This article originates from a panel at the Revenue Marketing Summit in Denver, 2023.
Ensuring your organization has effective marketing and sales alignment is a crucial endeavor for any company that wants to stay competitive. It's not just about implementing strategies or deploying tools; it's about creating a seamless synergy between marketing and sales teams, using technology as a catalyst.
I’m Jared Gardner, VP of Growth at Human Interest, and I've been at the forefront of pioneering strategies that bridge the gap between these two vital arms of our organization.
In this article, I’ll share insights and experiences from a recent panel discussion, featuring industry experts:
- Justin Gabbart, VP of Growth, Dandy
- Bryan Olshock, VP of Pipeline Generation, ServiceTitan
We discuss how to effectively align your marketing and sales teams using the right MarTech, and delve into the nuances of audience targeting, ad technology, and how to transform insights into actionable strategies, ensuring that our marketing efforts aren't just seen but felt in the sales results.
The essence of marketing and sales alignment
Embarking on our main discussion, I posed a pivotal question to my fellow panelists: "What are the key ingredients of marketing and sales alignment?" This is a critical aspect that businesses often grapple with, and understanding it can significantly enhance operational efficiency and success.
Mutual KPIs and data-driven strategy
Bryan emphasized the importance of having mutually defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and targets throughout the sales funnel. He shared that for him, the focus is less on the frequency of interactions with leads and more on whether the investments made are translating into actual pipeline and revenue.
Bryan outlined his approach of dividing leads into tier one and tier two categories, setting benchmarks for conversion through the funnel. This process allows him to regularly assess whether there are issues with volume, pursuit, quality, or mix of leads.
He also highlighted the value of having an unbiased third party, like a Revenue Operations team, compile data. This ensures that when sales and marketing teams meet, they focus on addressing issues rather than disputing data.
Alignment through quality and qualification
Justin shared his experience at Dandy, where he encountered misalignment between the marketing and sales teams due to differing goals and approaches. The marketing team was initially focused on scaling inbound traffic and was measured on early-funnel metrics like MQLs, meetings, and opportunity stages.
In contrast, the sales team was incentivized to develop an outbound motion. This disparity led to conflicts and a decline in lead quality.
Justin discussed the transformative decision to reevaluate and discard previous targets, shifting focus towards qualification and quality of leads. This led to a restructuring of their paid media, webinar, and content programs to prioritize meeting setups and ensure a consistent transition from meetings to opportunities.
By adding more friction to forms and intensifying the lead qualification process, Dandy was able to focus on delivering higher quality leads, which in turn led to more efficient funnel progression, despite a reduction in lead targets.
A person-first approach
As the VP of Growth at Human Interest, I report directly to the Chief Revenue Officer, which essentially aligns me closely with the sales team.
Addressing my own question about the key ingredients for marketing and sales alignment, I advocate for a person-first approach, emphasizing empathy for the sales team. Their job is challenging, and understanding their struggles is vital.
My strategy revolves around a deep understanding of the business. As marketers, we need to think like business strategists, comprehending how the business is valued and where growth is stemming from. This understanding helps align marketing objectives with the company's top priorities. If there's a disconnect, it becomes challenging to demonstrate the value of marketing efforts at the end of the year.
This approach also provides leeway to prioritize tasks that align with top company objectives, sometimes necessitating pushing back on sales requests that don't align with these priorities.