The benefits of sales and marketing alignment are undeniable: better leads, shorter sales cycles, more conversions, and higher revenue.
Behind the scenes, these results are driven by effective communication, collaboration, and shared accountability to winning the right customers for the business. And ultimately, it all boils down to one thing — a seamless buyer experience at every stage of the purchase journey.
According to LinkedIn research, 87% of marketing and sales leaders say collaboration between their two teams enables critical business growth, and 85% say it’s their largest opportunity for business growth today.
Separate research from HubSpot found that nearly half of marketing and sales professionals report alignment has become even more critical in 2022.
But there’s a catch: Only 23% say marketing and sales teams are “very aligned” at their own organizations.
In this article, we’ll walk through seven actionable ways you can bridge that gap. These tactics will help you optimize alignment between your sales and marketing teams to increase revenue and effectively grow your business.
- RevOps-driven companies operate sales and marketing efforts under a single go-to-market strategy.
- Effective sales and marketing alignment requires a balance between shared goals and separately defined responsibilities.
- Marketing and sales leaders should facilitate frequent opportunities for communication and collaboration between the two teams.
- An intelligent revenue platform solution provides a critical central source of data truth across the entire pipeline.
- Celebrating small wins on the way to larger goals builds momentum and buy-in for aligned sales and marketing efforts.
7 Ways to Optimize Sales and Marketing for Higher Revenue
Set shared goals and KPIs
Go-to-market strategies encompass shared goals across marketing and sales teams, measured by clear KPIs to drive performance accountability. Setting shared goals also builds shared perspectives and buy-in for joint desired outcomes. The journey toward meeting these goals, then, becomes a collaborative effort, rather than a siloed or even competitive one.
Align sales and marketing as the go-to-market team
In RevOps organizations (and others operating holistic growth strategies), sales and marketing are truly no longer separate teams.
Not only are traditional silos eliminated, but the two functions operate as two parts of a larger whole — the go-to-market (GTM) team. Go-to-market teams handle every part of the buyer and customer journey, from initial lead generation to retention and loyalty initiatives.
When marketing and sales leaders refer to their teams’ collective efforts as a GTM strategy, the individuals on those teams can see their work as part of the same initiative.
Define separate responsibilities
Equally important to setting shared goals is defining the separate responsibilities of each team for accomplishing them.
This is somewhat of a balancing act for marketing and sales leaders — that is, maintaining a culture of shared accountability while also defining the separate ways that accountability will be measured.
While it’s critical for sales and marketing teams to be aligned, the two functions still serve their own unique purposes within the go-to-market strategy. It’s important not to let lines get blurred around which team is responsible for which parts of your unique strategy.
For example: An organization may set a shared goal to increase lead conversion by 10%. They could then set specific parameters around sales lead acceptance to make goal achievement more likely. This process would outline how and within what timeframe leads should be scored and submitted to sales for acceptance, as well as how sales should acknowledge acceptance.
Now, marketing and sales are working toward the same goal while executing the separate responsibilities necessary to achieve it.
Facilitate frequent communication
Shared goals shouldn’t be implemented with a “set-it-and-forget-it” mindset. Instead, the work toward reaching marketing and sales objectives should be defined by ongoing collaboration.
This is facilitated at the leadership level through clear channels for communication and ongoing opportunities to discuss progress. In practice, this can happen in a variety of ways: shared reporting, periodic meetings, single-source visibility into pipeline data (more on that next), and clearly defined roles.
Adopt tools that provide single-source visibility
Today, the highest-performing organizations adopt tools that go well beyond (but also integrate with) standard CRM systems to enhance data capabilities and build a single source of data truth across teams (including marketing, sales, and every other revenue-impacting function).
Comprehensive intelligent revenue platforms are the best-practice option for achieving this — they not only provide real-time pipeline insight, but they serve as a common repository for data and reporting related to larger go-to-market initiatives.
Adopting this type of tool enhances your teams’ decision-making capabilities, allows them to easily collaborate through digital channels, and automates the generation of smart insights for agile strategy development.
Qualify leads effectively
Lead qualification is the formal process of evaluating leads for readiness at various stages of the buyer journey.
Typically, marketing qualified leads (MQLs) live in the awareness and initial interest stages. Sales accepted leads bridge the gap — they’ve met the criteria to be passed from marketing to sales, but still require some nurturing. Sales qualified leads show purchase readiness and are ready for more direct sales communications.
The specific criteria that defines each qualification stage varies by company. The most important step is to define what that criteria looks like for your organization, and put the right processes in place for holding marketing and sales teams accountable for qualification.
Lead qualification increases sales and marketing alignment by making it a collaborative process and reduces friction by setting clear parameters around where leads belong in the pipeline.
Your sales and marketing teams will undoubtedly experience smaller wins on their way to reaching larger goals. Recognizing and celebrating these wins builds important momentum to keep teams engaged and maintain their buy-in for the alignment you’ve set in motion.
Set benchmarks for periodic progress markets on the way to reaching overall goals, and find ways to publicly acknowledge them to keep your teams motivated.
Elevate Your Sales and Marketing Alignment with Xactly
Team alignment is made easier when you have the right tools in place to support it, and when it comes to marketing and sales, Xactly’s got you covered. Our Intelligent Revenue platform supports the alignment of sales and marketing teams with precise plans and data-informed insights to help them consistently achieve their goals.