Here’s How We Align Marketing & Sales At Drift

By Tricia Gellman

At Drift this year, one of our biggest goals is to align our marketing and sales teams. That’s also part of the reason why we partnered with LeadMD on a recent study and subsequent report.

The purpose of the study? To find solutions for the growing tension between marketing and sales.

Based on survey data from over 350 c-level executives, the study found that marketing and sales functioned best when they shared a common goal – and aligned around the buyer 👇

“The biggest impact happens when marketing and sales teams rally around the customer. When they work together to form and tell customer stories, it not only brings the two teams into lockstep with a shared mission and vision, the entire company benefits with increased revenue performance and pipeline.”

Andrea Lechner-Becker, CMO at LeadMD

I know what you’re thinking: It can’t be that simple.

And you’d be right. It’s a lot of work – but it’s worth it.

So in the interest of aligning more sales and marketing teams, I’m sharing how I’ve done this throughout my two-decade career and how I’m working with Drift’s CRO, Josh Allen, to make this a reality at Drift.

Create A Single Playbook That Aligns Around The Buyer

Often, the misalignment between marketing and sales comes down to mixed goals, where both departments play co-owners of revenue growth, but are guided by two completely different playbooks:

  • The marketing playbook focuses on generating new leads
  • The sales playbook is completely focused on bookings

The reason behind these different goals is simple: people tend to focus on numbers they feel they can directly impact. But marketing and sales have a larger impact than they know. It’s your job as a leader to get people to see the bigger picture of how their work influences the bottom line.

Our research with LeadMD found that one of the best ways to start aligning marketing and sales is through sales enablement. Not only does this allow marketers to position content more strategically around the buyer, but it offers more opportunities for collaboration with sales.

Similarly, it’s sales’ job to use the resources available to them and articulate to marketing their own insight on the content and messaging that is resonating with their buyers.

One way we’re streamlining our sales enablement is through a software called Highspot. Implementing Highspot will allow us to connect the marketing content for different personas to sales in Salesforce. This will let sales know what content is available and how they should use that content in the sales process.

Aligning around the buyer through sales enablement is a good short-term way to get both marketers and sales reps on the same page. But unless they’re guided by the same success metric, long-term alignment is nearly impossible.

Find A Common Goal For Long-Term Success

Based on my own experience, there are two things that need to happen to achieve long-term alignment:

    1. A united front between a company’s marketing and sales leadership
    2. A common goal both teams can get behind

As a CMO, having a close relationship with sales leadership is key to any successful alignment. During Drift’s company kickoff last month, I teamed up with our CRO, Josh Allen, to walk through our 2020-2021 go-to-market strategy, how we plan to deliver more value for our buyers, and what our benchmark for success would be for both teams.

This not only showed that we’re working in lockstep together, but that both teams would be ruled by a similar benchmark or common goal.

Determining what measurement of success to align your teams around may depend on your organization. But I’ve always found that bookings are a great goal for marketing and sales to get behind. That said, if this success metric isn’t easily adopted by your marketers, the next best goal should be pipeline generation. After all, both departments are growth-oriented and customer-focused.

I’m incredibly excited to work with Josh and the sales and marketing teams to grow the Drift brand and deliver better experiences for our current and future customers – guided by a common goal.

Final Thoughts

The beginning of the year is a great time to introduce new alignment initiatives for your marketing and sales teams. Get together with your sales leader and come up with a gameplan you’re both happy with. This isn’t just important for aligning your teams, but for showing a united front in the boardroom.

Some of this content was originally published in my Path to CMO 3.0 newsletter – a monthly email that looks at the challenges facing today’s CMOs and marketing leaders. You can subscribe here.