Why sales and marketing teams aren’t well aligned
“The misalignment comes down to two things: metrics and communication. In sales, I’m not being told to talk to marketing. I’m being told to focus on booking more meetings and hitting that quota.” - Eddy Bahnam
Sales is primarily focused on driving revenue, while marketing is focused on driving attention. Marketers tend to take a longer-term approach and are willing to invest in strategies that will drive leads months from now, while the sales team is looking to build pipeline in the current month.
It can feel like the other side is speaking another language. These differences can lead to infighting, missed opportunities, and lackluster results.
But when sales and marketing teams are aligned, everyone wins. Marketing can work on initiatives that directly impact revenue. Meanwhile, sales can get support through creative assets and campaigns.
How to improve sales and marketing alignment
Ready to align your B2B sales and marketing teams? Try these tips.
1. Start with simple documentation
As a powerhouse podcasting team of just two people, it’s easy for Jessie and Eddy to share their unique perspectives as a marketer and salesperson respectively.
But the bigger an organization is, the harder it becomes to transfer knowledge.
Eddy recommends taking a simple approach to start. Have one person write a list of what the other team needs each month and pass it along.
“My VP of Sales where I currently work will speak to marketing and then bring back something that’s super archaic like a word document and he’ll ask me what I can work on. I’ll tell him straight up I can’t work on like 60% of it, but the 40% I can, I’ll send it back at the end of the week. It’s archaic but at least it’s getting done.” - Eddy Bahnam
2. Come up with shared goals
When sales and marketing are working on the same goals, they’re forced to find ways to work together and they get in the habit of collaborating.
Of course, each team will have its own initiatives, but make sure to find one shared goal every quarter or month. For example, you might have the teams work on campaigns for a new ICP or work to acquire 10 target accounts from your ABM list.
3. Rethink your metrics
Nadia Milani, our VP of Marketing here at Proposify, voiced her own experience working on B2B sales and marketing alignment.
“What we did here at Proposify was we decided to change our OKRs to track inbound opportunities. Because of that we were able to have a pipeline metric attached to our goals and that was a huge shift because it really forced us to align with the revenue teams even closer.” - Nadia Milani
So ask yourself…how can marketing track metrics that align with sales? And how can sales track metrics that align with marketing?
4. Diagnose issues together
When everyone is working on driving similar revenue-focused metrics, it’s easier to spot issues and room for improvement. Look at your funnels, your pipeline, and your conversion rates.
Start asking questions like…Do we have an inbound opportunity problem? Is our close rate the issue? Is it the number of deals we have? Is it the buying cycle length?
It’s important to have these conversations together. Depending on the size of your sales and marketing teams, you might be able to include everyone in monthly calls or only a few leaders from each team.
When you get in the habit of diagnosing issues together, you can more easily segue into shared solutions and projects.
5. Work in the same platforms
Sales reps don’t usually look at marketing dashboards and marketers don’t look at sales analytics. Each team is working on hitting its own goals and is not focused on what the other team is doing. But this is a mistake. You need to have a high level of awareness of the work and metrics of the other team so that you can provide the best support and assistance.
One of the smartest ways to get aligned is to work within the same platforms. You can collaborate in the same CRM, proposal software, project management tool, outbound management platform, and business analytics dashboard.
“We’re highly aligned around technology. When you’re working in the same place and ecosystem then communication is so much easier since we live in an online age.” - Jessie Lizak
For instance, sales and marketers can collaborate inside of Proposify. Marketers can create templated messaging and proposal sections and sales reps can send, track, and analyze proposals.
6. Make sure alignment is top-down
We live in a world where more things are happening in a bottom-up way. Especially in marketing and sales. Decision-makers can come from the bottom and bring ideas and suggestions to the top.
But when it comes to marketing and sales alignment, you actually need to take a top-down approach. You need the marketing leader and sales leader to set the stage for improved collaboration. They’re the ones with the final say on shared platforms, goals, metrics, and more. Without great collaboration between senior leadership, most other alignment efforts will fail.
“If you have top-down leadership speaking to each other and creating initiatives, it makes it so much easier and then they can report back with ideas and goals. They can take the shared data and go to market with that data and then receive a larger return.” - Eddy Bahnam,
7. Swap favors regularly
Like any good business relationship, sales and marketing alignment should be a two-way street. (You scratch my back, I scratch yours.)
Take the opportunity to speak to someone from the other department and ask them what you can do to make their life easier. For instance, a marketer might ask for data for an infographic and a salesperson might ask for feedback on a new email sequence. Once you’ve found out what the other person needs, let them know what you need help with.
Set a personal goal to swap favors with one person from the other side each month.
The more you work together, the easier it will be and the better results you’ll achieve.