The-case-for-sales-and-marketing-enterprise-alignmentRaise your hand if you've heard this from salespeople:

"There aren't enough leads and the leads that we do get aren’t any good."

Now, raise your hand if you've heard this from marketers:

“Sales doesn’t follow up with the leads or put in enough effort to qualify them." 

Yeah, me too.

What both these statements reflect is a lacking sales and marketing alignment

In fact, according to Aberdeen Group, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve 20% annual growth rate. Furthmore, companies with poor sales and marketing alignment have a 4% revenue decline.

So let's talk about how to achieve growth, not declines. I've had the pleasure of watching sales and marketing alignment succeed at Akamai and HubSpot, and would like to share our best practices here. Follow along in the complete SlideShare, or check out the summary bullets below.

1. Set up closed-loop reporting.

Traditional marketing sends duplicate leads with limited information to sales. There's no feedback from sales, and therefore no return on investment.

We believe in the bi-directional sharing of information so that the leads marketing puts effort into producing are sent to sales with intelligence that can help sales reps have a warm call with that lead. Then sales can take that lead and provide status updates on the sales process so everyone can optimize what's working, and what's not.

2. Agree on terminology.

If you ask the attendees of any business conference to define a lead, I'll bet you'll hear various responses. While they may all be true, it's important for your sales and marketing teams to be aligned on one definition. 

For example, we often hear MQL (marketing qualified lead) and SQL (sales qualified lead) tossed around. HubSpot's sales and marketing team uses MQL, and have defined it as follows:

"A contact at a company that has filled out a form on a landing page to request a sales demo or start a trial." 

3. Implement a bi-directional SLA.

When building a service level agreement with your sales and marketing teams, each team should bring certain information to the conversation.

Marketers, ask yourselves:

  • How many leads of a certain quality does a sales rep need to make quota?
  • What volume of leads does a sales rep need to be busy 100% of the time?
  • Will sales do any prospecting?
  • What % of sales opps will marketing originate?
  • What %of sales opps will marketing influence?

Sales, ask yourselves:

  • How many call/email attempts should sales make for every lead of a certain quality to waste leads?
  • With X leads and Y hours/month, how many followup attempts should sales be able to complete per lead?

By understanding what marketing and sales will bring to the table, you can translate that information into an SLA strategy that solves for each team's goals. If you need help in this arena, we have a free excel template for building your SLA here.

This has worked well for us at HubSpot. I'd love to hear how other organizations and company cultures are aligning their marketing and sales teams.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Originally published Mar 6, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017

Topics:

Sales and Marketing Alignment