Misalignment between marketing and sales isn’t just costing you sleepless nights. It’s a trillion-dollar problem.
If that price tag doesn’t get you thinking, then consider this 👇
Historically, marketing is responsible for leads while sales handles revenue. With these teams working towards two separate goals, companies end up with a disjointed buying experience. And, when marketing and sales do come together, they inevitably argue over how the company should be investing in revenue.
It’s time to end the finger-pointing once and for all.
That’s why I sat down with Julianne Thompson, Director of Sales Development at Drift. Together, we talked through how we can better align our teams to maximize brand awareness, accelerate revenue, and strengthen consistent communications to our customers.
These are our five fixes for the trillion-dollar marketing and sales misalignment problem.
We originally presented our findings in a webinar hosted by MarTech. If you want to watch the full presentation, click here. Otherwise, keep reading for all the insights 💡
1. Align Your Teams Around Shared Goals
The pandemic ushered in a new era for sales and marketing: the Revenue Era. Now, digital is not just a channel. It’s your entire buying experience.
Since 2020, the demand for quick, personalized buying experiences has grown by 26%. Today’s B2B buyers expect a streamlined process with real-time responses, personalized conversations, and easy access to information.
None of this is possible without close collaboration between marketing and sales. Now, these teams share the same goal: to drive more revenue through a unified customer experience.
The best way to ensure alignment is to use the same key performance indicators (KPIs). At Drift, we track:
When all teams track the same KPIs, it’s easy to focus on what matters — opportunities. With a shared mindset, marketing invests in accounts that actually drive pipeline, and sales reps book meetings with the accounts that are most likely to convert. No more worrying about marketing passing over tons of qualified leads only for sales to say they’re useless 🙄
Ultimately, having a shared goal means both teams can trust that they have each other’s backs and that they are going to work together to generate more pipeline.
2. Collaborate on Creative Strategies and Planning
So, your marketing and sales teams are aligned around revenue. Now what?
The only way you will reach your revenue goals is by fostering collaboration between sales and marketing at every stage of the buyer’s journey, but especially during the planning stages.
At Drift, we hold weekly meetings between our four main sources of revenue — the marketing, sales development rep (SDR), account executive (AE), and partner teams. Each team reports on how they are doing within each market segment.
This constant back-and-forth naturally invites collaboration. Everyone shares the same KPIs so we all know how we’re tracking towards our goals, what’s working, what’s not working, and what we need to do to fix it.
During planning, we also think about specific tactics based on market segment. Here, we operate in a double funnel. The main focus is the target funnel, which includes account-based marketing (ABM) and ideal customer profile (ICP) accounts. The volume funnel consists of inbound accounts.
This funnel is important for planning because marketing only invests time and resources into target accounts. While we will absolutely go after a raised hand, we won’t be rolling out the red carpet for them in the same way we do for our ICPs.
Whether your company does the same thing or not, what’s important is structuring your teams around your goals, fostering collaboration during planning, and making sure that everyone has visibility into how other teams are performing.
3. Embrace Tools That Bridge the Gaps
Realistically, the fence between sales and marketing won’t be broken down by meeting once a week. To create the ideal buying experience, you need strong visibility and collaboration between your teams all the time. That’s where your marketing and sales tools can help.
Obviously, marketers want to pass on better leads to sales. You can do this by investing in marketing technology focused on these three areas 👇
- Lead scoring: With this technology, you ensure that sales is going after the opportunities that will have the greatest impact on pipeline.
- Account intelligence: This helps uncover new accounts and build out existing accounts. This is also a good tool to leverage for event invites or even to deliver competitive insights to sales.
- ABM: By automating ABM plays as accounts move through the buyer’s journey, you gain account insights that you can share with sales, while also creating a more personalized experience.
In all of these, the most important thing is effectively communicating these insights to sales. At Drift, this information isn’t siloed within the marketing team. Instead, it is automatically surfaced on the dashboards that SDRs use every day, so nothing gets lost in translation.
From there, it’s up to sales to give those target accounts the red carpet experience. If we have an event coming up, for example, our sales team uses Outreach to automatically enroll buyers into a sequence based on the event’s audience. With this, SDRs know who to reach out to and what to say while also being able to personalize their messages.
And, of course, I can’t not mention Drift when it comes to aligning marketing and sales. Live chat notifications alert your SDRs when an outbound prospect is on your website. This way, your sales team can instantly jump in and start more qualified conversations.
4. Focus on Enablement
From a marketing standpoint, a big part of the marketing and sales alignment is making sure sales has everything they need to sell better. One of the biggest issues we had was that sales didn’t know how and when to use content.
We use Highspot to surface content — such as case studies, how-to guides, ebooks, etc. — which helps sales reps pull the right content for the right buyer. It helps the sales team solidify value for the buyer in a way that is effective and human.
With a technology like Highspot in place, your sales team won’t have to constantly Slack the marketing channel for “that one webinar we did that time” or “a customer testimonial for so-and-so industry.” Everything will all be in one place, ready for them to use.
5. Partner Closely on ABM
Your ABM strategy simply won’t work unless your sales and marketing teams are aligned. That’s why it’s the perfect way to really bring your teams together.
With ABM, sales and marketing have to agree on a narrow list of high-priority accounts. So, if you’re struggling to align on something, ABM helps establish a clear set of rules.
For us, ABM is the secret to forging a close relationship between sales and marketing. Because these accounts take so long to convert, your teams need to be in constant alignment — on which accounts to prioritize, what plays SDRs are running, how AEs are following up, etc.
Whether you start with a list of 10 or 250 accounts, ABM is sure to bring about the kind of sales and marketing alignment that accelerates revenue, streamlines the buying process, and makes go-to-market a whole lot easier.
There is no quick fix to the marketing and sales alignment problem. But if you don’t work to bridge the gap between your teams, you’ll find yourself losing out on buyers and revenue.
Any of these five fixes are a good place to start. What matters most is that your marketing and sales teams are aligning frequently and often. By putting in time and commitment, you will be well on your way to solving the trillion-dollar misalignment problem.