Sales and marketing alignment increases revenue and results in greater customer satisfaction. In addition, team collaboration and productivity will be at all-time highs. Implementing new initiatives designed to improve alignment can be daunting, but it is worth the effort. This is especially true in the current legal tech environment, where companies are cutting back, and projections are uncertain.
Follow these five steps to achieve sales and marketing alignment.
Set the stage for success
One of organizations' main challenges is ensuring everyone is on the same page. By identifying current misalignment problems and making the customer experience a priority, you can ensure that your team is working together efficiently to achieve common objectives.
We discussed the problems with misalignment in our previous article, Sales and Marketing Alignment: Your Key to Achieving ROI Potential in 2023; they include a lack of communication and understanding between teams, poor handoffs, and data silos. Work with each team to identify the challenges you can solve with better alignment. Each team should also consider these challenges through the customer's eyes and design their processes accordingly.
When leadership clearly states the goals achieved through alignment and the vision for how teams will work together, the entire organization will see how they contribute to the success of the business strategy.
Mapping the Customer Lifecycle
The next step is to gain a clear understanding of how customers move through the buying process. Marketing must generate leads that sales can convert into customers, and both teams need to be on the same page to make this happen.
- How do customers become aware of their need for your product or service?
- What qualifies them to move from a lead to a marketing-qualified lead to a sales-qualified lead?
- When does Sales reach out to these prospects and begin building a relationship?
- Who is responsible for notifying the sales team, and how should they do so?
- At which points in the process are you losing potential customers?
Map everything as it currently exists. Gather data and insights from your teams to determine what is working and what is not.
By mapping the customer lifecycle, marketing, and sales can better understand the steps they need to take to move potential customers through the buying process.
Enhancing the customer experience through cooperation
Now that you clearly understand the current customer lifecycle and how your teams work, you can plan how your team can work together to deliver an optimal customer experience.
Here is what you should consider:
- There must be clear lead-qualification criteria. Lead scoring can be done automatically with a capable CRM. However, the teams must decide what actions, demographics, history, and other metrics constitute a qualified lead and how they should be weighted.
- Determine what each team is responsible for, whom they should inform, and precisely what each should do at each customer lifecycle stage. There should be a defined process for handing a lead off, communicating information, and a playbook for nurturing and converting a sale.
- How is data being shared across teams? Sales needs information from marketing to personalize the sales experience, and marketing needs feedback from sales to improve lead generation.
- Both teams should collaborate when developing content so your messaging is consistent across the lifecycle. Customers should have the same understanding and expectations no matter with whom they interact. This means using the same fonts, colors, and messaging across your marketing materials, from website to social media to print ads and collateral.
Agree on KPIs
One of the best ways to ensure that your sales and marketing teams work together effectively is to set shared KPIs. This means that both teams are held accountable for the same objectives, which helps ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction.
These KPIs should measure how well the teams achieve alignment, as outlined in the previous step. Does your lead scoring scheme identify the leads most likely to convert to sales? Are handoffs being done correctly, ensuring fewer leads are dropped or mishandled? Is marketing generating higher-quality leads, and is sales improving conversion rates? Finally, each engagement with a customer should be tracked and managed.
Establishing these KPIs and tracking them regularly ensures your sales and marketing teams work collaboratively towards common goals.
Review regularly and adjust
Regular reviews and adjustments are vital to achieving sales and marketing alignment. As team members come and go and your addressable market evolves, you will need to shift your strategy. Putting monthly or quarterly meetings on the calendar will allow you to address new issues that arise and reinforce the collaborative business culture.
An excellent way to improve communication between sales and marketing is to create a shared dashboard or report that contains critical metrics for both teams. This will give everyone a clear picture of how well the initiative works and help identify any areas that need improvement.
Additionally, both teams should meet regularly (ideally, once a week) to discuss how things are going and make any necessary adjustments. By doing this, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that you can address any problems or misunderstandings quickly.
Implementing a sales and marketing alignment initiative can seem daunting, but you can get off on the right foot by following these five simple steps. Achieving alignment is a constant and iterative process, so your initial aim should be to bring everyone on board and build from your baseline. You will see tremendous improvement over time, so don't hesitate to start today!