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  • Writer's pictureDerrick Wong

Why Is Sales & Marketing Alignment Important to B2B Organisations?

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

It is important that we understand the importance of sales and marketing alignment as they are crucial for B2B businesses to bring in leads and convert them into sales. How can we align these crucial business processes? Even if they work together, how can you use the alignment to convert leads into customers?

What is Sales and Marketing Alignment?

Many B2B businesses, have been trying to fix the misalignment between sales and marketing teams because it reflects on the revenue generated. While both marketing and sales team function to achieve the same goal of driving sales and generating revenue, they lack the capacity of accomplishing it without being in sync. 

The alignment is arguably the most important performance-boosting opportunity for businesses today. The moment marketing and sales departments unite to serve the same purpose, businesses witness a dramatic improvement in productivity and top-line growth, which goes on to reflect on the ROI.

Given the fact that B2B sales funnel keep changing with modern trends, the exchanges between sales and marketing teams need to be more frequent. Businesses that don’t realize the need for these changes and refrain from making both the departments support each other, will end up making their sales cycle even more complex.

Importance of Sales and Marketing Alignment

Here are some of the benefits of the sales and marketing alignment to the business:

Shorten Sales Cycle

The evolution in the buying process has ended up making the sales cycle a tad more complex. This can also be credited to the massive shift in business-customer relationships. Now, since the traditional tactics to convert leads don’t work, it has become important for the sales and marketing teams to sit down and work together to shorten the new sales cycle. This can be achieved by working on better targeting, segmentation, content development, closing, and customer support.

Simplify The Workflows

The alignment can help businesses simplify the workflows as now the goals are combined under the unified leadership. Marketing and sales alignment can be more fruitful if both the departments are able to log into one system and share the dashboards and business tools.

Better Productivity

Sales teams end up ignoring 80% of the marketing leads as it spends time on unproductive leads. A natural tendency is to spend time on older leads if the marketing team doesn’t come up with new leads. With the alignment, both the teams will be able to align their goals and processes to spend time on more qualified leads that seem promising.

Get Clarity on Marketing ROI

In order to boost revenue, we need to keep a tab on the numbers, especially the marketing ROI. Given the fact that sales teams ignore almost 80% of the leads generated by marketing teams, business owners fail to quantify their marketing ROI. A huge number of MQLs may not be translated into real opportunities, or even customers. Thus, the alignment will help you track and measure the impact of both the processes on your revenue.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing depends on an aligned sales and marketing relationship. Firstly, it depends on marketing teams on a timely transfer of leads to the sales team. If the leads have to wait for long, they might pull themselves out of the funnel and go to a competitor. Secondly, if the sales team is not handing back the not-ready leads to the marketing team for further nurturing, the entire sales cycle will get affected. Lead nurturing is the responsibility of both the marketing and sales team and hence the alignment becomes important more than ever.

The Challenges of Sales and Marketing Alignment

The “spray and pray” approach to sales doesn’t work anymore. Both sales and marketing have become a part of a wider marketing mix which is incessantly influenced by evolving consumer behaviours. The old sales and marketing techniques don’t produce the same results as the majority of the engagement are happening digitally now. The numbers speak for themselves.

  • 93% of consumers that begin the buyer journey with a simple information search on the Internet. - (2015 B2B LEAD GEN REPORT developed by Pinpoint Market Research and Anderson Jones PR)

  • 59% of people that find researching online better than interacting with a salesperson – (Forrester Report: Death of a (B2B) Salesman)

  • 90% percentage of people that don’t like participating in a cold call – (Baylor University research)

  • When it comes to SaaS products, buyers are not willing to speak to the vendors until they are 57% into the sales process. This figure is going to increase as Internet technologies become more accessible.

 The alignment has also evolved because of the introduction of sales automation tools and marketing automation software that have enhanced the ability to make the alignment more data-driven. Thus, there is a clear change in the way sales funnel worked then and now.

 With the advent of technology and changing customer behaviour, the funnel has evolved from sales driven funnel, to become more marketing-driven.

How do we measure effectiveness of Sales & Marketing Alignment?

What does Sales and Marketing Alignment really mean? It basically encompasses building processes with technology applications, such as CRM, Marketing Automation, and business intelligence tools for closer collaboration between the departments. There are some KPIs to in order to measure the effectiveness of the alignment:

Average Deal Size

Average deal size is a solid preliminary point in order to set the target for the work your sales and marketing teams need to put in, what is needed out of your sales and marketing alignment and sets the projections and goals for the other marketing metrics. 

Lead-to-Customer Percentage

Your lead-to-customer percentage metric demonstrate how effectively your sales and marketing teams are working to convert a prospect through the different stage of their buyer's journey into a customer.

Quantity of SQLs

SQL (Sales Qualified Lead) is a potential contact who is been assessed by marketing team as having enough interest, and good enough fit for the sales team to initiate a discovery call. Example of such engagements could be requesting for pricing, or a demo.

Traditional sales and marketing strategies focused on attracting a high volume of contacts during a lead generation campaign. While quantity seems to make sense from a numbers game perspective, many are starting to appreciate the importance of targeting qualified leads, based on their higher likelihood to buy. Therefore, identifying the clear series of events and engagement is critical, or otherwise, the sales team will be working on unqualified leads, and thus, wasting their time.

Quality of SQLs

The quality of your SQLs is a crucial measure of efficiency and understanding between your sales and marketing departments. The team need to establish qualifying criteria, for example, BANT to qualify their prospects because not all leads are going to fit the criteria. For instance, a lead might be interested, there's a chance that their budget, company size, needs, that won't be within your qualifying criteria. Thus, quality affects the percentage of SQLs the sales team accepts.

MQL to SQL Rates for Different Lead Sources

MQLs are leads that have indicated an interest based on how engaging they are with you, from your marketing activities. MQLs can come from different sources such as trade events, webinars, requests for marketing collateral like whitepapers, or engagement with email campaigns. 

Having an effective lead scoring process can help to improve the quality of MQLs. After MQL is identified, there should be a scrutinizing process to determine how legitimate and viable the lead is. If the inside sales / field sales consider the lead qualified, it becomes an SQL. Tracking the conversion rate by the types of lead source allows us to identify the most effective channels you have for converting leads to get the highest marketing ROI.

Marketing Contribution to Closed Revenue

Revenue is one of the goals all businesses are targeting to achieve. A more important KPI is the marketing contribution to closed revenue and it is one of the ultimate metrics for giving you an insight of how your sales and marketing alignment are performing.

 This metric is display of your marketing team's value and efforts which impact your company's bottom line and commonly used by marketing teams to justify marketing budgets or understand when they might need to change their strategies.

The above are just some of the metrics you need to know in order to realize the growing importance of sales and marketing alignment and measure the success for all B2B businesses. The alignment can only happen if you strategise to perfection. At SMACC, we focus on helping businesses grow through digital sales & marketing strategies with customised alignment agreement, contact us for a quick discovery call.

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