There’s no arguing the power of sales and marketing alignment. It’s like the theory of synergy; the cooperation of two or more agents to produce a combined effect is greater than the sum of each separate effect (i.e. the whole is greater than the sum of its parts). Organizations who successfully get sales and marketing to shake hands and cease spitball fire over the cubical walls are gaining a significant competitive advantage.
One of the most difficult things for organizational leaders to do is look at their own teams and accurately identify strengths and weaknesses. You’re too close to the subject matter, which compromises your vantage. That’s where sales alignment consulting comes into play.
Sales alignment consulting is a thorough and strategic review of marketing and sales processes by a third party expert to accurately (and unbiasedly) identify weak points, define strengths, and unify sales and marketing teams. The review begins with the performance history of both departments. Next, skills are assessed in both camps and shareable goals are created. In addition to goal setting, both departments must work together to define what a high quality lead looks like, develop a shared list of lead qualification criteria, and decide and prioritize key performance indicators (KPIs).
Sales alignment consulting also involves connecting marketing analytics software and customer relationship management (CRM) software. These two systems must be fully integrated to create a closed-loop reporting system between sales and marketing. Without a proper reporting system in place, successful alignment is impossible.
Here Are 3 Ways Sales Alignment Consulting Improves Company Efficiency
1. It Results in a Service Level Agreement
A service level agreement is a commitment by both teams to support shared goals (i.e. to attract the highest quality leads possible, close them — and repeat). Sales and marketing alignment is far more successful with a service level agreement in place because it creates transparency and accountability in both camps. Equally important — it demands routine communication between the two.
A service level agreement removes the confusion and lack of accountability that plagues sales and marketing teams. When everyone is on the same page and working to achieve the same goals, the increased communication and shared reporting lead to a higher level of efficiency. Sales alignment consulting helps companies create a service level agreement that both teams can get excited about.
2. It Improves Lead Intelligence and Quality
When sales and marketing regularly share information, the full picture of what a quality lead looks like is realized, and marketing can retarget their efforts to land a greater number of high quality leads. Sales must inform marketing when leads close or don’t close. They also need to share bottom-funnel information collected during their interactions with a prospect, like what questions still remain this far in the buyer’s journey.
Sales alignment consultants assess the current lead generation process and overall lead quality to see where improvements can be made. Are you targeting the right buyer personas? Are your inbound leads really as qualified as you think they are? Once the process of attrracting and qualifying leads is refined, the time to close will significantly decrease.
3. It Shortens the Sale Cycle
You can hire the most charming, smooth-talking maverick for your sales team. But without a deep level of understanding about who your prospect is and where they’re at in the buyer’s journey — even Tom Cruise circa 1986 would be in for a long, drawn out sales cycle.
Sales and marketing alignment makes it easier to disqualify leads. What’s left are buyers who are truly interested in what your organization has to offer. The data collected by marketing also enables sales reps to enter the equation at the right time with the information needed to start the right conversation. In other words, reps operate on fewer assumptions, and the improved accuracy of their actions makes for a much shorter sales cycle. We’re talking months or even a year potentially hacked down to a handful of weeks.
Incredible things are possible when we rise above the sums of our individual parts to accomplish a greater good. Your organization is no exception to this grand gesture. Sales and marketing alignment increases buyer insights. With greater buyer insights, product or service quality can be assessed and refined, customer service reps can better care for customers, and your entire organization will operate with greater coherency, efficiency and productivity.