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Why Sales and Marketing Alignment is Critical to Revenue Growth

The all-important topic during these times is how do you keep sales and marketing aligned?

Think about it, marketers are trying to keep the pipeline flowing for the sales team, all while lots of companies have had their budgets freeze, have had to make cuts, and are sometimes in a headwind versus a tailwind. How do you figure out how you can come out on top during all of this? Guess what? There is no magic eight ball that is going to tell you what to do.

It’s time to put those creative juices to work and come up with programs and campaigns with sales. We need to move the needle and hopefully get your brand awareness in the markets where you may not have it.

Why now? All about $

The water is boiling, and your plates were ready to be served, you could smell the sweet scent of new and influenced pipeline. Then came COVID, scattering all of our ingredients across the kitchen floor. Can you imagine that feeling? I am in my 30’s, but honestly, I hope that I never have to experience anything like this for the rest of my lifetime.

I think it’s more important than ever to have sales and marketing be aligned during these times. The end goal is revenue. I’ve always felt strongly that marketing should be held accountable for some type of revenue number. In a revenue organization, the goal is driving revenue, and as I am sure, many of you are aware, selling is a team sport. Sales, Marketing, Customer Success and Solution Engineers are all in the same boat rowing towards the same end goal.

Casey Graham, CEO of Gravy, recently summed it up best on LinkedIn: “When marketers talk to CEO’s,  it’s like SQL, MQL, SQO, MQO, Organic, Paid traffic, Lead magnet, Opt in, Email List, Retargeting, Demand gen, Lead gen, Whatever the hell Gen, I only have one question for it all…How did these activities produce Net New Revenue? I speak in the language of revenue.”

Unless you’re a marketing expert, the acronym soup above may give you a headache. Marketers are mostly talking about revenue and pipeline, less about Marketing Qualified (MQL) leads. This helps me feel encouraged and excited, same with Casey. There are still plenty of old school marketing leaders who haven’t seen the light.

Field Marketing Breakdown

Field Marketing is not dead; it’s transformed. It’s important to realize that too, because so many companies cut back on Field Marketing during the early stages of COVID. While some wrote off that Field Marketing was dead, I saw this as an opportunity to become even more aligned with our revenue team. I usually harp a lot on sales and marketing alignment and I have seen it done really well. I have also seen it done poorly or the relationship doesn’t exist. If you want to succeed and head towards the end goal of revenue, then you need to be aligned. I’ll say that until I am blue in the face.

Communication and alignment together equal a fast pivot. Trust me, I know the value of communication as a married man. It’s critical to meet with your leaders to review revenue goals and ensure sales and marketing alignment. If there is no communication, then nothing will ever happen.

Everyone will be working in silos, both thinking they are doing the best job in the world. You could have marketing saying I am delivering on all of MQL’s, but guess what? Sales doesn’t care about MQL’s. They care about you filling up their pipeline. It all comes back to communication and alignment to make sure everyone is successful. Understanding each other.

Tracking Alignment

Ready for one of the most essential pieces of all of this? Set metrics and tie them to revenue, as I mentioned earlier. We can all agree that during times of uncertainty, every dollar is scrutinized. You have to make sure that not only the program execution is flawless but also that you can measure your success against our pipeline goals. I think it’s critical to look at the pipeline contribution source. We all know what sales cares about — how you are going to make them the big bucks! They want that make it rain money!

I wish more companies embraced sales and marketing alignment because it’s a magical thing to see when it’s done right. For B2B field marketing strategies to become successful programs, marketers need to enable sales teams to follow up seamlessly. It all comes back to alignment and communication and ensuring that everyone is rowing in that same boat. There are few companies that do this incredibly well and of course, they are successful too.

One of the first questions I ask during interviews is about sales and marketing alignment. I practice what I preach. When doing so, you need to ask both parties and try to ask for specific examples. Hopefully, they’ll tell you the truth and you’ll be able to get a true understanding of how the two functions work together to achieve success.

If not, then I suggest running away. Are you in that boat, or did you get knocked off the side and are swimming your hardest upstream? If so, it’ll always be a battle that you’ll never win. Don’t be the person that is always trying to fight that battle.

It’s time for sales and marketing to come together to fight the good fight together.