“Sales Alignment” is the term most often used to describe the pivotal sales and marketing relationship, but if you closely examine it in the environment of successful revenue marketing, a more appropriate term is “synergy”. Let’s look at the definition of each term and then more fully examine this critical relationship for all revenue marketers.
- Alignment: 1. Linear or orderly arrangement, 2. Positioning of something for proper performance, 3. Support or alliance.
- Synergy: Synergy comes from the Greek word synergia, meaning joint work and cooperative action. 1. Synergy is when the result is greater than the sum of the parts. Synergy is created when things work in concert together to create an outcome that is in some way of more value than the total of what the individual inputs is.
Which definition sounds more like a model for relationship success and for revenue marketing success? Of course, it’s synergy! Synergy is the end-state description of your relationship with sales so let’s further explore what this relationship looks like.
Hear how Megan Eisenberg, VP of Demand Generation at DocuSign, achieved synergy with sales. Click here to watch the video.
What Does Synergy Look Like?
More specifically, what are the behaviors we can observe that characterize a synergistic marketing and sales relationship? Here are five characteristics we often see in successful revenue marketing organizations.
- Both sales and marketing use a common revenue language.
- Both sales and marketing are vested in each other’s success.
- Both sales and marketing are proactive in their relationship.
- Both sales and marketing work together as one revenue team towards achieving shared revenue-oriented goals.
- Both sales and marketing have goals and compensation tied to shared revenue metrics.
The Marketing and Sales Synergy Model
Now that we know what a synergistic relations looks like, let’s use a model to understand how to achieve it.
The first step in creating any relationship with sales is to educate yourself and your team on all things related to sales. Trying to create a relationship with sales without understanding their world simply does not work. More specifically, you need to understand the sales goals, be a part of sales initiatives, understand the sales process, know the sales team and educate yourself on the pipeline. The only real way to do this is to meet with sales, join sales meetings and go on calls with them.
Like sales, revenue marketers must begin embracing the language of revenue. Typical revenue marketers don’t talk to sales about pretty fonts or newsletters; they talk to sales about opportunity pipeline, quota and revenue. They ask sales questions like, What number do you need to hit for your new acquisition target? What does your current opportunity pipeline look like and how can we help? What is your average deal size and how can we help grow that? Why are opportunities not closing and how can we help?
As a leader, to be ready for revenue marketing and to engage in a relationship, you need an effective vision and a game plan. It’s up to you to set the vision, create and communicate the game plan, collaborate on the game plan and get buy-in to this game plan.
Creating and gaining commitment to a jointly developed game plan takes time and repetition. You can’t just walk into a meeting and expect sales to “get it” in a 30-minute presentation. After all, you’ve probably spent months attending conferences, reading white papers and educating yourself about the benefits of revenue marketing. You’ll need to plan for multiple communication methods, meetings, and events to share your vision and craft the ultimate game plan.
I can’t emphasize strongly enough the importance of sales and marketing having shared goals, aligned compensation and complimentary organizational structures. In the world of sales, no revenue accountability for marketing means zero respect from sales. When we take a look at the most successful revenue marketing machines, we see that marketing has the same kinds of goals as sales. If sales has a number tied to new account acquisition, so does marketing. If sales has a number for enterprise accounts, so does marketing. If sales has a number for a new product, so does marketing.
Following this simple model will help marketing understand and become true revenue partners with sales.
How have you achieved that critical synergy with sales and what has been the result? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
Blog Written By: Debbie Qaqish
Debbie Qaqish is a Principal and Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group. She is the author of Rise of The Revenue Marketer, a doctoral student and is passionate about all elements of Revenue Marketing – especially the leadership required to drive transformation. Contact Debbie at Debbie@pedowitzgroup.com or http://www.linkedin.com/in/dqaqish