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How To Coordinate Sales And Marketing To Avoid Misalignment

Stop the misalignment madness. Find best practices for coordinating sales and marketing in this article!
Marketing and sales

Marketing and sales tend to be misaligned. For example, marketing teams target the wrong audience (ICP) — as a result, resources for attracting them are wasted. Or, conversely, sales teams don’t research the potential client and don’t have strict cadences and the company ends up with crummy revenue.

I’ve been doing customer acquisition and growth in tech-related industries for more than a decade — and I’ve seen many examples of misalignment (and the consequences it can lead to). Let me tell you more.

Misalignment between sales and marketing

Problems With ICP 

In marketing and sales, it is very important to have and formulate an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). The more detailed we formulate customer profiles, the easier it is for us to target customers and close the right deals.

Failure to have a precise target audience will lead to an inability in reaching that segment to build awareness and trust that would help sales to move toward closing deals.

Mismatch Of Targeting Correct Market Segments, Geographies, Or ICP 

Departments tend to misalign on multiple levels but the most hurtful part to the overall company revenue tends to be the misalignment of segments, geographies, and ICP. Thus it is important to communicate constantly, have a clear idea of your goals, and align on the sales, marketing, and company ideal go-to markets and customers to succeed. 

Though what is sometimes forgotten is that the customer journey involves a wider spectrum of people, not just your target client. You need to take into account also the whole journey and the buyers committee that is involved. Be sure to raise awareness between them as well to ease the task for your sales team.

Slow processes and no cadences. Contact information (lead) has a lifespan: sometimes it’s hours and sometimes it’s a few days or more. It all depends on the part of the journey they are in at the moment, how they were captured, and how are you moving them toward the bottom of the funnel/ end of the customer journey.

Another important part of the success of both departments working towards the same goal is having a pre-set cadence that sales and marketing follow. This ensures that the departments have set processes to quickly understand the potential contact (lead) value and how to move it toward a win for the company. 

Marketing and sales should synchronize their actions and automate as much as possible to ensure speed and quality — fortunately, nowadays there are enough tools for that.

How to align marketing and sales

Define a precise ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) 

The ideal customer profile helps departments to target and separate the customers they want to reach. So take your time to define an ideal customer profile, and involve different teams from the company to get the information you need.

To define a precise ICP, interview people from sales, marketing, customer success, and C-level. Ask them precise questions on:

  1.  Who is the person you are targeting? 
  2. What is their job title and job to be done? 
  3. What industries do they represent? 
  4. What are the pain points they want to resolve? 
  5. What is the average company size? 
  6. Where are these companies located? 

Don’t forget to also include the buying committee to target along the whole customer journey and increase the chance of a closed deal. 

This guide from FullFunnel is the ideal way to define your ICP. 

Marketing and sales departments need to be aligned on ICPs. Among other things, it will also help to reach overall and shared KPIs.

Set up cadences and lead the qualification process 

The cadences and lead qualification processes help you to determine if a potential customer matches your ICP, if they are ready for sales contact, and how effectively within your organization to transfer them from marketing to sales. If there is no lead qualification process or no cadences — you are losing time and revenue.

The marketing and sales departments must work together on multiple things and answer these:

  1. How should marketing work with cold leads to make them sales-ready?
  2. How do we know when a lead goes from unprepared to sales-ready?
  3. How does marketing notify the sales team when a lead becomes sales-ready? How often does this happen and what are the benchmarks?
  4. What sales must do when they receive a lead? How do they evaluate and reach out? What must they research before booking a meeting?
  5. How does the sales department send leads back to the marketing department if they are not qualified or ready at the moment? 

B2B marketer Andrei Zinkevich has highlighted 13 signs that show the potential misalignment between marketing and sales.

Tools to use to align marketing and sales

There are a lot of tools on the market that make life easier for marketers and salespeople. Though there are some that I have found particularly useful to achieve the ultimate goal of aligning the departments and increasing the speed.

These are the solutions and tools I have used and I suggest you try them.

Zapier: Automation tool for startups and small companies. Easy to set up, inexpensive to maintain.

Hubspot: For those who like to “build space stations”. This solution has everything you might need in your sales and marketing departments, from CRM and emails to analytics and ads. Here is a detailed guide to sales automation.

SalesLoft: A convenient service for organizing sales based on the data-driven approach.

A great solution to build various processes and mind maps is Miro.

Metrics to track along the customer journey

Marketing can’t win if the sales department doesn’t meet its revenue goal, and sales can’t win if marketing doesn’t give it the support it needs to convert contacts (leads) into wins. The most important metric for the overall success is revenue though for the marketing department not only that determines the current state of the potential pipeline. 

Some of these include:

  • Lead conversion rate (ads, website, emails, overall, etc.)
  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per acquisition
  • Average revenue generated per customer
  • Time to conversion
  • Win rates

Make sure to:

  1. Gather data (Hubspot, Google data studio or dream data, etc.)
  2. Test new hypothesis
  3. Consistently communicate with other departments about your findings

In lieu of a conclusion

Misalignment between marketing and sales is a frequent occurrence (yes, this is bad news). But the good news is that such a misalignment is possible to fix.

My advice is to set up automation, speed up information exchange, and have an ideal customer profile. This will help you find new opportunities for growth — and, as a result, hit your target KPIs and increase overall revenue. Good luck!

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Haralds Gabrans Zukovs, Head of Marketing at credolab

Haralds Gabrans Zukovs is the Head of Marketing at fintech startup credolab. His work is not limited to the usual marketing tools, but he constantly tests new approaches and tries to be among the first to use the latest practices of digital marketing, based on an evidence-based approach, careful work with data, and a never-ending cycle of hypothesis testing.

He has experience within a wide range of B2B industries: from hardware and IoT to fintech and blockchain, present in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Haralds has held consecutive marketing directorships at Nordigen, and Hyve Group and since March 2022 he is leading the marketing at credolab. He also advises and consults companies and professionals around the world and genuinely believes that digital marketing is truly his calling.

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