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There are many reasons why Sales and Marketing teams can be misaligned. Usually, it traces back to the issue that they are under different mandates, have different goals, and are tracked using differing metrics.

There can also be tensions that arise between the two teams – “Well, I did my part!”

If these are the sort of issues in your business, you may want to continue reading as in this post we will be covering everything you need to know to diagnose, fix, and ensure sales and marketing alignment for your building product business.

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Marketing is all about getting the word out and explaining to people the benefits of your products and services to increase interest and visibility. Most importantly, marketing is about driving inquiries and leads to sales. A sales department is for nurturing clients, progressing with leads, and keeping up a constant and steady relationship.

Of course, the two are related. Marketing is essential for facilitating the sales process.

What’s The Problem?

  • 25% of businesses describe their sales and marketing as either “misaligned” or “rarely aligned”
  • 55% of marketers don’t know which assets their Sales co-workers are most likely to use
  • Three in five marketers believe they understand what Sales require from them, but only one in three salespeople agree

The modern sales and marketing funnel demands better collaboration and communication between sales and marketing than the standard unhealthy relationship between the two; marketing never speaks to real customers but sales also never speaks to marketing – or something along those lines!

What Happens When Sales & Marketing Work Together?

“When Sales and Marketing work well together, companies see substantial improvement on important performance metrics: Sales cycles are shorter, market-entry costs go down, and the cost of sales is lower.” 2006 Harvard Business Review

Proper alignment between sales and marketing could lead to a staggering 208% jump in marketing revenue, as well as 38% higher win rates and 36% better customer retention.

The building product and construction industry leans heavily towards investing in sales teams, often forgetting all about marketing. In today’s internet era, being found on Google is so incredibly crucial that more businesses are starting to realise that it's as much about your online presence (and how you market yourself) as it is about sales.

What is Sales And Marketing Alignment?

In a traditional business, sales and marketing are separate functions of a business and work in silos. Marketing is in charge of generating leads, and sales converting them. There wouldn’t be any crossover and, apart from the lead handover, there wouldn’t be any collaboration.

Sales and marketing alignment, on the other hand, is the endeavour of aligning both teams through a shared system of communication, strategy, and goals. By enabling sales and marketing to operate as a unified organisation they can deliver higher impact marketing activities, boost sales effectiveness, and ultimately grow revenue.

What Do Misaligned Building Product Businesses Look Like?

Do you struggle to see the ROI of your marketing activities?

In businesses where sales and marketing are aligned, marketing efforts are shown to contribute over 50% of the forecasted pipeline, up a massive amount from the shocking 5% in unaligned businesses.

Perhaps, your business is in that 5%?

The building product and construction industry leans heavily towards investing in sales teams, often forgetting all about marketing. However, today’s massive shift towards digital means more businesses are starting to realise that it's as much about your online presence (and how you market yourself) as it is about sales.

That’s why you need to get your marketing up to scratch, and make sure those teams are equally invested in and working together effectively.

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How Do Sales and Marketing Work Together in an Aligned Way?

Sales and marketing teams should be working on the same mission, driving revenue. You must build equal accountability for achieving that goal. In an ideal world, you would just have one department - the revenue one.

Here’s what a well-aligned sales and marketing team would look like -

Marketing supports sales by ensuring that buyers are educated, interested, and engaged — and more likely to start, or continue, doing business with you.

Sales’ responsibility is, of course, to sell. They also can support marketing due to their closeness to the customer and therefore offer a wealth of valuable insights into buyer needs, operational efficiency, and product capabilities.

By sharing this intel, sales ensures marketing is up-to-date on buyer’s pain points and needs, and therefore better able to execute marketing initiatives.

Why is Sales and Marketing Alignment Important?

Well really, it’s because when sales and marketing teams are misaligned, it can be detrimental for business growth and lead conversion.

Think about it, today’s buyer has evolved. They have the ability to research on their own, only contacting the company they want when they are so far down the sales funnel they are practically decided on your product.

