How to drive sales and marketing alignment with automation technology

How to drive sales and marketing alignment with automation technology

Despite having the ultimate shared goal of more revenue, sales and marketing teams in many organisations continue to sit in opposite corners of the ring.

It’s time to unify, end the marketing vs. sales stigma and introduce technologies to help reach shared goals more efficiently.

Sales and marketing alignment is a powerful concept and when put into practice it’s incredibly effective — it can increase revenue by a staggering 20%. Shared technology plays a crucial part in this process. It allows sales and marketing teams to review, monitor and optimise every sale from the very first touch to a closed deal, ensuring that budgets and resources are spent in the most impactful way. In fact, 84% of the best organisations gave their marketing team full access to the sales team’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. 

But how can you get to the point of alignment between sales and marketing? Here are three steps you need to take to implement automation technology in a way that drives sales and marketing alignment.

Step 1: Unify sales and marketing

The essentials to make your sales and marketing teams align are fairly simple in principle, but can become more complex in practice. Before you start looking into technology solutions, make sure that: 

  1. Sales and marketing have the same goals and a thorough understanding of those goals.
  2. Marketing KPIs are tied to sales quotas.
  3. Both teams are incentivised to achieve their shared goals.
  4. Sales and marketing are communicating constantly and openly about their goals and what they are doing to achieve them.

Step 2: Work towards a sales and marketing alignment strategy

It may not sound like rocket science, but implementing a sales and marketing alignment plan into your business takes strategy. If a strategy isn’t in place to execute the new shift toward alignment, the project will fail. Here are some tips on how to plan and implement your alignment strategy:

  1. Hold a joint sales and marketing meeting to define goals. A helpful way to do this is to follow the age-old SMART method.
    • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
    • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
    • Assignable – specify who will do it.
    • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
    • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
  1. Detail your Service Level Agreement (SLA).

    Marketing should be treating the sales team as their customers. When it comes down to it sales need the leads and tools to assist them to close the deal, and it is marketing’s job to provide this. While marketing needs to deliver leads, it’s the sales team’s job to convert them into paying customers. Both teams need to deliver on their sides of the SLA or it’s useless.

    As part of the SLA meeting, be sure to:
    • Discuss how often you will meet to make sure both teams are adhering to the SLA
    • Get feedback from the sales team about the lead’s experience and issues throughout the journey.
    • Define: What is a marketing qualified lead and what’s a sales qualified lead? If you use other terms in your business, make sure everyone is on the same page about their actual definitions. Don’t forget to induct new staff into your systems and methods to reduce headaches down the line.

Step 3: Find an automation tool that works for you and the sales team combined

Lack of adequate technology is often a major cause of lost synergy between sales and marketing. Marketing is using Automation Software A, sales are using CRM System X, and they’re not working together. You need to find the marketing automation software and CRM that integrate with each other. It must assist, not hinder your common goals — having a shared sales and marketing dashboard to display metrics is key.

How to find the right automation technology to drive sales and marketing alignment in your business

  1. Research online
    Do a quick online search of “best marketing and sales automation system” and you’ll be overloaded with information. Nonetheless, it’s an important step you need to take to understand your options. This way, you’ll get an initial insight on who is offering what which will make it easier to narrow down your choices further down the track.

  2. Ask around
    Ask trusted friends and colleagues for insight into what is and isn’t working for them in their business. Learning about users experience directly from platform users will provide you will valuable insight.

  3. Attend industry events
    Industry events let you view the latest and greatest marketing automation systems that can help your team reach its goals. Sign up to see the systems in action in person at a digital marketing event in your area.

  4. Narrow your choices down to three
    Once you have your three choices that meet your identified needs, write a pro and con list. With this list you will probably be able to narrow it down even further, making the final decision easier.

  5. Try it out with a free trial
    Some companies will give you a free trial of their product. Your free trial period is the time where you can see if the system is friendly, easy to teach your staff, checkout their training tools and actually see if it shows the data you want to see on your shared sales and marketing dashboard.

  6. Ask questions
    Use the company’s sales team and ask them for examples of the system working for a company similar to yours, they might even put you in touch with one of their customers! Just like your company’s sales team, this company’s sales team need to get you across the line.  So don’t be afraid to ask some curly questions.

  7. Discuss it with your sales and marketing team
    When you’ve found the system that meets your identified needs and you have given it a test for yourself, go back to your teams. Get the team to trial it and provide feedback.

  8. Ask more questions
    Go back to the company’s sales team and ask more specific questions that may have cropped up during the trial period. If they can help you answer and find solutions to your concerns they’re likely a good fit.

  9. Don’t forget
    Marketing automation systems help you scale and measure your marketing efforts. They’re a system to help, not hinder your efforts. Don’t underestimate how important correct implementation and training is to a successful marketing and sales alignment, the success of a system relies on proper training of its users.

CeBIT Australia Digital Marketing Report