The Sales Leader’s Guide on Sales & Marketing Alignment – How Sales Can Get the Support It Needs From Marketing

The Sales Leader’s Guide on Sales & Marketing Alignment – How Sales Can Get the Support It Needs From Marketing

While often used interchangeably, sales and marketing are two separate functions within a business. While you may be concerned with your sales team meeting their quotas, your colleagues in marketing are likely focused on campaign ROI. To be successful, both teams need to work in collaboration, traveling to the same end goal together. 

Ideally, there’s a trade-off: marketing teams create content that prepares sales for success, and in turn, sales teams provide marketing with the feedback and insights needed to remain relevant to buyers.

This balance is achieved by ensuring active and open communication between both departments. By focusing on transparency amongst these departments, valuable resources like time and money can be preserved. 

The need for inter-department support and alignment has led to the creation of a term gaining popularity in the B2B industry, “Smarketing.” This team integration has been proven to bring businesses continued success. 

What is Smarketing?

The term, a portmanteau of the words “sales” and “marketing”, encompasses mutual goals and accountability for both departments. 

According to HubSpot, the term refers to “the alignment between your sales and marketing teams created through frequent and direct communication between the two.” 

How To Align Your Smarketing Team

While harmony is the goal, in most instances, there is tension between the sales and marketing teams. The common struggle boils down to sales feeling as though marketing isn’t generating the quality leads that they need, and in turn, marketing blames sales for not engaging with those leads hard enough.

Instead of criticizing one another, there is a way for both parties to feel a sense of relief.  With a few easy changes, your sales team can get the support they need from your company’s marketing department.  

1. Set Clear Definitions

Sometimes it begins as simple as making sure everyone uses the same terminology and definitions. Are both teams clear on what a “prospect” is as opposed to a “lead?” 

After clarifying key terms, sales and marketing teams should work together to identify their Ideal Client Profile (ICP). If both sales and marketing departments have recognized who the ICP is and understand their wants, needs, and pain points, they can then work together to develop marketing campaigns and sales strategies that align with the company’s targeted audience. 

Additionally, you may consider the implementation of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for sales and marketing. In an SLA, the level of service is defined and agreed upon by all parties; for example, the SLA is the agreement that Marketing will deliver a certain number of leads at a certain quality for Sales each month, and that Sales will work a certain number of leads the Marketing generates each month. SLAs can be used between sales and marketing teams to eliminate confusion and strengthen the roles of each department in the entire lead generation process. 

2. Make Collaboration Easy

One of the first steps in aligning sales and marketing teams is ensuring it is easy to do so. Sales operate off the information shared by the marketing department, and the marketing department uses feedback from the sales team to generate high-quality content designed to stimulate the interest of prospects. 

It is crucial to maintain transparency between both departments to ensure smooth communication. As a sales leader, you should make sure all information and materials are made available to everyone on each team. There are many convenient cloud-based storage services, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, which can aid in sharing and warehousing business-related knowledge and documentation.

3. Commit to Working Together

To align both teams, you should encourage opportunities to build professional interpersonal relationships between the sales and marketing departments. These relationships allow for the chance to understand one another’s point of view. 

When colleagues relate with each other, professional communication and understanding will naturally increase. Both teams must know that they are not competing with each other, but instead, they are working towards a common goal: to improve the bottom line and build the business. 

By fostering an environment of respect and collaboration, Smarketing alignment will become second nature, providing mutual support and understanding.

4. Share the Wealth

Both sales and marketing are teams that are heavily dependent on numbers and metrics. It’s easy to place successes and failures on one or the other; however, it should ideally be distributed by consolidated activities and intensified coordination. 

To achieve a sense of balance, it is crucial to eliminate the internally-competitive mindset. Sales and marketing both need to understand it is not “us vs. them,” but rather a collaborative team. 