How many people contact your company already decided on you, meaning your sales team have barely anything to do except give your quote?

Today sales is part of the marketing mix.

When you create a single customer journey, that is fed into from both marketing and sales, you know exactly what steps to take with each prospect and what will move them further down the sales funnel.

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Warning Signs That Your Sales and Marketing Aren’t Aligned

Lack of communication and differing priorities is often a tell-tale sign that your sales and marketing departments are working independently, wasting money and resources on two separate sets of goals.

Think about it, sales are rewarded for revenue and meeting quotas, but marketing is assessed against the number of leads or prospects generated and how good fit they are.

This can lead to many organisations being critically misaligned. If any of these following issues sound like yours, it may be a clear red flag that you are suffering from sales and marketing misalignment.

#1 Not Collaborating on Strategy

If anyone in your business understands your prospects, it’s your salespeople. They are the ones who talk to your leads and understand their worries and pain points.

If you are changing any strategy to do with your product messaging or positioning, or even a new way of approaching prospects, make sure you have sales reps in the discussion.

Getting your sales team’s input will mean your strategy is more cohesive and works for everyone.

#2 You Don’t Share Marketing-Created Content with Sales

If your marketing team is painstakingly creating and developing content to help move prospects down the sales funnel, are you making sure your sales reps actually use it?

The articles, videos, and FAQs that marketing produces for prospects in the consideration and decision stage of specifying your product can be gold dust when used during sales talks.

Maybe it’s just that sales don’t know what has been made due to lack of communication, or they just prefer to talk through these queries face to face, but this is a clear sign of sales and marketing misalignment.

Addressing this issue will save your marketing team time and effort, and can give your business the re-focus it needs on what sort of marketing content is actually needed (and effective) for lead nurturing.

Ask your sales team to write down every question they are asked in sales meetings and give it to your marketing team. If they can work through it, developing blogs and articles that provide answers to these key questions, then everyone’s happy.

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#3 Your Sales and Marketing Teams Never Meet

Misaligned organisations fail to follow up on 50% of marketing leads, and 79% never turn into sales.

Every two to three weeks key members of your business should be coming together to discuss how things are going and what you want to achieve in the next month. In these meetings, you can see how marketing and sales can better support your current and upcoming pipeline deals.

Developing strong lines of communication between the two departments is critical to maintaining alignment now and into the future.

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5 Benefits of Sales and Marketing Alignment

The outcomes from strong alignment between your sales and marketing teams can cover far more than just feeling a greater sense of collaboration in the office. It can also result in you be able to more effectively take control of your unmanaged or inefficient sales pipeline.

Or what about having more robust sales and marketing forecasts and confidence in your business growth. And at the end of the day, it will surely result in greater ROI for your marketing activities.

I hear you asking, HOW? Well, these key five benefits are how…

#1 Improved Sales Lead Follow-Up

According to research from Marketo, today’s Sales teams don’t follow up on up to 80% of their marketing team’s generated leads, preferring to spend time on their own prospecting activities. This misaligned strategy highlights how they both usually have differing opinions on how leads should be handled, and which ones are high priority.

Bringing your sales and marketing teams together through sales and marketing alignment means they will work together on a combined plan of action where they communicate each other’s activities to one another. This communication ensures their time is used more effectively and lead follow up is improved as only priority leads will be focussed on.

It also helps you to assess that those promising leads are not getting lost in the cracks and that every opportunity was taken by your team.

#2 Improved Collaboration

It’s easy for your sales and marketing teams to become siloed, so without a clear focus on bringing everyone back on track, and onto the same page, your business will become stuck.

Scheduling regular meetings between these two key departments means you can more effectively monitor performance, track shared goals, and work together on improving your work processes and getting over challenges in your customer’s buying process.

Opening up the lines of communication that are needed for critical problem solving will also give each department a voice and improve job satisfaction.

