4 Great Ways To Optimize Marketing and Sales Alignment

Smart businesses today depend on the delivery of a cohesive customer experience that seamlessly blends Marketing and Sales organizations to close a deal and grow a relationship. The two teams are so tightly intertwined and dependent on one another that logically, one would think the partnership would be absolute bliss. But so often that is not the case. Marketing and Sales Alignment has become one of those holy over-used terms to signify the oft-tenuous relationship between corporate Sales and Marketing leaders. Both teams share a common goal (revenue) and strive to grow their businesses. Marketers want to know what’s happening to their leads in order to justify their hard work; for Sales however, there are never enough leads in the pipeline to close and the leads that are there, are never good enough. So why has this pivotal relationship deteriorated and how can we get these two critical teams playing nice again? Luckily for most companies, there are plenty of solutions at their disposal to improve alignment. Here are a few tactics that we have seen work to align marketing and sales teams around a common goal

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

When we think about collaboration between Marketing and Sales, we like to start with the customer and common motives. So, if Marketing facilitated a conversation between the Sales team and a Customer, who would win? Hopefully you guessed all three, because there are plenty of really easy ways to leverage campaign automation and customer segmentation to retain and upsell a customer.

One easy way to increase collaboration between teams, and directly benefit the customer as well, is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). The Net Promoter Score represents a global, standardized way of tracking product or service quality and a great way to predict retention. The question is simple and never changes: On a scale of 1-10, would you recommend our product/services? An NPS score of at least an 8 means that you have a customer advocate. Less than 8 means that the relationship requires attention and a plan from the account team to improve the relationship.

From a tactical prespective, a dedicated process around NPS is an investment in the customer relationship and a signal that both Marketing and Sales teams are commited to their customer’s success. A basic NPS process is easy to implement and has an immediate and measureable impact on the business.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when implementing your internal NPS process:

  • Dont just track most recent responses – ensure that you can see the history of responses so you can track progress over time,
  • NPS offers customers a channel for providing overall feedback and flagging when things are not going well. Make sure that your NPS Process is sponsored (there’s a actual process to track and follow-up on them) and live (easily accessible not just executed on a quarterly or annual-basis),
  • It would be natural for Sales or Account Management to follow-up on feedback, but the NPS also represents a great opportunity for marketing to learn more about their customers’ experiences.

SLAs & Lead Scoring

It goes without saying, that most marketing initiatives will be ineffective without at least some input from Sales leaders. One great example of this dependency is centered on the Qualification process. Lead scoring helps prioritize a company’s leads, for example, and is an extraordinarily common tactic for big businesses. Lead scoring would be completely irrelevant without feedback from Sales on what works and what does not work. The collaboration between Marketing and Sales is necessary to not only understand lessons learned from past experiences, but more importantly what to expect in the future. Therefore, at the beginning of every Lead Qualification initative, this is what I need to know from Sales in order to understand what success looks like:

  • What are the most important features of a great lead? What types of leads do you look forward to calling?
  • How do you like to be alerted to a new, qualified lead from marketing? Do you prefer email, text, voicemails, or would you like a link to a live report that you would keep checking?
  • Sometimes people forget to follow-up and get involved in other tasks during an eventful day. How can Marketing facilitate communication between Sales and a Qualified Lead? How would you like us to get in touch with you?
  • What pieces of information would you ideally like to know before making a call? How can we add context to what you already have?

At the end of the day, your algorithm is going to determine the profile of just about every Lead that Marketing passes to Sales, so why wouldn’t those teams benefit from collaboration?

Once your new scoring program is live, keep in touch with the sales team and always monitor specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to determine success. You might see fewer MQLs (and that’s a very important piece of information to share) but those leads are theoretically high-quality. You should have reports that you review with sales so you can monitor your program’s effectiveness. If you’re not seeing a significant increase in close rate and better relationships from your customers, continue to optimize your buyer’s profile until the numbers start to reflect improvement.

Need more inspiration to help you optimize your business’s lead scoring? Download our free comprehensive guide to Lead Scoring Optimization called The Ultimate Lead Scoring Dashboard.

Create An Internal Nurturing Campaign

Lots of organizations send customer newsletters, but very few market to their employees with anything close to the same level of detail and attention. Most email platforms or marketing automation tools like Marketo and HubSpot, provide marketers with the ability to create some wonderfully engaging programs, even for internal use. Beyond basic internal notifications and operational updates, marketing technologies can be smart enough, when integrated with Salesforce, to engage your employees in the same way you engage your customers.

Internal governance and process will always play a huge factor in an organization’s ability to scale their demand generation operations. Here are a few suggestions for how leverage your marketing stack to improve communication with your employees:

Salesforce Help Buttons

With the click of a help button on any Salesforce page, add a Salesforce user into a process nurture stream. There are help icons all over Salesforce page layouts, why not turn users that are seeking help into members of an adoption-based internal campaign.

Operational Microsite

As your business grows and iterates, as will your operational processes. Most marketing solutions (Marketo, HubSpot, Eloqua, etc) includes the ability to create custom microsites for specific content. Create a new microsite (something like internal.yourbrand.com would work well) and use it to store all your internal operational procedures. From there, its easy to deliver resources and documentation to your employees, as you would a Lead.

Employee Newsletters and Updates

Engagement metrics can be useful even when they’re internal. If you send your internal communications through your marketing automation platform, you’ll be able to automate follow-up, track engagement, and even leverage that content for external employee referral campaigns.

Internal campaigns are also an amazing way of promoting value. Even if your marketing operations are struggling, giving your company visibility into your capabilities will inspire and give confidence.

Account-Based Marketing

To implement an Account-Based Marketing process, means both literally and figuratively, to align your Sales and Marketing organizations around a common goal, which is to build and leverage an Account-level relationship. ABM Solutions provide Marketers with access to a ton of data and insights that can help Sales engage Leads and grow existing accounts. Typically, a Prospect’s digital activities like web visits and email click-throughs are be increasingly relevant and meaningful for an Account owner. Leveraging an engagement profile of an individual tells a very narrow story to a Sales team, but when a Marketing team is able to augment that individual experience to reflect the sentiments of an Account, that paints a significantly more complete picture.

Your first step in the ABM-door, can be a very straightforward aggregation of individual activities. The approach can start off as very simple by averaging out lead behavior scores at an Account. You could even eliminate leads that haven’t been scored yet, so you dont weigh your account score down negatively. Once you’ve seen some value, expand on your score. You might start to build out a dedicated Account Scoring program as next steps.

An Account-Based Marketing strategy depends on a highly-collaborative environment between Sales and Marketing; first to define their target account profiles, then to come up with ways to engage individuals at an Account with a consistent message and voice. There are some tools out there that you could consider implementing as way to facilitate your Account-Based approach. Good ones like Engagio, will allow you to measure your ABM strategies in multiple dimensions and will not just provide Account activity insights but also Account coverage and breadth as well. Integations of data services like Leadspace come in handy to not only ensure a clean database that allows for automated ABM operations like Account Matching to happen, but will also provide additional layers to help you score accounts more effectively and preditably.

If you’re even a little overwhelmed by the options, you are not alone. We’ve helped dozens of organizations implement solutions to better align their marketing and sales teams. Our content is designed to help marketing and sales leaders navigate their options so they can focus on what they’re great at (like selling and marketing). 

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