Why Your Sales and Marketing Teams Need to Align Their Goals
Written by Jennie Lawton, Head of Sales
As a sales leader who’s built sales teams and encouraged Sales and Marketing alignment for over 13 years, I know this topic has been debated and discussed for decades. It will continue to be a challenge for companies and organizations until we identify the route issue and make it about the company’s success and goals versus each team’s individual goals.
It takes more than encouraging Sales and Marketing to interact and communicate. If Sales and Marketing are worried about hitting their own numbers and KPIs individually, as opposed to the company goals, not only will this conversation continue on, the productivity that comes from both teams will be impacted .
It All Starts With the Team’s Attitude Alignment
We’ve all experienced it as sales and marketing professionals. Marketing comes up with what they think is a great idea and brilliant content (and often it is), but Sales never uses it…
And then Marketing wonders, why isn’t Sales using their content? It’s great stuff, isn’t it? It may be great, but from a Sales perspective, it doesn’t match their Ideal Client Profile, so clients aren’t responding to it and it’s not going to close deals.
This (we won’t call it a “phenomenon” because we know why it happens) every-other-day occurrence comes from not being aligned as an organization and understanding that everyone is ultimately working towards the same goals, which are the company’s goals.
The first step is to be aligned around the company goal and have clear definitions of leads that are consistent amongst the two teams. So, how can we help each other get there?
Actually Aligning Your Goals on Paper
The second step is actually aligning these goals by working backwards from the company goals in order to work towards the same objective and Ideal Client Profile (ICP). Organizations with tightly-aligned sales and marketing goals and ICPs achieve 38% higher sales win rates.
For example, if the company goal is $100 million dollars in new business and you know you have an average sales price of $50,000, you can calculate how many deals it’s going to take to hit that $100 million dollars in revenue. You can then work backwards from this deal goal to say that based on our historic conversion rate, this is the number of leads we need to generate in order to convert X opportunities. I.e. this is how many MQLs marketing needs to generate to convert into X SQLs in order to generate $100 million in new business. This gives everyone a clear picture of how they need to work together in order to drive overall business growth.
If the teams aren’t aligned around these goals, Marketing may say, OK we’re going to focus on getting 150 leads a month. However, if based on the company’s historic conversion rate, Marketing actually needs to generate 250 leads per month to turn into X opportunities for Sales, then nobody is going to hit their goal. Landing us in this vicious cycle of constant frustration between Sales and Marketing:
Sales: “You guys aren’t helping us.”
Marketing: “We’re doing all of this work, and we’re getting clients in the door, why aren’t you guys closing them down?”
On the flip side, if Marketing is over-generating leads per month in order to hit the company’s $100 million goal, but they aren’t the correct ICP, then Sales still won’t be able to close them down because it’s not aligned towards what they think the company goal is.
Aligning Client Perception and ICPs
A final step after aligning attitudes and goals, is aligning content with the ICP. For example, a company’s initial target demographic and ICP may have been small business owners with an average order of 100 parts, but now they are looking to expand into mid-sized companies with a need for 500+ parts per order. If Sales and Marketing aren’t aligned, there can be a disconnect when Sales is talking to these larger, mid-sized companies. The conversations may go well initially, but when Sales sends collateral to support the sales process, but it’s geared towards small business owners, it can have a negative impact on the buyer’s experience.
One of our previous clients who was trying to break into a larger market also had an issue with their website content not being aligned with their ICP. Your website is your companies first impression to potential clients, and if the content isn’t aligned with your ICP, it won’t attract the right audience and won’t aid in attaining overall company goals.
It’s not just the buyer’s perception of your company that can be impacted, but the buyer’s journey. It’s important to meet them where they are in the process and not drag them through yours.
So, why Is this important for Sales and Marketing to align their goals?
- When Sales and Marketing alignment is off, each team will spend their efforts working against each other, which means they won’t hit your goals. Everyone will be off doing their own work in a vacuum and lose sight of their shared objective.
- When you’re working together and utilizing the same metrics, same goals, and consistent messaging, then you’ll have reporting that is more effective. This allows teams to have good data points to evaluate effectiveness and to either keep doing what they are doing and double down on it, or switch it up.
- For example: If everyone on the sales team is doing something different, and everyone on the marketing team is doing something different, there is no way to hone in on what’s not working.
- In this case, we can’t say that we’re all going through the same motions, we’re all working towards the same goal, and we’re all using the same process so we can look at the data points and identify the one point and say OK, this is the problem. We’re doing what we should be doing, we’re going in the right direction, but we’re not doing it as well as we could be, so how do we focus on this one area that needs improvement?
- Whether it’s better messaging on the Marketing side, or maybe Marketing is getting the right people in the door, but Sales isn’t closing them down. Then we can definitively say Sales needs to look at the types of conversations they’re having because they’re not effective.
- Working off of reason #2, alignment of metrics and KPIs also reduces cost of customer acquisition. By having conjoined KPIs, goals, and messaging and identifying weak points, organizations are also able to identify their weak points in the funnel and fix not just parts of it (such as a misaligned Sales one-sheeter), but the entire sales funnel.
- Client perception and buyer journey can be negatively impacted. If Sales and Marketing are not aligned, it can significantly reduce the chances of closing a deal because buyers are having two different experiences and conversations. Sales says one thing, but the content the buyer receives said something else, and now the buyer has lost their trust in the company.
I’ll leave you with this line from Marketing Land to sum the “why” of it all up:
“Marketing and Sales alignment can better drive the buyer journey. Move beyond a siloed approach to marketing and you can stand to improve the ROI of your efforts while evolving your organization.”
It’s simple. Skaled specializes in sales and marketing alignment with modern technology and processes that drive sustainable results. Get in touch with our team for a quick assessment of your sales and marketing challenges or connect with me on LinkedIn if you’re just looking to start a conversation.