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Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year trying to figure out why their marketing efforts aren’t reaching their target customers or why sales reps aren’t able to close deals on products that are better than those offered by the competition. They often figure out that the problem is that their sales and marketing departments aren’t working together as efficiently as possible. Recent research shows that this can have a massive impact on a company’s bottom line. According to a report in Harvard Business Review, sales and marketing misalignment costs businesses more than $1 trillion each year.
When you don’t align sales, marketing, and customer success, the relationship between these teams suffers. They set different goals, use different strategies, and measure success with completely different metrics. Communication between them inevitably suffers. When your marketing leads don’t pass along information that they have uncovered about the issues customers are facing, or if sales reps aren’t sharing what customers are telling them, it’s a sign that your sales team is out of alignment.
It’s no secret that sales teams around the world are experiencing problems with marketing and sales alignment. According to research conducted by Forrester, about 90% of sales and marketing professionals say their companies are misaligned in terms of strategy, process, content, and culture. Almost all of the respondents said that it is having a negative effect on their companies. For example, among many challenges, sales and marketing report to separate executives. This means they are often working to meet different KPIs.
One particular sticking point, according to many sales and marketing professionals, is passing customers from marketing to sales or from sales to customer success. The handoff should be seamless for the customer, which is difficult if the process that each team uses is different. If your sales and marketing tools are not well integrated, the customer will notice right away.
When it comes to sales and marketing alignment, the best practices aren’t always clear. How do you go about combining marketing and sales so that both are able to reach their goals? How do you make sure they are measuring success in the same way? At Winning by Design, the leader in accelerating and optimizing recurring revenue for B2B organizations, we help SaaS companies implement an operating model to drive sustainable growth. We take a close look at your marketing, sales, and customer success teams and make sure that they are presenting your clients with a unified end-to-end buying experience. This way you don’t just win new customers, you keep the ones that you have by providing the impact that they are looking for.
Juliano Braz, Managing Partner of the automated communications platform Take Blip, said that as his company grew, he wanted to make sure that all parts of his sales team were on the same page. “We were at a point where we needed to shift gears from an amateur sales team to a professional sales team,” he said. “When we started growing the team and investing a lot on sales, we knew we needed to get a more professional structure.”
Braz said he wanted to put processes in place that reflected the way that they do business. “I told the team at Winning by Design that I didn’t want an off-the-shelf playbook used by a hundred other companies,” he said. “I wanted to see something different, something 100% customized to our situation. And it was a great surprise that they did it just like that. It wasn’t off-the-shelf training. It was training that was focused on our current situation.”
After one training, Braz reported that Take Blip saw its bookings quadruple from $2 million to $8 million. He said the difference was Winning by Design’s individualized playbooks. “It wasn’t just training,” he said. “It was a real-life application of sales processes, so the results and the learnings were applied right away.”
How to Align Sales and Marketing
Wondering how to align sales and marketing? In their book “Aligned to Achieve: How to Unite Your Sales and Marketing Teams into a Single Force for Growth,” Tracy Eiler and Andrea Austin wrote that each department has to understand that they work on different schedules. “One of the fundamental differences is that salespeople are working on a monthly or quarterly cadence, and marketing is working on a much longer cadence than that,” said Eiler. “And so that is part of what drives the tension.”
In an interview on the Marketing Trends podcast, Eiler said that there’s a strong need for alignment among the sales, operations, and marketing departments. Ideally, sales and marketing should always know what the other is doing and why they are doing it. Sales should know understand marketing goes about creating a list of qualified leads. Marketing should know the process used by sales to reach out to potential customers. “There is going to be conflict in the sales and marketing teams,” she said, “and you can make a difference there by bringing those leaders in the room together.”
Eiler said that the latest sales and marketing alignment statistics show that customers have grown more accustomed to figuring out their problems and researching a solution themselves. According to a report by Gartner, buyers spend 27% of their time with online research and 18% with offline research. Meeting with potential suppliers only occupies about 17% of their time. That means sales and marketing has to work together if they want to catch the customer’s attention early.
At Winning by Design, we know how to connect sales and marketing so that they are working together. When you work with our team of Revenue Architects, they make sure that there is no friction when you’re passing a customer from marketing to sales or sales to customer success. We accomplish this by making sure your entire revenue team is speaking the same language. This is the first step in making sure your entire customer-facing team is perfectly aligned.
Another way that we connect teams is with open courses offered through our top-rated Revenue Academy. It has a wide range of options geared toward different departments. For example, Selling for Impact prepares new account executives with all the skills they need to hit the ground running. Prospecting for Impact does the same for business development reps. Because the courses teach the same methodology, your teams understand each other.
Elizabeth Matuzak, Mid-Market Customer Success Manager at Asana, said that Winning by Design helped her sales team come together to align on process and technique. “Most sales teams are a mix of people coming from different backgrounds with different levels of experience,” she said. “Winning By Design has something for everyone. In terms of realized benefits, we’ve seen more confidence in discovery calls and demos, more consistency in call outcomes, and a better framework to coach new reps coming into the team.”
Sales Alignment Definition
When talking about sales alignment, the definition most experts use is talking about bringing sales and marketing together so that they can share goals, priorities, and key performance indicators. According to Hubspot, sales and marketing alignment is the “process of creating a shared framework of goals and strategies backed by continual communication that enables teams to work as a cohesive whole.”
For today’s companies, there are countless benefits of sales and marketing alignment. But for SaaS companies, that’s only part of the story. Because up to 93% of a customer’s lifetime value comes after the initial deal, it’s crucial that recurring revenue companies also focus on their customer success team. In a recent interview, Winning by Design Revenue Architect Aurélien Tardieu said that aligning all of your go-to-market teams should be your top priority. “You need a process in place for your marketing, sales, and customer success teams,” he said. “Without that, it could cost you a place as a top player in your field.”
Courses like Customer Success for Impact are designed to integrate your customer success team into your overall sales strategy. Private classes have curriculums tailored to your company’s needs, and coaching sessions reinforce the strategies that your team has learned along the way. We also have best-in-class frameworks, detailed blueprints, and informative videos designed to keep all this information at your fingertips. And we back everything up with our industry-recognized certification. That’s the definition of marketing alignment.
Steven Gordon, Customer Success Manager at SmartRecruiters, said his team has benefited from “some of the best, most engaging trainers” in the business. “Winning by Design delivered some fantastic training addressing both the science and the art of customer success,” he said. “They covered some key methodologies as well as some of the softer skills associated with delivering value to our customers.”
Statistics on sales and marketing alignment show how important aligning your go-to-market teams can be. According to a study commissioned by LinkedIn, 87% of sales and marketing leaders say that a close collaboration between their departments leads to higher revenue. But only 43% said that failure to work together or share data was among their biggest challenges. Contact Winning by Design for more on how we can help your teams work together to achieve your goals.
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