Fortune 100 senior marketer Pam Didner has great experience with working in the crossfire between sales and marketing, and she has just published her second book, which is about effective sales enablement. In that occasion we teamed up with her for a webinar, in which she provided the viewers with three ideas for improved sales and marketing alignment. Now we have summed it up in an action-oriented overview of three pieces of advice.
#1 Make MQLs specific and action-oriented
Pam Didner started out with stating that marketing and sales are from two different planets, and the very foundation of sales and marketing alignment therefore is to find commonalities between the two.
When you ask your sales department what the most important task of the marketing department is, they will most likely say “generating MQLs (marketing qualified leads)”. This is the main connection between sales and marketing. For that reason, Pam Didner stressed that MQLs must be specific and action oriented, for marketing to be able to document their results and support sales.
As examples of specific and action-oriented MQLs Pam Didner highlighted websites with buttons like “request demo”, “contact us”, “call us”, “download free trial” and similar. These are specific actions that can be tracked, which give marketing a clear idea of what defines a MQL and what marketing must do to increase the number of MQLs.
#2 Map marketing content to the sales processes
Another way of strengthening the collaboration and thereby alignment between sales and marketing is for marketing to support sales with relevant content. The objective for marketing is to create content that sales reps will actually use to strengthen the sales process. Therefore, marketing needs to map marketing content according to sales processes.
The starting point is defining the customer centric buying journey. Of course, it looks a little different for each customer, but there are often some common denominators of the stages of the buying process: At first, customers become aware of your product, then they educate themselves about it, then they hopefully choose to purchase your product and afterwards they use your product and maybe expand their usage.
The next task is to map the customer journey to the sales journey, as your sales reps will have different tasks at hand at different stages. Then you can map marketing content pieces accordingly, to ensure that your marketing department creates content that helps customers find the information that they are looking for and supports your sales reps with the material they need when interacting with customers.
Pam Didner pointed out that managing content in sales often requires a tool, because sales reps need easy access to the relevant content. Such a tool could be a sales enablement platform, since it connects individual sales teams and sales reps with the content that they need in any encounter with prospects and clients.
#3 Collaborate through ABM
Pam Didner’s third idea was to collaborate through ABM (account-based marketing) to align sales and marketing. Pam Didner illustrated the effectiveness of ABM by showing that the practice turns the traditional sales funnel upside-down. Instead of being wide at the top, the sales funnel in ABM is narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. The reason for this is that ABM is a matter of identifying single accounts, expanding them and making them advocates for your product.
To collaborate successfully through ABM, sales and marketing must work together on specific accounts. ABM puts sales in the driver’s seat immediately, because sales and marketing rely on account specific insights rather than buyer personas.
Pam Didner provided examples of companies that utilize ABM one-to-one, one-to-few or one-to-many. You can view all of the examples in the recording of the webinar. Utilizing ABM one-to-one means making highly customized marketing efforts for individual accounts. One-to-few means addressing a group of accounts that share similarities, and one-to-many means targeting multiple accounts with customized marketing efforts by using technology.
These three ideas can be implemented in most organizations to a small or large extent, and Pam Didner made a final remark that goes for all of them: Work with your sales team and be creative. Think beyond roles and responsibilities. It takes time to improve sales and marketing alignment and it is a journey of trial and error.
We would love to hear if you have tried out any of these ideas yourself or maybe have other suggestions for improved sales and marketing alignment. Tag us in your social media posts, e.g. on Twitter with @Napp_dk. You can get access to the webinar recording and Pam Didner’s presentation in full length (which includes bonus ideas and questions from viewers) via this link.