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B2B Marketing and Sales: How to Work Together as One

6 min
B2B marketing and sales

Since time immemorial, B2B marketing and sales teams have been an odd couple.

People have been trying to get B2B marketing and sales teams to work together with different degrees of success.

Say what you will, but I believe that both B2B marketing and sales teams play a vital and equally important role in the prospect’s journey .

But marketing and sales teams need to work together towards the same goal to make a big positive impact on their prospects’ experience.

The fundamental building block of working towards the same goal is by understanding that marketing and sales are two different sides of the same coin. And keeping a few best practices in mind at all times can help both teams get the most out of this partnership.

Here are 7 things your Marketing and Sales Teams can do to align with each other and deliver great results.

How Can B2B Marketing and Sales Teams Align and Work Towards a Common Goal?

#1 Avoid Finger-pointing

A classic complaint about marketing is that the leads they generate are useless. How often have you heard or said “marketing leads are worthless” at your organization?

Similarly on the other end of the spectrum, marketing will complain that sales is not doing enough follow ups/picking up leads even though sufficient leads are available.

This only increases the rift that exists between marketing and sales teams.

A recent survey by the Corporate Executive Board, 87% of the terms used to describe one another were negative.

While we can just say “don’t point the finger at each other” and deem that the solution to this issue, we all know that’s easier said than done.

If you’re experiencing this at your organization, here are some things for you to keep in mind that can help your teams align:

  • Be empathetic. Put yourself in each other’s shoes and remember that you’re both here to help the company scale and succeed, and you need to work with each other to make this happen.
  • Assess, don’t accuse. Instead of blaming each other when a month goes poorly, or shifting the blame on the other team in discussions with your CRO/CEO, try to sit down together and understand what went wrong, and how you can collectively avoid this in the future. Remember, we all have good months and bad months. Marketing experiments may fail and deals may fall through unexpectedly. There are a hundred things that could deter you from hitting your targets. It’s not about getting stuck but rather overcoming the obstacles, when they show up.
  • Keep each other in the loop. If you’re not on track to hit the targets in a certain month, or if you foresee that next month might not be as good as this one, then set the expectations with the other team well in advance. This helps avoid any unpleasant surprises that might cause squabbles between the teams.

#2 Talk the same language

Most often, marketing and sales teams forget that they exist for a straightforward reason – to generate revenue for your business.

Working towards the same goal means marketing and sales teams need to start speaking the same language – “revenue”.

Rather than just focusing on generating leads, marketing and sales teams need to talk to each other to understand:

  1. What is the company’s revenue goal for the year?
  2. What is the average deal size you’ve seen for the quarter?
  3. How many customers are required to hit your revenue goal for the year?
  4. What is the lead to conversion rate for the quarter?
  5. How many leads are required to hit the revenue goal for the year/quarter?

This list of questions is not exhaustive but rather the starting point for marketing and sales teams to have their goals tied closely to each other.

#3 Define the characteristics of a sales-ready lead

If marketing needs to work on setting up goals closely tied to revenue, then sales teams are the next up on the mound.

No matter how many leads marketing generates, it won’t matter if the characteristics of a sales ready lead are not defined properly.

Here, marketing and sales teams need to work together to define this. Usually this is dependent on two aspects – “fit” and “interest”.

At this point, having a defined ideal customer profile and buyer persona is important as well.

If a lead that enters the funnel shows interest but is not the right fit, then marketing needs to eliminate it.

However, if the lead is a right fit and shows interest, then sales needs to follow-up with it quickly.

#4 Implementing Closed-Loop Reporting

Have you tried having a conversation with a wall to try and solve a conflict between you and your sister? Would this be a fulfilling conversation? I think not!

Imagine marketing just focusing on generating leads and handing them over to sales without hearing anything back. If this is a scenario you are familiar with, then it means your system is broken.

Companies can ensure that there is proper reporting present between marketing and sales teams by using a CRM and a marketing automation software.

In this manner, marketing teams can share the necessary information with sales and sales teams can provide feedback and updates on other activities to marketing.

#5 Always Over Communicate

When marketing and sales work in silos, there is a lack of communication. This leads to no exchange of ideas, no foresight to identify and troubleshoot issues that potentially crop up, and more.

One way to avoid this is to set up frequent sync-ups between marketing and sales teams. Get all the stakeholders/leadership to have weekly sync-ups to discuss what is happening in your respective teams.

This provides an opportunity to discuss what your conversion rates look like for the month, what you are tracking for the quarter and more.

Implementing this approach will help you get a head start of the problems you might face by identifying gaps and leakages ahead of time.

For example:

SDRs generally qualify the leads that come to them. Sometimes, it so happens that they are qualified incorrectly. Marketing team while performing a quality check identifies the incorrectly qualified leads.

Here’s a perfect opportunity for communication. Using empathy, let the SDR manager know the list of leads incorrectly qualified so that they can be moved into the right bucket.

Having multiple open channels for communication such as weekly sync-ups or Slack can be fruitful to put out such fires.

#6 Encourage Collaboration

One sure fire way to ensure camaraderie runs deep between marketing and sales teams is to encourage collaborations between the two teams. Marketing and sales leaders should open the floor up for any collaboration ideas that the teams have.

For example:

If the content marketing team is working on a blog whose audience is sales people, then getting insights from the folks in the sales team is a great idea.

Reach out to the VP of Sales to understand the perspectives and challenges the sales teams face. This will help you create content that resonates with the audience.

#7 Remove Baseless Hierarchy

One hurdle that might prevent marketing and sales teams from working together is the hierarchy present in the teams.

Set up a culture that does not stress on baseless hierarchy.

For example:

Establish a company where a SDR can reach out to the VP of sales or marketing without having to jump through hoops. It can be to get an issue solved or highlighted which in turn facilitates proper addressal of these issues.

This open door atmosphere creates unity between the two teams and smoother exchange of information.

Say Yes to Working Together and No to Drama🙌🏽

Rely on data and not on emotions. Avoid things like finger-pointing and working in silos which will not keep you afloat but rather sink you. Try implementing these 7 steps to get your marketing and sales teams to work towards a common goal . This will enable them to live in a productive data-driven harmony.

At the end of the day, it’s all about that revenue, baby!💰

The 6sense Team

6sense helps B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth by putting the power of AI, big data, and machine learning behind every member of the revenue team.

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