Hack the Sales and Marketing Relationship

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By Cece Bazar & Blake Harris, Sales & Growth Strategists at OpenView Venture Partners


It’s easy to say that marketing is about churning out leads and sales is about closing leads, but we need to make sure that sales and marketing are well aligned to be successful.

Today we’re focusing on 5 hacks for improving the sales and marketing relationship at your company.

1 – Define the relationship

Sales – you should be holding marketing responsible for qualified leads, or marketing qualified leads. Consider the environment for sales of your product, and adjust the level of qualification necessary based off of your market.

Marketing – MQL – SAL Conversion Rate, and the Revenue Per Lead. Make sure that your sales team is achieving the the expected revenue per lead based off of the leads that are being provided.

2 – Learn to speak each other’s language

Before you looks at conversion rates, you need to make sure that you’re speaking each other’s language. Focus on the language that you’re using for leads as they come into your funnel and make sure that sales/marketing are using the same language in your sales funnel. Institutionalize your definitions so that you have a shared definition for success.

3 – Keep it Honest

It’s far too often that the VP of Sales and VP of Marketing come up with two different definitions of the truth when it comes to leads. We recommend that you create a “one version of the truth” dashboard that is constructed by one person in the company. This ensures that everyone knows what the KPI’s are for the company and what the definition of success will be.

4 – Push Each Other

Once your goals are aligned, you have shared definitions, and your dashboards of data mirror each other, you need to make sure that you have a shared sense of urgency. There should be a little bit of healthy tension between sales and marketing.

We recommend forming a version of a SLA with your sales and marketing team. We recommend these 3: Marketing to BDR, BDR to Sales, Sales to Marketing. This ensures that you can identify where the sales and marketing relationship is getting hung up, and how to improve.

5 – Constantly Communicate

We have three strategies for ensuring good communication between your sales and marketing teams.

1 – Desk Proximity:

Move your desks so that sales and marketing are sitting next to each other. You are the Mom and Dad of revenue, so be close to each other. You can tell a lot about sales and marketing’s relationship by where they sit next to each other.

2 – Daily/Weekly Scrum Meetings:

Adopted from Agile – take 15 minutes so that sales and marketing know what each other are doing. What’s upcoming, what impediments are there, what needs to be discussed.

3 – Marketing Feedback Loop:

Marketing and Sales need to ensure that they are creating a feedback loop of information. Try this: Create a Sales Playbook With:

  • buyer persona,
  • vertical that a campaign targets,
  • the content associated with the campaign,
  • the touchpoint model that a rep is expected to use

Create a Marketing Wish List With:

  • new competitors in the marketplace,
  • info you don’t have access to,
  • an objection that you don’t feel equipped to overcome.