Best Practices

Sales & Marketing Relationship Therapy: Building A Solid Foundation

Sales and marketing relationship issues got you down? Well, it’s a good thing you’re here. The first step to repairing old wounds is admitting there’s an issue.

Sales and marketing relationships are complicated. There are many facets and nuances to consider. Solid sales and marketing alignment takes a lot of hard work, serious communication, and long-term commitment.

And I’m here to help! Introducing “Sales & Marketing Relationship Therapy”, a blog series dedicated to helping you build bridges and learn tactics to ensure a robust, long-lasting partnership between sales and marketing.

My career up to this point has been built around sales and marketing alignment in one way or another. Whether from a business development capacity, marketing role or, management perspective. In my current role as Business Development Manager at LookBookHQ, I’ve had the unique opportunity to take a sales & marketing relationship that was “kind of working” – albeit a bit fractured – and turn it into that “Platinum Anniversary” type of relationship that annoys you on Instagram!

Just remember: this is a safe, no judgment zone. So have a seat, get comfortable, and prepare to get Dr. Phil real as we dig deep and discuss the relationship between your sales and marketing teams and how to set them up for a long-lasting, love-filled future.

A tale as old as time…

There is often a disconnect between marketing and sales teams at B2B companies and, at one time, LookBookHQ was no different. Luckily, we still had solid lead quality – there’s always been a steady flow of inbound leads to the business development team. I’m talking about straight-up communication issues.

Sales never really knew what marketing was up to, what their goals were, and how all of that impacted the sales team beyond our daily MQLs. All this led to strained relationships, which included marketing feeling under-appreciated and sales feeling frustrated.

We were also never fully in line with our messaging. The marketing messages sent to our prospects didn’t always translate to sales’ cold call talk tracks, emails, demos, etc. We found ourselves scrambling to create sales follow-up emails and talk tracks as leads were flowing in from campaigns, events, and webinars we didn’t know existed.

On the other side of the office, marketing felt frustrated that we were behind in our follow-up with these leads, not to mention that we might not even be saying the right things in our outreach.

Here are some steps we took at LookBookHQ to bridge these gaps. Try these therapeutic suggestions to help heal the strained relationship between your sales and marketing teams too:

Consider a blended sales and marketing family

It’s easier for any team to function as a cohesive unit when they’re living under the same roof. Many companies are moving business development under the marketing umbrella – and it has worked for us. Having our business development arm reporting to the Vice President of Marketing helps make sure we are all speaking the same language and on the same page. BizDev is now always in the loop when it comes to marketing campaigns and communications that are being targeted to our prospects.

If this feels a little too hands-on for some of you there are other ways to grow closer without reorganizing team structures. For example, appoint a marketing liaison to sit on your sales team’s weekly meetings. Your liaison can act as the “go-between” to ensure your business development and sales team know exactly what’s coming up in the world of marketing, plus they can answer any questions in-the-moment and live. After all, we all know those email updates marketing sends are only being read by a few salespeople…

Say it with me now…DATE NIGHT!

Any solid couple knows it’s important to carve out time to reconnect and regroup with one another. What this might look like from a sales and marketing perspective could be a weekly revenue meeting. It’s critical for sales and marketing leadership to check-in on a regular basis to answer questions like:

  • How is marketing tracking against their KPIs?
  • How is that directly impacting business development?
  • How is all of this impacting sales?
  • What can you do to better support each team in reaching their goals?

There are so many leading indicators of a potential missed quarter that can be detected and course corrected early on with these meetings.

Honesty is the best policy

It’s important to remember there is no good guys or bad guys in a relationship. It takes two to tango. Ultimately, compromise is the only way for all parties to agree (and be happy) with a solution. Transparency is key; reporting in Salesforce is no different.

I can’t stress this enough: Sharing is caring! Share your reports. In fact, create dashboards that align from MQL to SQO to Closed Won Revenue while you’re at it. It’s so important to go into your weekly meetings with “one view of the truth”, keeping secrets or hiding potential gaps only will only create more problems down the road.

Remember: You’re in this together

Sales and marketing alignment is fundamentally a team sport. Having a “we” rather than a “me” mentality is crucial to planning and executing coordinated plays. What this looks like at LookBookHQ is having a shared view of who our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is. The best way to build out an ICP list is by looked at both marketing data as well as sales’ experiences.

Here are some other ways LookBookHQ we adopted a team sport mentality to launch coordinated campaigns and ABM plays:

  • Since business development reports into marketing, there’s always open lines of communication and these extend all the way up to our VP of Marketing and CEO
  • Weekly cross-functional meetings help us predict potential gaps and problems so we can be more proactive rather than reactive

Marketing created tools for sales to use in coordination with ABM plays. As a result we’ve seen SQO conversion rates increase by 10%! Some examples of these include:

  • Sending video direct mailers to ICP accounts
  • Creating sales emails that align to our marketing messaging
  • Building talk tracks for sales that directly align with marketing’s email outreach so we’re in sync every step of the way
  • Sales decks are a collaboration from both teams to ensure our messaging is aligned from first nurture email, to cold call, to scheduled demo

As a result of our cohabitation and communication efforts, BDRs now fully understand how our marketing team operates, what they care about, and how everything aligns with our goals on the sales side. Our marketing team holds themselves just as accountable for sales’ KPIs, targets, and goals so successes and wins are shared.

This session can help set a solid foundation for a long-lasting and blissful sales and marketing relationship. Future sessions will help you continue your journey to having a well-oiled marketing and sales machine – a true partnership.

  • Session 2: What’s in a lead? Let me count the ways
  • Session 3: Why long distance relationships don’t work
  • Session 4: Helping your partner be their best selves