Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Teams

Aligning Your Sales and Marketing Teams

Editor's note: This article originally appeared on the Marketo website.

Most marketers know that sales and marketing alignment can be tough! A great way to build more alignment between the two functions is to staff your teams in a way that promotes collaboration and cross-functional goal setting. Creating the right structure between marketing and sales is imperative for proper alignment. This means defining roles in marketing and sales in a way that helps you move leads through the pipeline more effectively. Outlining specific roles ensures that every part of the customer's journey is accounted for. Let's take a look at some ways to consider structuring your marketing and sales teams for success.

1) Marketing Roles

How does your marketing team work with sales? Take some time to look at your role descriptions to ensure that they are truly cross-functional. The following are a few of the specific marketing roles we suggest defining.

  • Demand generation. The core function of this role is lead generation. This team supports revenue goals by generating more qualified leads to pass on to the sales team. This group focuses on many things, including full-funnel marketing programs, lead nurturing, and analytics.
  • Product marketing. Product marketers focus on positioning the product or service in a way that is unique within the industry. This role supports sales enablement through content creation, understanding the sales process, and product and data sheet creation.
  • Customer marketing. This role supports sales through customer advocacy, testimonials, and references. Happy, engaged customers not only lead to greater revenue, but also to greater trust from new prospects. According to Nielsen, 92% of customers trust recommendations from friends and family more than advertising. Therefore, customer advocacy plays a key role in gaining trust from new prospects.
  • Content marketing. Content is an increasingly vital part of marketing as the buyer's journey becomes more digitally oriented. This team creates valuable and educational content to help sales reps during the sales cycle and provides materials for lead generation and nurturing.

2) Sales Roles

Dividing sales into a lead qualification team and one that works specifically on closing deals creates the best results. Lead qualification teams can focus on qualifying leads, and your sales account executives can focus on closing deals. Here are a couple of specific sales roles we suggest defining.

  • Sales development representative (SDRs). The focus of this role is to review, contact, and qualify leads passed down from marketing. SDRs work closely with marketing to bridge the gap between the two teams. Including them can further help you streamline the sales qualification process and ensure the best results in the handover from marketing to sales. SDRs get in touch with marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to determine whether these contacts are ready to talk to an account executive. The sole focus of this position is to follow up with leads and overcome objections. As a result, companies with SDRs convert 80% more leads than companies without this role clearly defined.
  • Account executives. Account executives exist to close sales. In the end, it's more cost-effective to have your top sales representatives talk to the most qualified leads. You don't want your best closers wasting their time on leads that have no possibility of converting. Instead, have them work on leads that have been qualified by SDRs.

Conclusion

Creating role descriptions and goals that support both sales and marketing is critical to alignment. (What other cross-functional roles do you have in your own organization?)

To learn more about sales and marketing alignment (and watch your revenue numbers skyrocket), please download our new ebook, Jumpstart Revenue Growth with Sales and Marketing Alignment.

Dayna Rothman is the senior content marketing manager at Marketo and author of "Lead Generation for Dummies." She runs the Marketo content initiatives and is the managing editor of the Marketo blog. Read more of her blogs here.

Published: June 23rd, 2015

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