May 02, 2016

Narrowing the great divide: Three tips to achieve sales-marketing alignment

by Guest Blogger

Carrie Scheetz, tradeshow and event specialist, is taking over the marketing blog this week! Carrie is responsible for managing Quanex’s marketing automation system and aligning with the sales team on lead management.

I have been fortunate in my career to work in an organization that fosters collaboration between sales and marketing. It has made all of the difference in the way that we serve customers, as well as attract and retain business. Unfortunately, not all marketers are so lucky.
In fact, a Corporate Executive Board survey cited that 87% of the terms sales and marketing use to describe each other are negative. I won’t go into the specifics of what the words were, but let’s just say they indicate a general lack of respect between the groups.
Marketing automation systems speak to customer resource management (CRM) systems. If our technology is talking, perhaps the people should too?
The benefits of collaboration.
One of the main drivers for bringing sales and marketing together is access to data. We are now capable of tracking our buyer’s behavior from the moment he/she engages with us all of the way to the close of the sale. If we work together and harness of the power of data, we can achieve:

We can also shorten sales cycles, produce higher quality leads and reduce our cost per lead. We should look at sales and marketing as complementary functions that are working toward a common goal: making a positive impact on the organization’s bottom line. You too can realize the benefits.
Three quick tips narrowing the sales-marketing divide.
  1. Plan together. We have a lot to learn from each other. The sales team is closest to our customers and can/should help us shape our personas, identify content topics and themes that will resonate with them and, most importantly, they can tell us how they define a lead. When we agree on what a qualified lead is, the sales team is more likely to follow up and close the sale. In turn, if sales reps understand our technology, content creation capabilities and strategic plan, they will begin to see us as a valued partner in achieving their goals (and I’m not just talking about creating an ad, brochure or flyer). 
  1. Work toward common goals. We all want to drive revenue and work more efficiently. At least, we should. There are a number of methodologies out there to determine how many marketing qualified leads it will take for sales to generate opportunities, new customers and revenue growth. If we have a common understanding of the company’s business objectives, we can work backward to set goals that will help us get there – on both the sales and marketing sides.
  1. Hold each other accountable. HubSpot recommends implementing a service level agreement (SLA) between sales and marketing. I like this concept because it commands a certain level of accountability. It holds marketing accountable to producing a certain number of quality leads to help drive revenue goals, and it holds sales accountable to follow up quickly and efficiently so the opportunity is not lost.
You should have regular meetings between departments to review the SLA, data and goals to ensure the relationship stays on track.
Do you have any tips for fostering greater collaboration between marketing and sales? Email me directly at

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Posted: May 02, 2016 by Guest Blogger Filed under: marketing, sales