teams sell our account-based marketing (ABM) solution to healthcare and life sciences (HLS) accounts:

  • First, we gave sales a list of high-propensity-to-buy accounts, with insights about why each account would be a great fit for Pardot. 
  • Sales reviewed the lists and created Stage 1 opportunities for the accounts in Salesforce.
  • Once sales identified their target accounts, we hosted a 45-minute enablement workshop with marketing, delivered by top AEs. In the workshop, sales was asked to build outreach plans for the accounts.
  • Then, we hosted a webinar on ABM in HLS, to which sales invited their target accounts.
  • After that, we hosted a ‘Dinner for 2 Content’ for the AE who generated the most qualified pipeline in the program. Competitions like this get everyone excited and hold them accountable.

By building a pipeline-generating program around enablement sessions, we’ve maximized the value of our time and successfully turned a previously passive activity into a revenue generator.

EMPOWER SALES WITH MARKETING INSIGHTS

When marketing and sales work in the same technology platform, sales teams have full visibility of all the marketing activity in each account — allowing them to work smarter. 

With a full understanding of account and lead engagement history, sales can see which types of campaigns and content each account is most interested in. Artificial intelligence (AI) can surface the most important insights, so sales can tailor their account and lead engagement strategies based on relevant data.

AI lead scoring can also help sales prioritize leads by identifying which ones are likeliest to buy. With real-time alerts, sales can even be notified at the exact second a lead opens an email or visits your website — allowing reps to engage at the moment of interest. 

Having access to these insights can really change how reps sell. It’ll also foster increased collaboration between marketing and sales, as sales will be able to fully understand the impact of marketing on different accounts. 

Learn more about how technology can help marketing and sales collaborate in our e-book Marketing Automation and Your CRM: Better Together.