The gap between marketing and sales has remained a pressing problem for many organisations regardless of size or industry. Marketing and sales teams that don’t communicate are less prepared to deal with the growing power of buyers to dictate the buying cycle.

(For a fun look at what bad sales & marketing alignment is, check out the video below...) 

Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce — and self-proclaimed “recovering sales rep” joined us on a recent Pardot Webinar called “Dear B2B Marketers: A Love Letter From Your Sales Team” to talk through why it is more important now than ever for sales and marketing teams to better align themselves and give buyers the connected experience they need. There were a number of great questions posed online during her session which she was unable to answer - so we took some time with her to further delve into this hot topic.

Q: How can marketing automation help address some of the disconnect between marketing and sales?

The disconnect between marketing and sales is legendary. However, if done correctly marketing automation is a great step to help you bridge the gap between your teams - especially if you approach the process as a collaborative effort. Pardot enables marketers to track prospects behaviour as they educate themselves on a particular product or service, and then use that information to assign a score and a grade that assesses the sales-readiness of a lead.

This way only the mutually agreed upon, top quality leads are passed to sales, and they are engaging the right customers to optimise selling time. If sales does encounter someone who’s not ready to buy today (maybe they don’t have budget until next year, for example), they can bump that customer back over to marketing to be nurtured until the right time comes.  

Automating your marketing is not only about enabling your marketing teams to provide sales teams with the types of leads that will generate greater pipeline — but getting sales far more engaged up-front to ensure a collaborative lead sharing process. Feedback from sales helps marketers determine what makes a warm lead, and what steps to take to educate prospects to a sales-ready point. Without dialogue around this, it’s impossible to improve or retarget lead generation efforts. When implementing Pardot, talking to your sales team to identify these things is the first step to successfully automating your marketing efforts and improving performance. 

Q: What do you recommend marketing does to better prepare sales especially in an extremely siloed organisation?

Your sales teams need support from the marketing team in order to be fully prepared and effective even if they don’t fully realise that today. In a siloed organisation where these teams don’t have any overlap, setting up a dedicated ‘cross-functional’ group that acts as the liaison between marketing and sales and organises communications and feedback between the two might be your best bet. 

Regardless, sales teams need to be trained on how to use marketing materials to their best advantage and marketing needs to be able to understand how sales uses the materials provided, then collect feedback to ensure that the leads provided are meeting the agreed upon expectations, and campaigns are effectively targeting the right segments.

In a siloed environment, you’re even more unlikely to have access to individual sales reps, so facilitating discussions between Sales and Marketing at the highest level is critical. Without executive support on gaining tighter integration between these two groups you will have a more difficult time changing behaviours. 

Q: In your opinion, should the personalised email be sent from marketing, or a salesperson in order to get higher engagement?

Personalisation drives much higher engagement on the whole, and often the ones who are best positions to really build relationships with buyers is the sales team. Marketing collects the initial information on a buyer, including their activities and details about their role, and then sales initiates the first personal contact. It will depend, of course, on your industry and sales model, but in many B2B organisations, the sales team is the prospects’ main point of contact until they become clients, so personalising that communication as much as possible is extremely important.

So, how can we make sales communication more efficient? Marketing can provide templates for sales to send, or even send out messages on behalf of sales reps. Marketing automation tools can use dynamic content to automatically customise messages on behalf of an assigned sales rep, allowing for a personal touch at scale.

Watch Tiffani’s complete presentation Dear B2B Marketers: A Love Letter From Your Sales Team for more tips and tricks! Or download a copy of this Sales and Marketing Alignment Made Easy e-book to get your teams firing on all cylinders, fast. 

This article first featured on the Pardot Blog - Dear B2B Marketers: A Love Letter From Sales