The Modern Marketing Blog covers the latest in marketing strategy, technology, and innovation.

  • May 1, 2013

Credit and Measure: More Tips to Improve Sales and Marketing Alignment

Editor’s Note: Today’s blog post comes courtesy of Sam Boush, the President of Lead Lizard, a marketing automation agency based in Portland, OR. Through Lead Lizard, Sam has built an organization that delivers world-class demand generation strategy, lead nurturing and lead scoring programs, lead management processes, and sales enablement programs. The following is the second of a two part series on strategies to bridge the gap between sales and marketing.

Monday’s post scratched the surface of the dynamic relationship between sales and marketing. Collaborative execution is a natural challenge. So, to help your organization move towards blissful compatibility, we recommend a process-driven, metrics-oriented approach.

Here are two more keys to marketing and sales alignment will help each team build the trust they need to attract and win revenue for their company — and live together in harmony.

(Check out keys one and two here)

#3 –Credit the Marketing Contribution

Marketing would love to get the credit it deserves when it comes to driving revenue for a company, regardless of whether or not that company has a sales organization. Marketing depends on getting that credit so that it can continue to prove the effectiveness of marketing spend and obtain additional budget to continue running campaigns.

Both sales and marketing need to have a constantly open line of communication to ensure marketing contribution is captured and valued. It starts the moment a marketer comes up with a campaign idea, running it by the sales team and obtaining their input.

According to Amy Sabik, Senior Marketing Manager at Box, “The communication should continue as the details are finalized and the campaign launches ensuring that the marketing team has provided the sales team with all necessary details about the campaign — what the lead has been exposed to, what they are expecting and providing templates for communications, etc. This constant communication, tied with the ability to obtain results directly from Salesforce or any other tool you're using to measure pipeline will help to ensure better marketing and sales alignment.”

So how does a successful organization measure marketing's impact on pipeline and revenue? Amy at Box provided a great case study. “We set up all of our campaigns using both Eloqua and our CRM,” she said.  “As the leads come in, they're immediately associated to our campaigns. And because our sales team uses CRM to track pipe and revenue we can run reports at the campaign level to see the impact.”

#4 –Measure Success

There are many ways to measure alignment between sales and marketing. Companies can start with a simple anonymous survey of both teams, where team members rate each other on multiple criteria, such as lead quality, relationship, collaboration, etc. The combination of these ratings could become a metric to measure success – higher ratings showing better alignment.

However, Arpine Babloyan, Demand Generation Manager at Avid Technology struck a note of caution. “As we all know, surveys are subjective, and replies and metrics may depend on respondents’ mood and current projects or issues. Sometimes high ratings indicate great personal relationship between sales and marketing reps, which doesn’t mean that teams are aligned and collaborating effectively.”

When we talk about true marketing and sales alignment, there should be a set list of definitions, goals, success metrics, and processes that are common for sales and marketing. It is important to make sure that all team members, from executives to field reps, are aware – and in agreement – on them; this will indicate whether they are truly aligned or not. “To measure this level of alignment,” said Arpine, “another survey can be used where the knowledge of these definitions, goals, metrics and processes is tested in a series of multiple-choice questions. The percentage of matching (and accurate) responses between sales and marketing will show alignment as well.”

Lastly, the ultimate success metric, and the most important common goal for both sales and marketing, is revenue. Of course, there are many other factors contributing to revenue, including creative and engaging marketing campaigns, and persuasive sales techniques, but it is the alignment that links the two together, allowing teams to maximize their respective power.

 Looking for more tips to bridge the gap? Check out our resource library for more information on measuring marketing effectiveness.


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