Align marketing and sales

1. Define your target audience using firmographic, source, and customer behaviour data.

Firmographic data is a set of characteristics related to companies that, together, form market segments. Firmographics give deeper insights for B2B marketing teams to target accounts that get the most benefit from their products or services. Questions to answer include who is the lead, where do they work, what is their position, what is their background? Source data tells you how your largest audience finds you and what people are interested in. Are they coming from competitor pages or looking up broader, top-of-funnel information? Questions to answer include where did they come from, and what do we know or can infer from that source? Customer behavior analyzes what users do on the site content or emails they interact with to help tell sales and marketing teams exactly how good (or bad) of a lead they are. Questions to answer include what have they done on your website or in your product, and how have they engaged with you?

2. Talk to your sales and marketing departments to focus their efforts on the same target audience.

3. Create core messages specifically aimed at your target audience.

These should cover what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. The Golden Circle, introduced by Simon Sinek in 2009, is a helpful framework. The Jobs-to-be-done framework can help you learn the job that consumers hire your product to do. Here are a few questions you can ask: Why did you choose us? Have you referred others to us? Why? What alternatives, if any, did you try before us? If you switched from a competitor, why? Did any particular marketing campaign convinced you to buy? What is your favorite part of our product or service? Translate what you learn into your core messaging, which should focus on the why. Remember different audiences will have different whys, and you’ll need to address those needs consistently, with the same language, at every stage.

4. Define shared terms and internal language to facilitate inter-team communication.

Common terms that can be interpreted differently by different teams include: Lead, MQL, and SQL. To define the terms that your marketing and sales teams use, first catalog everything you want your definitions to cover. According to the Unified Compliance Framework, there are multiple types of definitions, but two are most widely used: Intensional. Begins with the category, properties, or features shared by other concepts or things like it. Continues with what makes this concept or thing different to the other members of its category. For example, baked goods are foods that are cooked in an oven of some fashion that uses prolonged dry heat, usually based on flour or corn. Extensional: Lists as many objects, properties, or features as necessary that represent the concept or thing being described. Explains how those objects, properties, or features fit into a more generalized category. For example, baked goods are breads, cakes, pastries, cookies, biscuits, scones and similar items of food that are cooked in an oven of some fashion.

5. Create a single shared process for working with leads, based on routing, prioritizing, and timing guidelines.

Misalignment creates two funnels; a marketing funnel for generating pipeline and a sales funnel for closing the pipeline. When you have multiple funnels and multiple lead-nurturing processes, sales and marketing teams operate at difference paces toward different goals. To create your process for working with leads, consider three areas: Routing. Where do leads go between marketing and sales? Are they tagged in a CRM or segmented in your email service provider? Priority. What’s the order in which you reach out to leads? Timing. How fast should you reach out, how many times, and over what timeframe? For example, leads coming from review or comparison shopping websites are contacted within two hours, while leads coming from branded search terms are contacted within six hours. All leads are contacted four times within the first seven days of identification.