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The 5 Best Practices of Sales and Marketing Alignment

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Headline-making examples of effective collaboration are all around us. There’s the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collab in fashion and Fortnite x Marvel in gaming and comics, which are two collabs stealing the spotlight this year. And how about Billie Eilish and Damon Albarn at this year’s Coachella.

A little too Gen Z for you, perhaps?

If your tastes trend more old-school, think about the famous David Bowie and Queen duet "Under Pressure" from the 1980s. That iconic hit has lived on through sampling and covers, so it remains in pop culture consciousness today.

There's no doubt that two talents coming together can lead to unmistakable brilliance. That should be the case with sales and marketing teams. But, in fact, it's rare.

What happens instead is deep-seated rivalries keeping these teams at odds.

Sales is always asking for more (and better) leads from Marketing. To put it nicely, their refrain is often, “marketing leads stink.”

Marketing, on the other hand, tends to stick to the narrative that sales didn’t follow up fast enough (or never follow up on the leads provided), letting hot prospects fall through the cracks.

Sound familiar? Just think of “Glengarry Glen Ross!”

On the surface, this finger-pointing seems harmless, but it can reveal a deeper lack of alignment , according to Harvard Business Review (HBR). Sales teams may believe marketers are out of touch with customer needs. Meanwhile, marketing may think every lead is golden, while sales is too focused on individual deals and lack a big-picture perspective on the market and the future.

The good news is great companies have already turned sales and marketing into allies that drive next-level results. They quickly realized sales and marketing are on the same team. Alignment is better for the company’s bottom line and helps marketing and sales get to their goals faster.

What's the way forward in your org? One solution is leveraging organic marketing to generate leads that marketing and sales can both get excited about. With the right organic strategy, you gain higher-quality leads that translate into the most loyal customers who stick with you over the long term.

Your organic marketing strategy is at its best when marketing and sales work together. You need to:

  • Infuse sales insight into your keywordKeyword
    A keyword is what users write into a search engine when they want to find something specific.
    Learn more
  • Have a mutual understanding of lead quality
  • And understand what content performs best at each stage of the customer journey

Take the time to understand what causes disconnects and get to know the five best practices of sales and marketing alignment. Use this guide to transform your people into high-performing sales and marketing teams that work together to meet shared goals and drive revenue.

Why you need to be smarketing

Damn I hate buzz terms, but this one works! You may have heard the term "smarketing"—a portmanteau of sales and marketing. But what exactly does it mean?

Smarketing refers to the close alignment of sales and marketing, driven by frequent and transparent communications. It's all about fostering collaboration between teams that need to work together. Some companies have even combined sales and marketing into one smarketing organization to eliminate silos and drive greater results.

For example, Boston-based workforce management company Motus says they've achieved record pipeline numbers  since creating a joint smarketing team. The smarketing organization consistently delivers $1M per week in revenue—a drastic increase compared to when the marketing and sales teams were operating separately.

What's the key to smarketing success? You need to have joint goals to ensure mutual accountability.

For example, marketing may commit to delivering a specific number of qualified leads per quarter. Sales may agree to reach out to those leads a certain number of times within a set period. Both teams have specific revenue generation targets as their primary objective. Regular check-ins keep teams on track and working in tandem.

When sales and marketing work closely together, they share feedback that improves the overall demand generation process. The result is more high-quality leads that generate more revenue and help grow the business.

Why sales and marketing silos fail and true alignment drives success

Whether you embrace the smarketing buzzword or not, sales and marketing alignment is a must to create a highly-effective lead generation program. Higher revenue and lower costs can follow according to HBR :

…there is no question that, when Sales and Marketing work well together, companies see substantial improvement on important performance metrics: Sales cycles are shorter, market-entry costs go down, and the cost of sales is lower.

recent study  of more than 1,200 sales and marketing leaders by Freshworks detailed some quantifiable gains from sales-marketing alignment. Case in point: sales professionals in organizations where the two teams are "highly-aligned" on objectives were able to bring in 20% more revenue year-over-year.

Better demand generation

Sales and marketing working together can elevate success at every stage of the customer journey and your sales funnel. And technology can help you see exactly how your efforts affect revenue.

When marketing automation was introduced it gave marketers this ability to track it… When I can go to sales and say, ‘We’ve actually driven X amount of dollars of revenue,’ that’s a really powerful thing, and it really gives marketing a seat at that sales table.

Amanda Halle Bates, Vice President of Global Growth Marketing, Headspace Health (opens in a new tab)

- Amanda Halle Bates , Vice President of Global Growth Marketing, Headspace Health

Organic marketing can be one of those powerhouse strategies that drive measurable revenue generation. Done right, organic collaborative marketing helps companies build a high-performing demand generation channel that delivers results over the long term. Whether B2B, B2C, or D2C, your prospect is gathering information, comparison shopping, or determining a final transaction. You have the ability to influence and be the leader, the chosen brand, at each of these stages with a defined organic marketing strategy.

Additionally, effective organic marketing can offer measurable cost savings by helping companies save on media. For example, if you determine you are ranking well for a set of organic keywords, you can lower your paid bids and shift spending to more competitive, non-branded keywords.

Companies can also fine-tune the balance between organic and paid search to attain efficiencies and maximize results. You can raise both visibility and credibility while driving conversions.

Download the guide for more insights on how to improve collaboration between teams and a detailed breakdown of the five best practices to implement for effective sales and marketing alignment.

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