3 strategies to align your sales and marketing teams for organizational growth

By Mary Ade

As with any complex, collaborative project, getting your marketing and sales teams on the same page often is no easy task — but the potential benefits for your business make it well worth the effort. Misalignment can significantly impact revenue, with lost sales and wasted marketing efforts costing companies a whopping $1 trillion a year. In contrast, companies with closely aligned sales and marketing units enjoy 38 percent higher sales win rates.

It’s clear why sales and marketing alignment matter, but creating cohesion is certainly easier said than done. Sales reps may not appreciate the work marketers do, while marketers may not understand all of the different scenarios that sales reps face. Sales reps say they can’t find content to send to prospects, while marketers say marketing collateral and deliverables are not getting used. Sales reps complain about unqualified leads, while marketers insist that reps never follow up on their leads. The list goes on and on.

How can you break the cycle and get sales and marketing to work as a team? Follow these three strategies to bridge the divide and encourage a more collaborative relationship between sales and marketing.

[amazon_link asins=’1422196054′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d852bcd8-bdd3-11e8-b69f-5db8deecdc2d’]- Institute a culture of alignment

Culture plays a crucial role in the success or failure of your business. Integrating your sales and marketing teams, whether you’re a startup or experienced small business owner, can lead to organizational growth. This requires a change in mindset from the “us-against-them” approach to an all-inclusive, “we’re-in-this-together” attitude. The marketing team needs acknowledgment that it is a critical part of revenue generation, and the sales team needs support to enable the marketing team to produce promising leads.

– Promote mutual collaboration

When there is mutual respect and teamwork, sales and marketing teams can do the following:

– Decide on a common goal, such as a revenue target approved by the management team.

– Rethink lead generation with a clear focus on quality over quantity. High-quality (instead of high-quantity) leads will bring shorter sales cycles and higher win rates.

– Develop and manage one strategic plan with clear processes, and check in regularly to track and monitor progress using metrics agreed upon before and during execution.

– The marketing team should create content that pushes prospects further down the sales funnel while the sales team should participate in content marketing. Both parties should come together to do what they know would best serve the interests of customers.

– Use a “data-first approach” to resolve issues. McKinsey found that companies that support their sales and marketing decisions with hard evidence boost marketing return on investment by 15 to 20 percent. A technology solution that can provide actionable data makes this possible. It also unifies both teams around a common goal.

– Institute a culture of clear expectations and communication. There is bound to be progress when the sales reps and marketers communicate in an open and effective manner. Use tools that encourage communication that both departments have access to.

– Setting expectations from the get-go also enables the sales reps to discuss the type of customer they’re trying to target and how the marketing team can reach out to those customers with highly targeted campaigns. The sales team should also be up-front about the most effective offers and which leads convert the fastest. This information helps the marketing team replicate successful campaigns in the future.

Today’s buyers are more aware and empowered and conduct research before contacting a seller. SiriusDecisions says that 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. This means that marketers are practically making the first sales call. The sales and marketing teams must collaborate to provide buyers with high-quality, relevant, valuable content in conversations for higher win rates.

[amazon_link asins=’0314986820′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e477de61-bdd3-11e8-9158-c96592bc9dd0′]- Use effective sales enablement tools

Sales teams are always on target with sales enablement tools. It helps them deliver the right message at the right time to the right prospects. When sales people are on message, they convert leads and close opportunities faster. It goes without saying that sales enablement drives significant sales revenue and boosts business growth.

How sales enablement helped Red Hat unify content and gain customer insights

Marketers work hard to develop sales content such as leaflets, presentations, brochures, and infographics, but they have to be used by the sales team to make an impact.

Red Hat, a leading provider of open source solutions, didn’t have problems creating sales collateral. Rather, Red Hat had problems with effectively organizing and managing its vast library of sales resources. This is understandable when you have more than 3,000 pieces of content to be managed by a sales force of more than 2,000 in 85 global offices across 35 countries!

[amazon_link asins=’B003XYET9S’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0d3bf674-bdd4-11e8-a045-47106441f0ba’]Because the content was scattered across different locations in multiple languages and diverse formats, sales reps found it difficult to track down content that was qualified to deal with specific situations. It was also hard for marketers to track how their content was performing. In other words, they lacked content insights.

Red Hat engaged the Highspot platform to effectively unify sales and marketing content. Today, more than 3,000 pieces of Red Hat content sits in a central hub that is easily accessible for sales reps. The marketing team is also not left out as it’s been empowered to constantly fine-tune and hone content based on insights gathered, get sales and marketing in sync, and boost sales through content that matches the needs of buyers.


The heart of the matter is simple: marketers and sales reps need each other to deliver organizational goals. They can no longer operate as separate silos. Forward-looking companies realize and embrace this. Organizations with well-aligned sales, marketing, and product teams see revenue grow 19 percent faster and profitability rise 15 percent more, according to SiriusDecisions. Take the first step toward encouraging sales and marketing alignment today and put your organization on the path to success.


Mary Ade writes for Highspot, the industry’s most advanced sales enablement solution. You can follow Highspot on Twitter @Highspot.

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