B2B sales and marketing alignment: the secret sauce

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The goal of your sales and marketing teams is to drive revenue. When they are out of sync, the engine that drives your business will never reach peak performance. United sales and marketing teams will always deliver better productivity, ROI, business performance, and top-line revenue growth.

So, how do you get B2B sales and marketing alignment right?

Define lead scoring criteria

Commercial B2B marketing doesn’t often lead directly to revenue, unless there is a lead that Sales takes further. Getting lead gen right is crucial for Marketing to succeed; and aligning Sales and Marketing requires a tight, documented definition of a lead.

To align your B2B sales and marketing teams, define your lead scoring criteria. Your company’s lead scoring criteria are the methodology you use to evaluate a lead’s quality and its importance to the business. This metric allows your sales and marketing teams to focus on the right leads, dedicating a proportionate amount of resources and effort to each.

Given that the lead scoring criteria are company-specific, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to scoring leads. How you score leads should align with business priorities and the marketing personas your organisation targets. In short, it is up to you as a business to determine what the strength of each lead is. You do this by assigning a score to each attribute and varying the scores based on that attribute’s relevance to your business.

For example, suppose you are the marketing manager for a B2B internet service provider. In that case, your target persona might be an online service company with a need for reliable high-speed internet and a minimum of fifty employees. Those are the priority attributes you are looking for to qualify a lead. 

The other factor your lead scoring criteria should consider is the level of engagement or interest shown by the lead. You can determine the level of interest based on the engagement actions that matter to you. For instance, one way to know a customer is seriously interested is the number of times they visit your site or post your content. Your company should also determine its priority engagement actions and weight them proportionally. 

Get your marketing and sales data in the right place

It is vital that you keep track of where the marketing and sales teams get their data from, how they record it, and who has access to it. This is because sales and marketing teams cannot align if they are each using different data sources. Often sales and marketing teams work as independent entities that have no relationship to one another. While there are many ways to resolve this, one of the easiest ways is to centralise the teams’ data sources and storage spaces.

Keeping their data in the same place means that both departments can access both sets of data whenever they need it. It also helps marketing and sales teams find the synergies between their departments and aligns them behind one goal of revenue generation. This transparency between the two departments will also create a feedback chain between the sales and marketing departments. Both teams will know at which point the negotiations with a new lead broke down, so they can reiterate and redesign their processes to increase their overall success rate.

It is also worth looking into automating the information gathering processes and implementing strict data recording protocols across both groups. You can find several high-quality CRMs on the market that can help you achieve this automation and data integration. We are a HubSpot agency ourselves, for many reasons including how well the HubSpot platform enables Sales and Marketing alignment. 

Establish SLAs between marketing and sales

An SLA, or a service level agreement, is a contract between the sales and marketing departments (in this context). It formalises and specifies the exact nature of the relationship between sales and marketing and the rules of engagement for both teams. Marketing and sales teams usually have the same long term goal, which is increasing revenue. However, the two groups can often disagree on which team should do what. This is why both teams’ leadership needs to put this agreement in place as soon as possible.

This contract covers many things starting with the definition of success for both teams, which will further aid the harmony and synergy between them. Also included in the contract should be the individual KPIs for both teams.

Typical KPIs for marketing often include the number of qualified leads generated in a certain amount of time. On the other hand, it is usually about the conversion rate for the number of leads that could become prospects for the sales department. In the interest of transparency, you may also want the contracts to include the incentives for achieving the target KPIs for both teams. This helps clear up any issues between both departments over remuneration and compensation for work done.

Some of the other benefits of an SLA include a greater year on year ROI, clear job descriptions between the two teams and easy reiteration of the work process and flow between them.

Be clear about the roles of each team

As mentioned above, you must designate the roles within the teams. This helps make sure that there are no gaps in your business process from lead generation to closing a sale. Furthermore, clearing up the roles within each team eliminates any unwanted redundancies between the teams. These redundancies arise out of having similar, non-distinctive roles between the two teams. On top of the redundancies, an overlap in roles between the two teams could lead to friction and unhealthy competition between marketing and sales.

The marketing team’s responsibilities usually include; lead generation and engagement, product/ service positioning (product marketing) and customer relations management. On the other hand, the sales team includes sales representatives who make sales calls to convert leads into clients and a sales executive whose job is to close the sale.

On top of defining the roles, it is also essential to implement a chain of command consistent with the desired workflow process and the customer journey. Who begins the process of acquiring a new lead, then who takes over and so on. This helps, especially when there are personnel changes within the teams. Typically, a new employee would have to learn the entire workflow to understand where they fit in, which often wastes time. With this approach, they can hit the ground running by simply understanding their place in the workflow and replacing the missing node.

About us

Resonate is a B2B sales and marketing agency that can help your business achieve a commercial result through leads, opportunities, and closed revenue. To learn more about our approach to marketing and sales, please get in touch.

RK is the CEO & Co-Founder of Resonate.

RK is Resonate’s chief strategist, thought leader, and IT industry veteran. Our clients depend on RK to advise on their business strategy, channel strategy, and sales strategy. 

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