“Lack of alignment is when your sales and marketing teams are operating with two different agendas,” shared Chris Willis, Marketing Operations Leader at Trimble.
Misalignment leads to lost opportunities and, ultimately, lost revenue.
Facilitating sales and marketing alignment is essential to driving business results. Strong alignment requires discussing priorities together, setting up lead management systems, holding each other accountable through SLAs, scheduling regular meetings, and tracking the right metrics.
The importance of sales and marketing alignment isn’t new, but even the best in the business still struggle to achieve true #smarketing.
Here’s advice from the experts on leading the sales and marketing charge as a marketing ops professional.
Have clear and measurable SLAs.
Maria Velasquez, Director of Demand Gen at Feroot, shared the importance of creating and documenting SLAs across the entire customer journey and how to drive alignment with effective SLAs. She advocates for creating SLAs together as a sales and marketing organization, ensuring that sales leadership feels bought in and can champion the process to their team. Maria also suggests having both parties sign the document to make it official.
We put together an SLA framework organized by the goal, engagement points, and timing based on talking with many leading marketing ops teams.
Here is an example of how to define and execute SLAs for lead stages and statuses throughout the buyer journey. Ensuring this is clearly defined and tracked is important, so each team knows what they are responsible for and when.
“In marketing ops, one of the biggest priorities is making sure that when leads flow into the database, they are routed to the correct rep, at the right time, with all of the correct data, and the data is accurate, so the sales rep has enough context to engage in a meaningful conversation,” shared Brad Couture, Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at CS2.
Another piece of the alignment puzzle is ensuring the systems and processes are in place to provide your sales team with the context they need to craft successful outreach.
Marketing ops teams are responsible for delivering the right leads at the right time with the right context to their sales teams. And, as Chris Willis pointed out, “in a system that is easy to use.”
To ensure that sellers have the information they need, marketing ops leaders must maintain an open dialogue and collect feedback from sales. Then, they must be able to translate the stories from sales into tech requirements as they work with data and engineering teams to manage workflows and technical implementations.
Peter Kirk, Senior Marketing Ops Manager at Lucid, logs and digs into all feedback from his sales team, even if it can’t be actioned on at the moment.
He then uses this feedback to make requirements more tangible when working with his data team.
At Retool, trial signups make up 99% of the inbound funnel. Jake was tasked with determining the trial process and how SDRs would interact with trial signups. Rather than guessing, he asked the SDR team what information would be most valuable to them, as they are more directly connected with prospects’ challenges. He also had to figure out the most logical place to keep the information. Since SDRs work out of Salesforce, it made the most sense to communicate critical information there.
Meet your sales team where they are with the information they need.
Another great way to gather information outside of talking to the sales teams is listening to sales calls either live or with a recording tool like Gong or Jiminny. Having the insights and understanding of actual prospect conversations makes marketing leaders better at their job.
Chris Walker, CEO at Refine Labs, shared an interesting perspective on the difference between alignment and collaboration. Alignment is agreeing on strategy and goals. Collaboration is working together only after there is alignment.
Over-collaboration can be a negative thing. It is crucial to align teams on what the go-to-market strategy is first. “People use collaboration as a bandaid to replace having alignment,” Chris shared. With alignment on goals, each team can execute and know how to contribute to their part of the plan.
Driving sales and marketing alignment is not easy, but hopefully, you’ve walked away with some new ideas on ways to find success!