4 Surefire Ways to Align Sales and Marketing for Better Results

Posted by Kate Jurras on Thu, Mar 29, 2012

This guest blog post is by Alison Savery, an inbound marketing manager at HubSpot. HubSpot is an inbound marketing software company based in Cambridge, MA.

Smarketing, or closed-loop marketing, is the alignment and integration of Sales and Marketing. Since there’s a lot of overlap between these two revenue generating powerhouses, it’s critical to be sure they are aligned and agree on common goals. When this is not the case and goals are missed, it’s typical for these two groups to battle it out and point blame at one another. Marketing will accuse Sales of not working their leads deeply enough, and Sales will complain that Marketing is generating low-quality leads. By improving Smarketing and solidifying common goals between the two groups, you’ll spend less time bickering and more time closing business.

Follow these tips to make sure you get the most out of your Smarketing efforts.

1. Facilitate open communication between Sales and Marketing

In order to kick off Smarketing success, encourage Sales and Marketing to collaborate and promote constant and open communication. Encourage sales reps to give feedback on lead quality each month. This process will help marketers better understand what types of leads are most likely to close, so they can generate better quality leads. Encourage marketers to sit in on sales calls or help close deals so they can better understand the value of each lead they generate. Everyone in the organization has to buy into this notion; the Sales and Marketing managers or executives at the company should be meeting regularly to discuss the Smarketing strategy and how to communicate it to the rest of the team. Lastly, try scheduling a weekly Smarketing meeting to rally Sales and Marketing and celebrate their efforts as a joint group.

2. Rely on data to hold teams accountable

Once Sales and Marketing are communicating openly and frequently, you’ll want to keep that momentum going in a positive direction.  In addition to working collaboratively, the teams should be encouraged to discuss any misalignment or frustrations in a constructive manner. One way to keep opinions valid is to make sure the teams support their claims with data. If Sales feels the lead flow was light in the past month, then be sure they have the numbers from months prior to prove it. If Marketing feels that Sales isn’t working their leads, then they need to have data on their leads that shows the percentage of leads worked in a given month. This will keep Sales and Marketing data-driven and accountable for their efforts.

3. Create a Sales and Marketing agreement

One of the best ways to hold your Marketing and Sales teams accountable is through a Service Level Agreement (SLA).  An SLA is a service agreement where the level of service is defined and agreed upon by both parties, in this case Sales and Marketing. A Smarketing SLA is the agreement that Marketing will deliver a certain number of leads at a certain quality for Sales each month. This SLA can be tracked throughout the month so Marketing can track their progress. Once the SLA is agreed upon by both parties, Marketing is responsible for delivering and Sales has nothing to complain about if Marketing is meeting or exceeding the SLA goals.

4. Gather Smarketing data through Marketing and Sales software

As mentioned earlier, data is what keeps both teams honest and alleviates any tension between them. The best way to generate and analyze data for Sales and Marketing is by implementing marketing software, such as HubSpot, and sales software or a CRM, such as Salesforce. These two pieces of software alone can revolutionize the way you do business today. When they are integrated and share data, your business is exponentially more powerful because you’re creating something called closed-loop marketing. Closed-loop marketing gives you insight into the entire marketing and sales process from the time a visitor comes to your website to the time they buy your product or service.  Having this data is incredibly valuable – it lets you determine the ROI of your marketing efforts, manage your leads better, and figure out what works best to close deals. Additionally, it helps each of the teams: Sales is able to track the online behaviors of their leads to make what was once a cold call a warm call, and Marketing can get a better understanding of where their best leads come from and which types of leads will most likely convert into paying customers.

With the incredible advantages of closed-loop marketing, you can start driving better business right away. So don’t wait any longer – get your Sales and Marketing teams together and start smarketing.