#3 Simplified Sales Process

While sales and marketing alignment does improve communication and unite leadership, it's most impactful when it really benefits your bottom line.

Sales and marketing alignment simplifies sales processes by streamlining workflows between the two departments. This is most effectively done by a joint Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which allows both teams the ability to actively contribute to, and monitor, each customer’s journey with your business.

Using a CRM dashboard means you can see which customers are most engaged, what marketing content they have consumed, how active they are on your website, and key bits of information that allow your sales team to approach them more informed.

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#4 Clear Attribution

Working with one unified system, you can more easily track prospects as they move through your sales cycle. This means you can identify clear attribution for your sales and marketing activities and their impact on your lead generation.

Through this, you can discover the true value of your marketing campaigns and which ones are paying off the most – so you can do more.

#5 Improved ROI

The data doesn’t lie…

Companies which strong alignment have been shown to achieve a 39% average increase in annual revenue growth compared to the average 4% growth for unaligned businesses.

Sales and marketing alignment drives a 38% higher sales win rate.

In organisations where sales and marketing are aligned, marketing’s efforts contribute 47% of the forecasted pipeline, compared to just 5% in unaligned businesses.

Failure to align sales and marketing has been shown to cost B2B businesses 10% or more in revenue per year due to decreased sales productivity and wasted marketing activities. This adds up to a massive $1 trillion in lost revenue each year.

Finally, highly aligned companies are shown to grow 19% faster than competitors, and become 15% more profitable.

Now you might see why aligning your sales and marketing teams pays off!

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5 Steps to Achieve Sales and Marketing Alignment

If you feel you are close to diagnosing your business with a hefty case of sales and marketing misalignment and want to finally take control of your sales pipeline and marketing ROI, then these next steps will help you get your sales and marketing teams on the same page.

Step 1: Establish Joint Objectives and KPIs

Establishing shared objectives and performance indicators means they automatically will need to work together and collaborate to generate revenue collectively. It also means that their efforts are aligned towards the same goals, improving the efficiency and overall performance of your business.

Moreover, when each team understands what the other is working towards, they gain an understanding of the thought-process behind activities, meaning they can help each other out at any stage.

Step 2: Have A Clear Buyer Persona

Sales and marketing must establish a joint idea of the business’ ideal buyer persona. Using marketing’s insight, sales’ prospect understanding and customer data, your business can create a reliable and clear ideal buyer persona.

According to CSO Insights, only 44% of companies have formally agreed on the definition of a qualified lead between sales and marketing. Your buyer persona should acknowledge what makes them a qualified lead so your sales and marketing teams can use the same definition.

Establishing a single view of the customer will enable your sales and marketing teams to effectively manage and talk to every lead throughout the entire lifecycle and across all marketing channels.

Keep reading to learn more about Buyer Personas in the next section...

Step 3: Create A Nurturing Strategy That Works for Both

Once the buyer persona has been clarified, the stages of the prospect life cycle can be developed for the lead nurturing process. This means you can then develop a lead scoring strategy.

A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a prospect that the marketing team has nurtured and is considered a good potential buyer. A sales accepted lead (SAL) is a lead that the sales team has received and is committed to act upon, and a sales qualified lead (SQL) is a prospect that the sales team believes is almost ready to buy.

When both teams come together to outline what, specifically, qualifies a lead as an MQL, SAL, or SQL, both teams are working with a lead scoring and nurturing strategy that works for all.

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Step 4: Complete A Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Once you have developed your lead scoring and nurturing strategy with clearly outlined MQLs, SALs, and SQLs, you must create an SLA. An SLA is an agreement where responsibilities in that process are defined.

This makes hand-offs cleaner and more efficient and makes sure prospects don’t get messed around. It also means that where marketing automation and technology are used, the process is working as part of the system and each phase is documented and measured.

Keep reading as we will cover this more in a later section...

Step 5: Measure Success

Meeting together as the ‘revenue department’ and tracking your progress will turn up any issues before they start to impact your revenue and growth. Reporting on the success of each team will also create positive reinforcement for this ‘new’ way of working.

