The Power of Combining Sales and Marketing for Growth

The Power of Combining Sales and Marketing for Growth
B2B Marketing sales

Rebecca Corliss leads Team Development and Culture for HubSpot's famous marketing team. Having joined HubSpot back in 2008, Rebecca has seen the company grow from fewer than 50 employees to over 1,400 today. Content Israel is grateful to have had the opportunity to host her at our conference, where she shared her insights and expertise in content marketing. Below is a synopsis of some of the key points and strategies she discussed in her presentation. 

#1      How to Align Sales and Marketing Teams for Growth

When it comes to achieving revenue growth, a solid partnership between sales and marketing is truly the straw that stirs the drink.

On average, companies with a strong sales and marketing alignment experience 20% growth every year. Conversely, companies who's marketing and sales teams are misaligned experience a 4% decline annually— allowing for a widening chasm between the companies that do have strong marketing and sales alignment and those who do not. When your competitors that do have such an alignment are leaving you in the dust, you quickly realize how important this dynamic really is.

So, how do we align sales and marketing to become a real growth machine?

It starts with defining what business growth means to your company. This can mean meeting projected revenue targets, or gaining a specific volume of customers.  

Then, in a collaborative process, the marketing and sales teams must realistically determine what they need to do together in order to achieve these targets. 

Lastly, service level agreements must be created for both the sales team and the marketing teams respectively.

These SLA’s ensure that both teams are staying on track. On the marketing side, SLA reporting serves as a great indicator that shows if certain monthly targets are being met or not— allowing you to dig deeper and quickly fix what is not working so that you are supporting the sales team. On the sales side, SLA’s detail the speed and depth of follow-ups for marketing-generated leads. These can include such details as time to follow-up, quality of follow-up, and more.


#2      The Challenges of a Marketer

There are three main challenges that every marketer faces, especially when adapting to the inbound process.

Not enough awareness

When it comes to inbound marketing, there is no such thing as too much content, as every piece of content you distribute acts as a new opportunity to become discovered by a potential customer. We must also understand that this process is a long-term commitment. Content creation requires significant time and effort, but good content has a compounding effect on growth. 

Not enough conversions

The value that can be created in the form of a free tool, e-book or webinar, can be exchanged for personal information or permissions. This is when the B2B magic happens, and when the sales process can really begin. Now that the potential customers have unveiled themselves, they reveal key details that allow for a customized sales process. This approach to sales is so effective because it separates the customer from the crowd— catering to their specific needs and goals. 

Not enough revenue

The number one job of the marketing team is to provide the sales team with leads. However, there is a big difference between having simply a name and a phone number and having a qualified lead. These leads are the people who have opted in to learn more about your product or service, may have generated behavioral data from their use on your website, or answered questions from a form. Having a qualified lead allows for a much smoother conversation and overall sales process— it’s like handing the sales team a customer on a silver platter.

#3 A Customer-centric Approach

As buyers continue to get better at screening you out, traditional outbound marketing techniques such as advertising, cold calling and cold emailing are becoming less and less effective.

Today, it’s the buyer who is in control. In fact, 60% of the sales cycle has already happened before the customer ever gets on the phone with the sales rep. This being said, meeting the needs of the customer should be every company’s ultimate priority.

This means that we must adapt our marketing to a customer-centric approach that is heavily focused on the buyer instead of the seller. This is the fundamental difference between inbound and outbound marketing.

With 54% more leads generated by inbound tactics than by traditional paid marketing and a 3X greater likelihood of a higher ROI on inbound campaigns, it’s no wonder that when content is interesting and useful to the customer, they are much more likely to consume it and potentially become a customer of your company. 

On the sales side, it is always advisable to stick to the golden rule: sell unto others as you would have them sell unto you. In other words, your sales team’s focus should always be on the buyer’s action, and not on our actions as sellers. Remember, the buyer has all the power. So, in order to support a consultative and customer-centric sales process, listening should be prioritized over speaking.

When both your sales and marketing process are customer-centric you will be far more likely achieve the growth you are looking for.


Perry Nalevka

by Perry Nalevka on January 25, 2017

CEO of Penguin Strategies