5 tips for great alignment between Sales & Marketing

Your marketing campaign is running like clockwork. You deliver leads to your sales colleagues. And now it’s time to wait for that first deal, right? But what if those deals fail to materialise and Sales complains about the quality of the leads? Moreover, Sales has several target accounts they want to bring in. Recognisable?

Cooperation does not always flow smoothly and you are not the only marketer with these problems. Most B2B organisations run into well-known ‘challenges’. And the solution in fact is very simple. Do it together! Here are some tips to set up a good alignment between Sales & Marketing.

Lead follow-up

The most common frustration of marketers is about lead follow-up:

“We want Sales to take responsibility for qualifying leads we deliver and by the way we never hear whether a lead has converted.”

Sales on their turn regularly state that they miss essential information about a lead or that Marketing does not do enough with the sales team’s knowledge. Sales would prefer a scheduled appointment and or an opportunity in the CRM system. How do you deal with this?

You can start by setting up and optimising the lead generation and lead follow-up process. Your joint goal is to increase the quality and conversion of your leads and account engagement. To be successful, you must set up this process together and make sure there is a good alignment between Sales & Marketing.

What do you need?

  • Insights into the buying process of prospects and customers
  • Insights into which leads/accounts are most valuable
  • Agreements on cooperation between Sales and Marketing

Please find here some tips to achieve better alignment between Sales & Marketing.

1. Define a lead

It sounds like an open door, but please discuss your definition of a lead. Lead is a term used quite often within marketing, where sales often talks about a ‘prospect’. But do you mean the same? Ideally, you create lead definitions for different stages. Commonly used terms are MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead), SAL (Sales Accepted Lead) and SQL (Sales Qualified Lead). Discuss whether and how Sales wants to do the qualifying: are they happy with a ‘lead’ if this is a person who downloaded one whitepaper? do they want you to deliver a real opportunity? and/or do they want more information on account engagement?

2. Set joint goals

Your results will skyrocket if Marketing and Sales have the same goals in mind. What are these goals and what do you need to achieve them? The next topic is to agree on qualification criteria (profile criteria such as name, position, phone number) and the information Sales wants for the initial outreach. In line with the goals, you will also discuss the information they want to add later (end of contract date with current supplier, interests, etc.). Clear goals and qualification criteria are needed for a good start.

3. Agree on follow-up

You can agree on the qualification criteria, but that is just one part of the process. It is important to agree on how you deliver the lead to Sales and how much time you allow between delivery and follow-up. Do you expect Sales to follow up within 24 hours or within a week? What are the expectations and how do you record and measure all this?

4. Draw a blueprint of the lead process

Draw the route of a lead from the moment it comes in via your campaign. Not every lead will travel the entire route, but what is the process when that happens? What happens to unqualified leads? Does a lead go back to your marketing automation for further nurture? Or how do you track accounts where many decision-makers are involved in a sale?

5. Evaluate success

How and how often will you share information with each other? If you use marketing automation or a CRM system you can create an accessible dashboard. But if you do not have this, how do you ensure that important information about quality or results is shared? What about a weekly or monthly meeting?

To conclude

Marketers spend a lot of time selecting the best leads. It takes time to make agreements on how to treat leads, but it is well worth the effort. Keep in mind that it is not just Marketing or Sales that become happier from a lead management process. The buyer or existing customer ultimately benefits most from this alignment.

Sales & Marketing alignment can be tricky, which is why we devote a full module to it in our ABM training course at the B2B Vision Academy. Ready to better align your team? Discover more about the course here!

For more information on how to improve your B2B marketing campaigns from Starter to Best-in-Class: Get to know our SPOTONVISION maturity model using the B2B Campaign Maturity Scan or Checklist. Or contact us directly!

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