This will also give each team insight into how their work is performing. Which leads that marketing produced actually converted? What made them cross that finish line? How can that be repeated?

Furthermore, always be asking questions and working towards continuous improvement. Are high quality leads being targeted by marketing? Are sales happy with the lead scoring process? Are there any ideas sales have for new marketing content? Measuring and optimising is the only way to make sure you are positively moving forward.marketing-automation-Insynth-HubSpot-construction-products-building-products-technology-construction-website

How to Create a Buyer Persona for Your Construction Supply Chain

To identify and define your ideal buyer personas is an integral task that will enable you to understand thoroughly who your business should be targeting and what messaging will be most effective.

This will help your building product business improve reach, boost conversions, and increase loyalty, all while improving the effectiveness of your marketing tactics.

Get your sales and marketing teams together and start discussing what they both would consider the business’ buyer persona(s) to be. Sales teams are so important to be part of this discussion because who else talks to prospects more? And who else understands who does and doesn’t convert more than them?

Work together to identify which types of companies your business best serves, thinking about their size, employees, customers, location. Once you have the ideal company profile you can drill down to define your ideal buyer persona e.g. Contractor, Project Manager, Architect etc.

For B2B buyer personas, you may have more than one buyer persona, which covers different types of people at your ideal company. You should consider things like their background, age, job role, experience, goals, challenges, and frequently asked questions.

Consider Your Current Customers

To start getting a better idea of your ideal buyer persona, gather some customer and prospect feedback. This can help you make sure that you can support your ideas with the data- are the people you are targeting the ones who will convert?

You also get to understand the sales cycle through seeing which types of people were lost during the sales process, who the key players are in a sale, and whether you need to make sure you always target a specific job title, if they are the gatekeeper or final decision-maker.

Holding interviews with customers and prospects who didn’t convert is a great idea, as you can continually add to your understanding, and use it to improve your marketing and sales process.

Something as simple as adding ‘job title’ or ‘company size’ fields in your contact forms will also allow you to build up the data you have on your contacts to better inform your understanding.

Characterise The Persona

Once you have the foundations, it’s now time to start thinking about more than just demographics, but psychographics. What needs, behaviours, attitudes, trigger points, influencers/drivers, beliefs and attitudes do your buyer personas possess.

You want to start asking things like:

  • What are this person’s goals at work?
  • How are they measured for their performance?
  • In relation to work, what keeps them up at night?
  • What are the top three items on their to-do list?
  • How does your company help them solve these problems and achieve their goals?

This sort of thinking will allow your marketing team to understand what sort of marketing messages will resonate with your ideal buyer persona and what channels are best to reach them.marketing-automation-Insynth-HubSpot-construction-products-building-products-technology-construction-website

How To Create a Service Level Agreement To Ensure Sales and Marketing Alignment

Once you have diagnosed and solved the issues in your business that are causing sales and marketing misalignment, the next step is correcting it and upholding your newfound unity.

A key way to maintain strong alignment between sales and marketing in any business is a Service Level Agreement (SLA).

An SLA is an important document that can build and maintain trust and collaboration between your previously siloed sales and marketing teams. It ensures that both sales and marketing understand the whole game plan; How many leads will marketing generate? Do sales agree to follow up on all these leads and not just pick and choose? Do both teams share an understanding of what a good fit prospect even is?

What is an SLA?

A Service Level Agreement is a form of contract within a business that sets out what is expected by sales from their marketing team, and vice versa. A good example is how many Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL’s) the sales team needs each quarter (usually to meet their quotas).

An SLA works to create a standardised process regarding lead management and how communication and collaboration ties into it between the two teams.

The service level agreement also plans out timeframes for sales follow up, and how sales will approach prospects whether through email, video, social media, or a phone call.

Lastly, a service level agreement includes a form of accountability, where the system is monitored, and how both teams are checked for follow-through. This allows you to measure business performance and also spot areas for improvement within your service-level agreement.

