All you need to know about Sales & Marketing Alignment

Written by Randy Malmquist

Aug 22, 2018

August 22, 2018

Many sales and marketing teams when asked the question “Are your sales and marketing teams aligned?” will say “yes, of course”, but what we have found is that in most cases its not really true. 

Nine times out of ten, when pushed a little further the answer is “no, not really”. Don’t worry, its normal, most sales teams are disconnected from the marketing team and vice versa. This has a lot to do with personality and culture. Sales people are much different than Marketers in many ways, but those companies bridging the gap will be able to see a much bigger ROI, and here is why.

91% of companies over 10 employees use a CRM, but 40% of the sales reps use spreadsheets or their inbox to store lead and customer data.

Sales reps spend 66% of their time doing things other than talking to prospects.

52% of marketers say that they provide good leads to their sales team whereas most sales reps rank marketing leads as the worst leads.

Lastly, the average turnover for a sales rep is 25% and many organizations is much higher.

These stats prove that their is some huge room for improvement in the sales and marketing relationship. By organizing, optimizing, aligning and transforming your sales and marketing efforts you can see a dramatic increase in sale and marketing investment.

CRM Implementation

As you know most companies over 10 employees utilize a CRM to keep track of their customers. A good place to start to figure out if your sales and marketing teams are aligned is by scheduling a time to review your portal. We recommend getting the Free version of HubSpot’s CRM and trying some of the features to see if it might work for your team.


CRM Portal Review and Cleanup, Lead Routing, Define Deal Stages, Process Audit, Build Custom Views and Reports

Sales Enablement 

We particularly like the email tracking and logging feature, the meetings link and call recording. If you are a sales manager or director, you probably have had the feeling that opportunities are falling through the cracks. The email feature alone makes it worth getting a paid sales pro account, in order to track and monitor email opens and clicks to alert your sales reps to know when to call a prospect.


Email Template Creation and Optimization, Sequences Creation, Prospect Fit Matrix, Meeting Links Setup, Implement Messages App

Sales & Marketing Alignment

Here is where the magic happens. When you begin to understand the buyer persona’s as a sales rep, you can really begin to see marketing and sales alignment. Once marketing and sales agree on what a MQL (marketing qualified lead) is versus and SQL (sales qualified lead) you will really start to make progress. Combine these with lead scoring, lead stages, goal setting and SLA development and you will truly begin to transform your sales and marketing efforts.


Goal Setting, Buyer Profile and Persona Development, Define MQL’s and SQL’s, Define Lead Stages, Lead Scoring and SLA Development

Sales coaching

Targeting specific leads and customers will really allow you to tailor your sales and marketing campaigns to target specific buyer personas. You will now be able to create custom offers for each buyer in the particular part of the buyers journey that they are in. In other words, you can now have multiple offers for each buyer persona to offer them as they travel through the process of buying your product or service. You will also get a sharp increase in repeat business and activate those old clients you haven’t heard from. Interestingly, you will also be able to interact with candidates through segmentation. For example, you may have an opening for Graphic Designers which needs to be filled yesterday, you can segment your candidates into each industry by categories. You will need a good CRM to help you with this, good thing you know us because we can hook you up with a good free CRM.

Learn about Growth Driven Design for Recruitment Agencies


Candidate Sourcing, Interviewing, Inbound Sales Training and Coaching, Tracking PIP’s

How often do you hit your sales goals? Are your sales goals clear? Do you know what your team has to do to hit sales goals?

If you would like to know how to hit your Sales quotas more consistently, we can help! We work with businesses which have set goals that have to be met, so we cant leave any room for missed opportunities. How do we ensure that our goals are met? One of the ways that we make sure to maximize our efforts is with sales and marketing alignment.

Sales and Marketing have different roles in every organization, but the their goals are the same right? The answer is Yes, and No, the reason you could argue for No, is because sometimes marketing is a bit disconnected from the sales process directly. We fix this problem by keeping both teams talking.

