Today, sales and marketing teams operate in a customer-first environment. In order to be successful, these teams must prioritize creating experiences that help resolve buyers’ pain points. Rather than focus on closing deals, sales reps and marketers need to partner together to create content experiences that support buyers as they navigate through the buyer journey.
When sales and marketing teams work closely together, they can unlock new opportunities and, ultimately, win new business. For example:
- Sales and marketing alignment can lead to a 32% percent increase in year-over-year revenue growth.
- 78% of executive buyers claim salespeople do not have relevant materials. (Aberdeen Group)
- Only 6% of B2B marketers claim they can effectively measure the performance of their content using metrics that reveal business impact on the pipeline.
What is sales and marketing alignment?
In order to put the buyer first, sales and marketing teams need to work together to create high-quality, relevant, and valuable content throughout the buyer journey. Sales and marketing alignment is driven by a shared pursuit of common goals, objectives, and business priorities. Sales and marketing leaders should work together and develop a strategy to achieve shared targets like pipeline and revenue generation.
What are some signs that teams aren’t aligned?
The separation of sales and marketing teams can create silos that inhibit collaboration. We’ve found that when sales and marketing teams are misaligned, they face common challenges such as:
- Teams have independent goals, objectives, and priorities
- Sales training and onboarding take too long
- Lack of communication or collaboration on campaigns
- Sales doesn’t follow consistent selling processes
- Sales struggles to move buyers through deal cycles
- Marketing struggles to understand the ROI of their content
Alignment best practices
Enablement is designed to bridge this gap and align sales and marketing teams on common goals and objectives. As organizations begin to implement enablement best practices, they might:
- Create shared revenue goals
- Centralize sales training and sales coaching
- Identify and work together to close communication gaps
- Partner together to develop buyer personas and buyer’s journey
- Collaborate on sales content
- Push winning content to sales via automation and integrations
- Review content track engagement throughout the sales cycle
How to encourage sales and marketing alignment
The legacy of siloed sales and marketing teams no longer works in the current B2B landscape. Go-to-market (GTM) teams should share common goals and be aligned toward closing deals and driving revenue. These are a few ways your sales and marketing teams can work together to break down barriers.
Shared revenue and pipeline goals
Once GTM teams are aligned on pipeline and revenue targets, sales and marketing leadership can work backward to develop a strategy. If your pipeline target is $20M then sales and marketing leadership can determine how many leads need to be generated, how many calls need to be scheduled, and how many demos are necessary to reach that target. By collaborating to create the ideal buyer journey, both sales and marketing teams can understand how their individual efforts contribute to shared outcomes.
Encourage positive collaboration and competition
It’s fun to work together but there’s always room for healthy competition. Once your GTM team has established its goals and targets for the quarter, it can be fun to engage in cross-functional competition and celebrate individual and shared victories. Consider a race toward 200 form conversions for marketing or 200 demo presentations for sales reps. The only thing that matters is that your marketers and sales reps remain engaged and have fun. At the end of the day, sales and marketing teams have a shared opponent: your competitors.
Competition can improve productivity but collaboration increases efficiency. It’s only natural that your sales organization has top-performers. These sales reps have valuable insights that they can share with their colleagues to improve overall performance within the department. For example, if a sales rep is highly skilled at first calls, they can partner with less experienced reps to share knowledge that will help them to upskill.
Create shared lines of communication
Communication is the foundation of every relationship. Why should the relationship between sales and marketing be any different? As both organizations work toward shared goals, updates and check-ins are needed to understand progress, gaps, and opportunities.
Different forms of communication work for different levels of business. While sales and marketing leadership may need to meet weekly for status updates, individual contributors may only need to participate in a monthly meeting of the GTM team. Informal and ad-hoc channels like Slack or Microsoft Teams can be used to great effect when sales and marketing have shared channels. These are great environments for sales reps to ask for content recommendations based on a meeting that they’re prepping for with a prospect.
Share a platform for content management
Here’s a painful truth: 70 percent of the content that is created by marketers goes unused by sellers. There are a variety of factors that contribute to this issue, the largest of which is content management and discovery.
Sellers can’t use content that they’re not aware of. If content is poorly organized in a shared drive, discovery is nearly impossible. Fortunately, content management systems make it easy for marketers to host the content they create and organize it in such a way that sales reps can easily access it. High-quality software gives sellers and marketers tools to collaborate and orchestrate content so that hand-offs are seamless. As a result, sales reps have access to the content they need across sales stages, products, and buyer personas.
Prioritize sales enablement
Organizations that practice smart enablement generally have better outcomes. In the 2021 Annual Sales Enablement Benchmark Report, 90% of enablement leaders viewed sales enablement as a strategic enabler for their business. Visionaries, or companies that practice enablement at a high level, incorporate enablement into every stage of the customer lifecycle. In 2020, these same companies achieved 120% quota attainment.
Sales enablement works because it is the thread that ties together shared sales and marketing priorities. Prioritizing enablement means giving enablement leadership a seat at the table. Since enablement leaders help to align sales and marketing teams, when they report to the c-suite, enablement leadership can give visibility to GTM alignment at the highest levels of the business.
What are the benefits of smart enablement?
When your sales, marketing, and customer success teams come together as part of the GTM engine, they can work together to achieve shared goals. Enablement software gives GTM teams a shared environment for content management and a host of other features that can be
Smart enablement is more than just content management. Effective enablement factors into every stage of the sales lifecycle. It begins with training, coaching, and ramping sales reps. Smarter enablement also means giving sales reps the content and tools they need to effectively engage customers and clients. In the digital-first age, this includes tools such as social selling, customizable email templates, and digital sales rooms.
Each of these tools enables sellers to engage and support buyers throughout the sales cycle. For example, a sales rep may first engage a buyer on LinkedIn and follow up by email. If they land a first call, they can use insights from the call to curate personalized content that can be shared with the buyer in a digital sales room. Based on the buyer’s interests and the content shared, sales reps can use sales training and coaching features to brush up on skills and make the most of every buyer engagement.
Sales is more difficult than ever. In the digital-first era, sales reps get fewer opportunities to engage buyers, so they need to make every interaction count. Maximizing buyer engagement starts with sales and marketing alignment. When sales and marketing are on the same page, sales reps can partner with marketing to create and access the content that is most relevant to their buyers. Sales enablement can help solidify this relationship by helping go-to-market teams work toward their shared goals and, ultimately, generate pipeline and revenue.
Only 6% of chief sales officers are confident they’ll hit their numbers. If you’d like to learn more about sales enablement and how it can help your organization get enablement right, check out our ultimate guide, Riding the Next Wave of Enablement.