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Why are SLA’s Important?

Having key terms, like marketing-qualified lead and sales-qualified lead, drawn out and agreed upon between everyone in your business’ lead management process is crucial. This is a key element of a lead management SLA so your lead nurturing and hand-off process is clear and efficient.

It’s even more critical when you start bringing software, such as CMS, CRMs, marketing automation and more, into the picture. If your email marketing campaigns are being segmented by MQLs or SQLs, and your database is not in sync with your team, then your marketing efforts will be going down the pan.

The SLA establishes how everyone is working as one team, all on one funnel, with the same aims and goals.

How To Create an SLA

With your sales and marketing departments, you must first define what a lead is, how it is scored, and the entire lead management process. This can range from lead response time to marketing messaging for different lead scores.

Then you must create an action plan with detailed outlines of best practices, responsibility and accountability. Having plans for each team’s deliverables and who is in charge of that means the SLA can be conformed to. It’s good to draw this out from the top of your sales funnel, all the way to the bottom.

Finally, you should measure the success of your SLA and review its effectiveness periodically. The objective of the SLA is to drive deal progression, so make sure you aren’t just setting action plans with no real impact on the final outcome – revenue.marketing-automation-Insynth-HubSpot-construction-products-building-products-technology-construction-website

Should Your building manufacturing business Merge its sales and marketing department?

In the last two decades, the growth of the online marketplace and e-commerce has been a major shift towards marketing – now digital marketing – being more than just TV commercials and magazine ads.

Ten years ago the Harvard Business Review posted an article projecting their forecasts for the future of the role of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In it, they state that this role would evolve to become “a single point of contact for the commercial side of the business, who can manage innovation, product development, marketing, and sales—across all platforms, both digital and brick-and-mortar.”

This forecast seems truer than ever, with roles such as Chief Digital Officer and Chief Commercial Officer becoming more common than ever.

E-commerce has forced sales leaders to grapple with responsibilities that previously fell to marketing, and vice versa, with the lines between sales and marketing still continuing to blur.

Should Sales and Marketing Be One Department

More of the funnel than ever is the responsibility of Marketing, and the power that Sales may previously have held seems to definitely be swaying further towards Marketing.

In this modern, digital era, it is no longer acceptable to run a business with sales and marketing departments running in silos.

In conclusion, perhaps it can be said that no, sales and marketing should not be one department, but through sales and marketing alignment they can work more closely and become united in a more effective way so they can more easily focus on the real goal of serving the needs of their clients and customers.

Conclusion

96% of sales and marketing professionals admit that they struggle with alignment and 85% say alignment is the largest opportunity to improve performance and grow businesses today.

Striving towards making sure your sales and marketing activities are aligned includes working together on one strategy, having aligned goals, being clear on buyer personas, and collaborating throughout the buyer’s journey.

Really, the sales and marketing teams should be working on the same mission, driving sales. You must build an equal accountability for achieving that goal.

Sales and marketing alignment holds an incredible opportunity for your business to supercharge its growth and performance. Uniting the two together means you can improve your marketing return on investment as well as your sales team’s productivity – it’s a win-win for both departments!

Further Reading:

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About Insynth

At Insynth we deliver a predictable flow of leads, customers, and specifications for building product brands through our inbound marketing approach, proven to reach a technically demanding audience.

We use the latest marketing techniques such as construction inbound marketing, to equip building product companies to grow sustainability in this era of digital transformation.

As the only HubSpot certified agency to major in construction marketing. We have a proven formula of bringing a variety of functionalities together including CRM Implementation, Web Design, Sales Automation, SEO, and Email Marketing to achieve your ultimate aim: Growing your business and gaining new specifiers and customers.

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Freya Oxton-Grant

Written by Freya Oxton-Grant

Freya is a Digital Content Marketing Consultant at Insynth Marketing Ltd. She has a passion for all things marketing and an eye for creative details.