Data is at the heart of B2B sales and marketing alignment.
Many of the potential problems with sales and marketing alignment can be overcome so long as the systems and tools in place are being used correctly, and there is a clear understanding of how your teams are creating and using data.
The incorrect use of Marketing Automation or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are huge barriers to successful B2B sales and marketing alignment. If these systems are misused, it can lead to issues with data quality and compatibility – which can be difficult to put right.
If you’re auditing your current CRM tool, here are some key elements to look out for:
- Adherence to sales and marketing data guidelines, if any
- Correct use of individual data fields (e.g. lifecyle)
- Consistent population of mandatory fields
- Correct use of data objects (opportunities, for example)
Following this, it’s important to synchronise all your contact data, accounts and opportunities. This might seem tricky, but it’s essential to bridging that gap between marketing and sales.
Speak a common language
Communication is key. But the endless terms, abbreviations and acronyms used within sales and marketing is enough to confuse even the most proficient of leaders. Ensuring both teams are aligned, not only in their goal but in their language, is an often overlooked but nonetheless integral part of successful collaboration.
Here’s some of the most common terms from Hubspot’s Smarketing Glossary:
The process of determining whether a potential buyer has certain characteristics that qualify him or her as a lead. These characteristics could be budget, authority, timeline, and so on.
Lifetime Value (LTV)
A prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. To calculate LTV, follow these steps for a given time period:
- Take the revenue the customer paid you in that time period
- Subtract from that number the gross margin
- Divide by the estimated churn rate (aka cancellation rate) for that customer
A contact that opted in to receive communication from your company, became educated about your product or service, and is interested in learning more. Marketing and Sales often have two different versions of qualified leads (MQLs for Marketing, and SQLs for Sales), so be sure to have conversations with your sales team to set expectations for the types of leads you plan to hand over.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a great way of measuring sales and marketing – as long as they don’t conflict with the shared objective of your aligned teams.
Review (or set) KPIs, both in terms of the metric used and the targets set, to ensure they don’t become counterproductive once your teams are aligned. For instance, setting an MQL target for marketing without considering the impact on sales could be problematic. A very high MQL target might result in marketing upping lead scores and passing more less-qualified leads to sales. This might mean that marketing reaches its target while the sales conversion rate goes down.
The best way to set KPI targets is to review current conversion rates across the whole funnel and work backwards calculating the following:
- How many new customers do you need to reach revenue goals?
- How many MQLs or SQLs do you need to close that number of sales?
- How many leads do you need to generate to produce that number of MQLs?
- How much website traffic do you need to create that many MQLs?