We want to develop a standard for how many visits, leads and conversions it takes to make our revenue goals. Therefore, then we can understand how much marketing we have to do to reach our revenue goals. 

We do this by Organizing, Optimizing, Aligning and Transforming the sales and marketing experience. We call it “smarketing”. It works great, but its not easy. 

Getting Started: Questions to ask Your Team

Do we have ideal buyer profiles and personas? Are they accurate and useful? Do our sales people know what they are? Do they actually use them? How often are they updated? Do we use them for our positioning statements?

What are the roadblocks that are preventing us from making our sales goals? Are our sales reps maximizing their time? What can we do to increase productivity? Are our sales reps using their tools correctly?

What are the consequences of not taking action? What are the consequences of not making our goals? How does it effect us? What metrics can we improve to make our goals?

Once Sales and Marketing are on the same page, how can we ensure that everyone continues to use these new tools and procedures? Do we need recurring training for both teams? How do we make sure that the teams continue to drink the kool aid? How do we train and recruit the right candidates going forward?


We then develop goals, if we don’t have solid SMART goals, this is the first step. These goals are not stretch goals, they are hard and fast and have to be met. If we always hit our sales goals, but not revenue goals we can feel a little better about our efforts.


Organizing our Sales and Marketing efforts is as easy as, CRM cleanup and data migration, defining Deal stages, building custom views and reports for Reps and Lead routing/ Lead scoring.


We optimize by creating and optimizing email templates, creating and optimizing email sequences, workflows, automating meeting links and implementing the messaging app.


This can be as simple as defining MQL’s (marketing qualified lead) and SQL’s (sales qualified lead) and having agreed definition of Buyer Profiles and Buyer Personas.


The most crucial part of Sales and Marketing alignment is holding both teams accountable. Some organizations will have a learning curve and experience some growing pains.

Sales and Management training as well as candidate sourcing and interviewing will ensure the reps are fully aware of the proper performance standards and procedures.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is the evolution of B2B sales processes, but if we are not aligning our sales and marketing we are not going to maximize our ROI. Sales enabelment is the best way to operate our sales efforts and keep up with today’s empowered buyers .

70% of the buying decision is made before the prospect even talks to the sales rep.

In order to start a good sales enablement strategy we need three things, clear goals, a target buyer and a content strategy. We need to increase the time reps spend talking to qualified buyers and minimize the time spent with unqualified buyers.

Clear Goals

Shared revenue goals are the single most important piece. Marketing and Sales have to agree on goals and metrics. Unified revenue goals are where we will start, because revenue is the most important metric for all businesses. “in every successful transformation effort that I have seen, the guiding coalition develops a picture of the future that is relatively easy to communicate” John Kotter.

We want to be the largest recruitment growth agency in Arizona. This big vision can be achieved by setting some short term goals. Creating revenue goals that are tied to metrics and calculate how much time and effort it will take. Get Marketing and Sales equally excited about these goals.

A shared Service Level Agreement (SLA) will help us determine how many leads are needed to achieve these revenue goals. We need to know the average conversion rate from lead to opportunity, average conversion of opportunity to closed and the average value of a sale. A good SLA will create a recipe for sustained growth once it has a solid buy in from both teams. Even a very basic SLA will set you apart from your competition in most cases.

A weekly Smarketing Meeting is a highly effective way to keep Marketing and Sales departments communicating with each other. Both team should be interdependent, meaning that they need each other to complete their regular core tasks. These meetings will encourage review of previous shared projects, outcomes and results, and collaborate for future projects and goals. 

Target Buyer

Buyer Personas and Ideal customer profiles are a fundamental part of the inbound marketing methodology and is equally important throughout Sales and Marketing alignment. A clear definition of who our ideal customer is based on data. An ideal customer broadly describes your target market, and a Buyer Persona defines the specific type of people in that market.

