B2B Marketing Blog

Written by Lisa Shepherd
on March 27, 2017

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I’ve seen companies with good strong sales teams, and good marketing teams.  But somehow they still struggled to achieve the ‘revenue engine’ they were trying to create.  In many cases, the issue was a gap between the sales team and the marketing team, rather than a weakness or problem within either team. 

Have you made solid investments in your sales and your marketing, but aren’t seeing the revenue results you expect?  It may be sales and marketing integration. 

Here are eight questions to evaluate whether sales and marketing integration is a problem for your business, and a few practical tips to fix it.    

8 Questions To Diagnose Sales And Marketing Integration Health

Ask yourself (and your sales and marketing leaders) these questions.  To keep things simple, score the answers as one of these three options:  ‘No’, ‘Sort of’ and ‘Yes’. 

  1. The sales and marketing teams have jointly developed the personas of target buyers and use them in their selling process and campaign development.
  1. The sales and marketing teams have a shared lead-to-revenue model and manage their individual team activities based on it. 
  1. Sales and marketing have created a common definition of ‘qualified lead’.
  1. Sales and marketing know each other’s goals and metrics.
  1. The heads of the sales and marketing functions develop their plans collaboratively.
  1. Sales and marketing meet at least every other week to review new leads, discuss their quality, and update their status in the pipeline.
  1. Marketers go on prospect calls with the sales team at least twice a year.
  1. Sales and marketing report to a single C-suite executive.

How to Fix Sales and Marketing Integration Gaps

Once you’ve tallied up your responses to the 8 questions, you’ll have a sense of how you score.  This assessment doesn’t give you a hard score, but provides direction and practical tips for next steps: 

If you have a lot of ‘No’ and ‘Sort of’ answers –

This means the sales and marketing teams in your organization operate primarily in silos, which limits their effectiveness and their potential for success.  Better collaboration will start at the top – with the leaders of sales and marketing. If the two leaders don’t want to collaborate or don’t see the benefit of working together, it will be difficult to make radical improvements.  If, however, the two leaders simply haven’t identified the benefit of collaboration, the diagnostic is a good starting point for bringing them together. 

If your marketing team has never been on sales calls, have them do that within the next four weeks.  If your company is about to start its annual planning process, set up joint sessions for sales and marketing to plan together and extract knowledge from each other.  And if the two teams don’t meet regularly, invite marketing to the next sales meeting – and continue to have them join every meeting in the future. 

If you have some ‘No’, some ‘Sort of’ and some ‘Yes’ Answers –

This means your sales and marketing teams have a cooperative relationship and there is good respect between them. However, they aren’t fully leveraging the benefits of a deep integration of their activities.  Look at each statement and identify where deeper integration or communication will help the two teams work more effectively.   If they haven't done so already, have marketing go on sales calls to increase their understanding of customers, encourage sales and marketing to review leads on a weekly basis in order to refine the team’s definition of a qualified lead, and during the annual planning process, have sales and marketing collaborate to optimize key marketing initiatives and time them with customer buying cycles.  

Mostly ‘Yes’ and ‘Sort of’ Answers

Your sales and marketing teams work well together.  They plan together, have shared definitions of the customer and the buying process, and communicate frequently in order to consistently react to market changes.  Keep up the good work by identifying any specific statements where you rate yourself as ‘Sort of’ – these are the areas to consider for attention.  

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