Marketing

B2B Sales and Marketing Alignment

Harsha Potapragada
May 19, 2022

Now more than ever, B2B Sales and Marketing teams share the same objective: drive conversions and revenue. Here are a few reasons why alignment between the two teams is crucial — plus a couple of tips on how you can ensure the same.

But first, let’s discuss sales and marketing misalignment

For the most part, Sales and Marketing interact with the same leads and accounts. Once marketing has identified a high-intent lead, they pass them on to Sales, who are then responsible for converting them to paying customers. Too often, however, relevant lead data is siloed between marketing and sales. Crucial information may be missing or inaccessible for either team. This misalignment can lead to misinterpreted data, poor conversion rates efficiency, unorganised customer support, and ultimately, a loss of revenue and pipeline.


This issue is further fueled when both departments use different tools and platforms, inconsistent data storage practices, and deficient analysis. Another, qualitative symptom of this misalignment is poor communication between teams. This can manifest as dissatisfaction amongst sales representatives with the quality of leads being passed down to them and a similar dissatisfaction amongst marketers for an inadequate number of deals being closed by Sales.

The importance of Sales and Marketing Alignment

Alignment of strategies

Often, the strategic outcomes of both sales and marketing are dependent on the toils of each other’s departments. Transparent communication across strategy, challenges, insights and more will ensure that both sales and marketing efforts are complementing each other in driving revenue.

Improve productive prospecting

Often, when sales and marketing are misaligned, the leads coming down the funnel may not seem very valuable to the SDRs. This can lead to:

  1. SDRs ignore a majority of the leads being sent to them by marketing
  2. SDRs recycling old leads

Both of these symptoms signal inefficient prospecting. Sales and marketing lead to both teams setting up clear parameters for which contacts to send to sales and sales also understands why a certain prospect showed promise from the marketer’s perspective. This leads to increased productivity for both salespersons and marketers as well as improved conversion rates. 

Seamless workflows

Sales and marketing alignment requires alignment across technology and data as well. Data, tools and platforms should maintain consistency across the board. This ensures that information sharing and interpretations are seamless and accurate.

Shorter sales cycles

B2B sales cycles tend to be long due to more touchpoints and conversations with reps before the final purchase decision. The process tends to be easier further down the funnel. However, most people avoid initiatives like sales calls and emails. A more collaborative marketing-sales dynamic can help shorten the cycle and improve conversions through content strategy, nurturing activities, etc — that have inputs and perspectives of the salesperson as well as the marketer. 

Tips to improve Sales and Marketing alignment

1. Define common terms

Definitions as simple as qualified leads, MQLs and SQLs can be different for sales and marketing within the same organisation. This may become a major cause of miscommunication and dissatisfaction with lead quality. Ensuring that everyone is aligned on the definitions and parameters of terms that are integral to both departments can avoid async activity and productivity loss.

2. Identify target audience 

Aligning the goals of ‘lead generation’ and ‘lead conversion’ begins when both teams sit down and identify the ideal target audience. Dissatisfaction arises when lead identification by marketing and sales are not aligned. For B2Bs, it involves knowing the firmographic features like firm size, industry specifications, titles, revenue etc. This also involves creating core messages together so that both teams are aligned on positioning as a lead goes through the buyer journey. 

3. Define goals and strategies together 

It is imperative for both sales and marketing to be clear on outcome metrics like pipeline and revenue. This ensures that sales have input on defining sales readiness, making communication between teams clear and productive.

4. In addition to sales funnels, perform revenue attribution

The traditional sales funnel is linear in nature as it only comprises the following structure:

Lead->Prospects->Clients. Attribution modelling is a holistic way to look at all the non-linear touch-points during conversions.

5. Create a process for leads engagement

Another consequence of organisational misalignment is the formation of distinct funnels — one for lead generation and another for conversions. Combining these two funnels will encourage comprehensive, high-efficacy engagement across the buyer journey going through the customer journey.

6. Alignment across tools and tech

The best way to ease communication and close down data silos between sales and marketing is to use tools that promote alignment. Attribution and analytics tools that collate data from all touchpoints of the user journey across ads, web, and CRM (ie. both marketing and sales touchpoints) allow seamless data analysis, reporting and insight derivation for both teams. This can promote further collaboration and synergy between both organisations.

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