We should be identifying a category of people who are going to benefit from our product or service. These personas have to be created by asking your actual customers and getting their perspectives.

Everyone who has worked in sales knows that sometimes Marketing does not deliver leads that are qualified. We need to agree on fit and sales readiness. Therefore; we need an ideal customer profile.

Lead scoring, is creating a score based on actions a customer has taken during the buying process. A list of attributes can be plugged in to your CRM and leads can be ranked based on their lead score.

Marketing and Sales must agree on the most important actions in order to create a SQL (Sales Qualified Lead). Developing a theory and making improvements will eventually get you a usable lead score. What does sales consider a qualified lead? Marketing qualified leads may not be sales qualified, but if we can get both teams to agree we can transform the results of our teams. 

Who do we want to be a hero to? When we know the answer to this question it will give us a huge competitive advantage. We are a hero to small to medium size staffing firms that are looking to scale with inbound marketing.

We should also learn the power of no, meaning that we can’t help everyone. Part of developing our target market is knowing who we don’t want to do business with.

Content Strategy

We must solve the problems that our customers have. This is what content strategy is. We will create content that our customers are searching for. We are teachers and we need to empower people with knowledge. The glue between Marketing and Sales. If our marketing efforts aren’t helping us get more sales, it is time to focus on that.

If we are able to solve problems, teach our customers, or increase sales we are doing better than 80% of our competitors. When we create content that adds value throughout the sales process life becomes so much easier. 

The more education you can provide a prospect with before they talk to sales, the more qualified they will be when they get there.

In our experience Sales and Marketing departments need to have shared strategies and goals. Sales and Marketing alignment will get your team in front of more qualified buyers. We wanted to share the top tools that we use and find most useful for our teams with their overall efforts. 

Call & Email Tracking

Documenting our sales rep’s calls and emails will not only track team performance, but will also allow sales coaching and mentoring to be done more efficiently. A modern CRM like HubSpot has the ability to sync with your smart device to record phone calls, making it easy to use and adapt to.

We can track performance within the tool and measure key deliverables. Our sales reps are rewarded with a higher amount of qualified potential customers. There will be no surprise as to how well or how poorly each rep has performed, as they can track it themselves throughout the month.

Our favorite function of this tool is the ability to empower your team to have the knowledge of when a prospect opens an email, in order to know when to place a follow up call. 

Lifecycle Stages

Tracking where our customers are within their buyers journey. If Sales and Marketing can agree about the sales process, we will get more qualified customers. With Lifecycle Stages we can mark a prospect as a lead, opportunity, a MQL (Marketing Qualified) or an SQL (Sales Qualified). When a Lead becomes an SQL, it is time to reach out and make contact because we know that this person is a good fit and has met certain criteria as determined by both Sales and Marketing. Our favorite function of this tool is to be able to go into your CRM at any moment and know where a contact is within their buying process. 

Deal Stages

Tracking how close a prospect is to buying allows us to know what a prospect will need to do before becoming qualified to purchase. Moving your prospects through deal stages makes it easier to prioritize and monitor each prospect in real time. 

As you can see below, the following Deals are progressing through the buyers journey in order to monitor each deal in real time. As a business owner or manager, it is easy to see what your team is doing and what is projected in the pipeline. Our favorite function of this tool is the ability to forecast Deals as they move through the pipeline. 

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring allows your team to add positive or negative attributes to a lead in order to prioritize them. We can get really detailed here, or keep it simple, but getting some type of lead scoring in place will definitely save your reps time by not talking to bad fit or unqualified prospects. The prospects that have the highest lead score will be the first contacted. Again, we need to ensure that Marketing and Sales agree on the lead scoring criteria.

Essentially when a lead reaches a certain score they are ready to buy, if we have an effective lead scoring system. We recommend doing manual lead scoring as apposed to predictive in the beginning. Our favorite function of this tool is the ability to consistently have changing scores based on the prospects actions and create a clear definition for good fit customers. 

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