In March of 2017, Skaled surveyed 87 B2B decision-makers at medium and large enterprises to better understand how successful companies integrate sales and marketing teams to create winning plans and help these two teams support each other’s processes, rather than hinder total performance.
We’ve compiled our survey data, as well as some of the top data points from industry and thought leaders from around the web, to create our upcoming eBook Sales and Marketing: Bridging the Gap. This info-packed and comprehensive read will provide CEOs, senior Sales leadership, and top executives at the leading sales firms with actionable and data-driven steps and best practices for aligning Sales and Marketing teams for greater success and collaboration, and in this post we’ll share some of the key concepts we learned during our research.
Even though Sales and Marketing alignment has been getting much attention in recent years, our survey data found that not many companies can actually report that they have found, or can maintain, complete alignment.
The good news? Sales and Marketing alignment is a hot topic on any agenda, so whether you’re the head of Marketing, VP of Sales, or CEO of a large organization, there’s no better time to dive deep into the inner-workings of your company and learn how to create trusting, transparent relationships between your Sales and Marketing departments.
So what processes, strategies, and innovative solutions are 83% of organizations missing that creates the gap between sales teams and marketers
1. Limiting Communications to Only a Few Points of Contact
Having one contact per qualified lead may seem like the best method of communication from both a marketing and sales standpoint, since it creates more opportunities to develop personalized content that helps your reps build those relationships and lead them through your sales pipeline.
However, having only one contact per lead may be doing more harm than good, as our survey demonstrated that 72% of Decision Makers are influenced by another member of their team to move forward with a meeting.
Armed with these stats, Sales and Marketing need to start to work together to determine who key influencers are, and to coordinate their efforts to nurture and maintain an active dialogue and content delivery strategy to keep them moving successfully through the pipeline.
2. Skipping Out on Marketing Automation Tools
Keeping your Sales and Marketing teams aligned isn’t enough; forward-thinking sales organizations need to be integrating CRM and marketing automation tools into their processes in order to keep those lines of communication open between departments.
These tools make sharing the right content, at the right time, with the right influencers transparent and trackable between departments, which helps both teams understand which types of content are producing results. In our survey we found that 29% of Decision Makers found emails that provided information about a solution to be the most memorable, and integrating CRM and marketing tools helps streamline the process for your reps and yields trackable data that you can use to make decisions about your content moving forward.
In addition to our findings, research done by DemandGen in 2015 shows that 74% of organizations who use both CRM and marketing automation as a part of their technology stack reported alignment between their Sales and Marketing teams.
Below are just a few of the ways that these tools can increase collaboration between teams:
- Marketing automation makes collaboration easier. Marketing automation tools allow Sales and Marketing teams to join forces. This allows Sales to have input as to which types of content will resonate with different leads, and provides Sales with insights into how Marketing is creating value-adding content for both prospects and existing clients.
- Content moves quicker. Marketing automation tools allow Marketing executives to quickly approve content, which allows the Sales team to take advantage of these materials sooner, allowing them to use the content to its full potential.
- Personalized content closes deals faster. With ongoing access to marketing materials, Sales teams can produce pitches, proposals, and bids that are tailored to qualified leads, while still appealing to key influencers and Decision Makers throughout the sales pipeline.
The best marketing automation technologies, such as Marketo, HubSpot, Oracle Eloqua, and Pardot use reports, analytics, and data help Sales and Marketing teams continuously improve processes and understand which types of content are hitting the mark, and where leads are drying up. This information allows these two teams to work together to clear objectives and communicate more effectively.S
3. Failing to Have a Rock-Solid SLA
As part of our research for our upcoming eBook we spoke with JC Goodrich, the VP of Marketing at WhiteOps to get his insight into what creates healthy Sales and Marketing alignment within large sales-based organizations.
For him, a clearly documented SLA must be developed and followed closely by both reps and marketers. He states that a SLA must clearly outline:,
- The definition of a qualified lead for your organization
- The sales team’s role in acquiring and retaining leads
- The materials that both departments require throughout the sales pipeline
- A predetermined and well-defined cadence between the two teams
Companies who have an active SLA are 34% more likely to experience a greater year-over-year ROI than companies who aren’t equipped with a functioning SLA, according to a 2015 report by Hubspot. This means that before an organization can even start thinking about reaching a stage where Sales and Marketing are completely aligned, these teams need to work together to establish open communication and a solid process base to work from.
It’s not enough to talk about the issue of sales and marketing alignment. If your organization is seeking sustainable growth, CEO’s and other executives need to start focusing on the structural and tactical changes that must be made in order to attain this alignment.
Our comprehensive eBook, Sales and Marketing: Bridging the Gap, is designed to guide high-growth and enterprise sales leaders and CEOs to hone in on Sales and Marketing alignment and create real, innovative change within their organization.