A B2B Marketer’s Guide to Driving Sales and Marketing Alignment

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    It’s possibly surprising to some, but B2B sales and marketing alignment remains one of the biggest challenges facing B2B SaaS and tech businesses. Yes, as B2B marketers, we’ve sadly become obsessed with metrics like MQLs that push too many poor-fit leads onto sales and distract from what truly matters—driving revenue growth.

    This infatuation has damaged the perceived value of marketing efforts among our sales teams. They’ve started seeing marketing initiatives not as a ladder to their targets but as obstacles instead. As a result, this tug-of-war between sales and marketing teams is unfortunately a common story.

    Trying to align your sales and marketing shouldn’t make you feel like you’re walking through a minefield. Instead, it should feel like a natural progression towards shared goals. This post will help B2B marketers drive alignment with sales, and start establishing a demand generation dream team. So let’s dive into the steps you can take.

    Talk to Sales

    It sounds obvious, right? But so many B2B sales and marketing teams don’t engage in regular dialogue. Connecting with your sales team should always be at the forefront. In essence, it’s all about cultivating open communication channels that welcome feedback. This feedback can focus on lead quality or understanding how deals progress. You can then translate these sales insights into messages that resonate with the market for your product or service.

    Regular engagement with sales teams paints a clear picture of what is working and areas that need improvement. Notably, it bridges any existing gaps between marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and conversion rates, ensuring both teams are aligned on common goals. Such interactions break down any walls of misunderstanding that might lead to an ‘us vs. them’ mindset.1

    Sales reps are your eyes and ears on the front lines. Tap into their knowledge of prospect pain points and the questions that are asked on calls. Let them weigh in on targeting and messaging for campaigns.

    Remember, this isn’t a one-time event but rather an ongoing process requiring regular check-ins. You want to keep the pulse on whether quality sales conversations are increasing and obtaining market insights from their interactions with potential clients.

    Get on Sales Calls

    When it comes to sales calls, ACTIVE listening2 can help drive better marketing outcomes. It can do wonders in unlocking the invaluable treasure chest of customer insights. While numbers and charts offer valuable data, real learning begins when you tune into actual sales calls.

    There’s much to understand about the pressing challenges driving prospects to you and how your sales teams tell your business’ story, and steer these conversations toward closing the deal.

    B2B marketers should earmark some time in their schedules to sit in on these calls. This firsthand experience can offer useful insights about customers’ needs, objections raised, solutions they seek, and how your product or service satisfies them.

    Equally important is reaching out to your clients. It’s worth asking why they chose you initially. Have they seen value in areas they didn’t initially expect? Their answers will help uncover selling points that can be amplified in your marketing.

    These crucial touchpoints assist in refining your market-message fit and bridging this gap is one of the major steps toward aligning your sales with B2B marketing efforts.

    Tag Team

    If we view the business landscape as a competitive sport, we exist in an era where individual brilliance is easily outshone by teamwork. In B2B sales and marketing, this shouldn’t be any different. Working together to identify and target high-value accounts is vital for success.

    It’s essential to remember that it takes multiple touchpoints (sometimes more than 15!) for a prospect to reach out to you. Therefore, you must use all available channels—email, social media, and search to name a few. Maintaining consistency in messaging is also essential and will increase your chances of engaging potential customers.

    This approach not only fosters B2B sales and marketing alignment, but it also fuels efficiency and effectiveness around revenue targets.

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    Tag Teaming in Practice

    Tag teaming in B2B sales and marketing takes the form of consistent, joint effort across both teams. All parties involved must focus on achieving mutual objectives. It starts with open, regular communication to understand and align on the shared goals. Regular meetings can prove beneficial for brainstorming, sharing insights, and discussing progress.

    Both teams need to agree on a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect their combined efforts. This could include metrics such as qualified deals, pipeline added, the number of high-value accounts secured, or revenue growth. 

    The tag team approach also involves working together to develop and execute marketing strategies. For instance, the marketing team can use the sales insights discussed earlier to inform messaging and targeting, and in return provide sales with useful intelligence on account engagement, messaging feedback, returning website visitors from key accounts. 

    Moreover, a shared CRM system can definitely help all team members stay on the same page. It can provide access to real-time data, enabling both teams to track progress, address issues promptly, and make data-driven decisions. There are many examples of sales working out of one platform like Salesforce and marketing another such as HubSpot — this only creates a disconnect in data.

    Gather Useful Intelligence

    One advantage marketing has over sales is the ability to rapidly test different messaging with prospects at scale. With data at your fingertips, you can serve as a navigational compass for sales.

    Transforming information into action is the key here. By leveraging marketing technology, you can get useful, and actionable data from the various campaigns being run across different target audiences. LinkedIn campaigns, for instance, help you uncover intriguing patterns or trends. Which job titles are most engaged with your content? Which companies too? While LinkedIn doesn’t let you draw a direct line between the two for data privacy reasons, it does mean you can make logical assumptions and craft a hit list for your sales team.

    Share these campaign insights with sales to inform their outreach. You can even create customised account lists and messaging tips based on responses. Or take it up another notch by combining website analytics tools. Understand who’s coming back to your site, what pages they browse, and track lead visitors per account. These are all potential indicators of buying interest that shouldn’t be overlooked.

    Building shared reports are a great way to highlight accounts to target, key buying team members, and topics resonating with prospects. Act on this market intelligence together to coordinate sales and marketing activity for maximum impact.

    Report on Metrics That Matter

    According to HubSpot, 41.7% of salespeople believe3 their marketing team needs to come up with higher-quality leads. Fantastical MQL targets don’t help this misalignment.

    B2B marketers should be advocating a shift towards revenue-focused metrics. Quality over quantity isn’t a bad thing if it’s positively contributing towards revenue growth, and the are the types of customers that have a larger lifetime value.

    Therefore, it’s essential to review, refocus, and report on metrics that matter from both marketing and sales standpoints. Consider sales conversations as crucial KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). How many meaningful conversations did your marketing efforts lead to? What’s the overall pipeline looking like? And most importantly, what’s the impact on revenue?

    Your sales team isn’t concerned if you’re saturating them with heaps of leads. They want quality prospects who are genuinely interested in your product or service and are likely to progress through the buying process. Ultimately, they want customers so they can hit their targets.

    Be the Driving Force for Sales and Marketing Alignment

    Gone are the days of ‘us vs. them’ in sales and marketing. Use these tips to advocate for alignment around common goals and shared intelligence to start driving better demand generation outcomes. Don’t play the blame game. Sales and marketing alignment is a necessity for success.

    Shifting the mindset from lead generation to demand generation isn’t a simple task. If you need support building an effective B2B demand generation strategy that gets sales buy-in and drives growth, let’s talk.

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    1 Why a culture of us vs them is deadly

    2 The power of active listening in business communication

    3 Stats that prove the power of sales and marketing alignment