You will likely play a prominent role in changing the thought process and encouraging both sales and marketing to reconceptualize their responsibilities and larger objectives. How? Ensure that both teams feel valued and fairly credited throughout the process. There are several ways to keep both teams motivated: 

  • Celebrate Smarketing wins big and small, like upsells, industry accolades, or customers won over from a competitor.
  • Share new product features; marketers can educate sales, allowing teams to be more knowledgeable about the product and stay up to date on changes.
  • Track both teams’ progress and share the results to ensure both teams meet their numbers. 
  • Keep both teams positive and inspired through encouraging messaging from leadership.

5. Craft Compelling Content

While in a sales capacity, you probably aren’t involved with the content that your company produces. Perhaps it’s time for a change. Creating branded content in a collaborative team effort can help with lead generation and even sales development. The content created may result in the final push that your prospects need to make a final decision. 

Take, for example, case studies. These can be produced by both your sales professionals and marketers to demonstrate the product differentiators and success stories of past or current clients. These pieces can also be used to create brand equity for leads or solidify an offer with a prospect who finds themselves in a comparable situation.

Sales teams should be encouraged to contribute to the idea generation stage of marketing’s content creation process, but their contributions shouldn’t end there. There are many other ways your sales team can help during the content creation process. 

This could include: 

  • Tailoring content to the needs of prospects and customers at each stage of the funnel.
  • Reassuring marketing insights by asking prospects questions about their needs/wants.
  • Recommending topic experts from within their network for future content creation. 
  • Reviewing research and briefs and providing their first-hand feedback.

Using SalesIntel To Execute Your Strategy

A significant obstacle to successful sales and marketing alignment is the lack of accurate and shared data available on target accounts and prospects. 

Most businesses choose to utilize a Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy, in which Smarketing teams can engage with customers to convince them to purchase their offering and to gain a competitive advantage. 

B2B data is often the beginning of the lead generation process for sales representatives and marketers. Higher quality leads result in more conversions for your sales team. But how do you improve the quality of your leads? By using reliable and accurate B2B data.

Executing a successful GTM strategy requires businesses to utilize a platform that delivers precise, accurate data. There are many options for B2B intent data providers such as SalesIntel. SalesIntel ensures that your team has access to accurate data that promotes success, whatever their role may be. 

For Marketing Teams

By using SalesIntel, marketers can access data that will allow them to meet their goals. This includes:

  1. Access to millions of human-verified contacts across the B2B industry.
  2. Demographic data enables them to identify the right prospect and reach key decision-makers.
  3. Enriched leads, ensuring increased website form submissions and utilizing the lead enrichment feature within the platform.
  4. The Intent Data feature, where they can strategize content creation by understanding the topics consumed by your prospects. 

For Sales Teams

Your sales team can utilize SalesIntel to meet your goals efficiently and effectively. This can include:

  1. Bringing additional personalization to the sales pitch, supporting your research with accurate technographic data.
  2. Accessing decision-makers quickly, with access to over 48 million verified work mobile numbers, outpacing your competitors.
  3. Using SalesIntel’s Intent Data feature to tailor your sales approach accordingly. There are many B2B intent data providers, but SalesIntel will provide you with a clear picture and understanding of each prospect and where they are in the sales funnel. 
  4. Having a firm idea about the sales cycle duration for each account. SalesIntel’s tools provide your sales team with prioritized “ready-to-buy” leads– letting your sales team know when to push harder for the sale and when to educate or nurture the prospect.

Finding The Support You Need 

Through the alignment of sales and marketing, both parties are on the path to mutual understanding and support and a thriving smarketing team. By following our suggested tips, sales and marketing leaders can work together toward a defined shared goal. 

Adding in the additional level of support from B2B intent data providers, such as the solutions offered by SalesIntel, your team will have access to the accurate data needed to reach your sales goals and targets. 

From connecting with prospects to closing with decision-makers, we maximize results throughout the sales cycle and provide exceptional customer support every step of the way.