The CMO’s 6-Step Guide to B2C Marketing and Sales Alignment

min read
The CMO’s 6-Step Guide to B2C Marketing and Sales Alignment

There has been a seismic shift in defining success for sales and marketing teams at B2C brands. In the last few years, it’s been recognized that together these teams are ultimately responsible for revenue generation, and they’re now expected to justify their investments with direct connections to growth. However, there’s a roadblock to making this a reality in many B2C organizations — alignment between sales and marketing teams

Our recent survey of B2C sales, marketing, and contact center leaders shows that over 90% believe alignment across their departments is important for driving revenue growth. However, only 1 in 10 say their teams are strongly aligned. So, everyone thinks it’s important — and nobody’s doing it. 

It’s not that they don’t want to work together — the data shows that they know they should be more aligned. They simply haven’t been given the tools to do so. As a CMO, you have the power and responsibility to cross the divide and create a cross-functional revenue team that can drive impressive revenue growth. But where do you start?

Why Sales and Marketing Alignment is Important for B2C Brands

There is a clear gap between the need for alignment and what most B2C organizations can achieve. The consequences of poor alignment between marketing and sales are particularly dire in complex, high-stakes purchase industries like automotive, home services, and healthcare,  where customers begin their buying journey online and convert on the phone. This is because once marketing sends a lead to sales teams in the contact center or business locations, they typically only have one chance to close the sale. 

If the buyer journey is anything less than seamless, they’ll go to the competition and you lose their business forever. If the leads aren’t properly qualified or they’re low-value customers who should have converted online, you’ve wasted marketing’s budget and the sales team’s time. 

Worse, without a solid connection between your teams, you have no visibility into sales call outcomes and therefore no way to measure and improve your results. Poor alignment leads to a vicious cycle of poor marketing and sales performance, reduced growth, and seemingly no way to break out of it.

Gaining the alignment your sales and marketing teams need to become a well-oiled revenue growth engine can be difficult, but it’s by no means unobtainable. Here are six steps you can take to drive that alignment.

1. Define What Sales and Marketing Alignment Means to Your Teams

Your first step to gaining alignment is to define what it means to your organization. You should strive for consistent, transparent and frequent communication, shared business goals, and ensuring that data is shared across teams and spans the entire buying journey.

At its core, sales and marketing alignment means your teams can work toward the same goals and function in lockstep to achieve them. When sales and marketing are properly aligned, they will function as a unified revenue team with clear communication channels, shared strategies, integrated data systems, and complete visibility of the buying journey from the first click to the final sale.

It takes more than just knowing what each team is doing, it’s about being in tune with their needs and working together to figure out what’s working, what isn’t, and how you can continually improve processes and tactics to benefit the bottom line.

2. Start the Conversation on Sales and Marketing Alignment

Getting the conversation started comes down to trust — it’s the only way to squash the “sales vs marketing” mentality and foster functional collaboration. In our survey, 93% of marketing and sales leaders said that low trust between the teams has a significant impact on revenue growth. However, less than a quarter said they have high trust in the other team to do their jobs. The rift is real and its impact is apparent. 

Establishing trust starts with ending the blame game and assuring that one team isn’t running the show. Sales doesn’t want to be dictated to by marketing and vice-versa. Your teams need to meet, preferably in person, to have a frank discussion about the gaps that exist between your teams and where they are falling short. Taking a “what can I do better” approach is more productive than a “what you need to do better” tack that will drive introspection and reduce conflict. 

It’s also beneficial to take a data-driven approach to your alignment discovery process. The numbers are just harder to deny than anecdotes, data will give your teams the chance to discover where your dependencies lie and give you a common language to speak.

3. Establish Consistent and Transparent Communication

Creating channels for consistent communication between your marketing and sales teams is one of the easiest ways to foster alignment. It’s also one of the most effective. In our survey, 84% of marketing and sales leaders said that meeting more regularly with their counterparts positively impacts their ability to grow revenue, and 40% cited poor communication as the top challenge to aligning their teams. 

You can start by having consistent meetings with your teams. I recommend having weekly check-ins to align on tactics and progress, and bigger meetings monthly or quarterly to align on strategy and goals. 

Ensure the meetings have a clear purpose and focus on strategy alignment and goal attainment, not just status updates. Create a clear agenda for each meeting and make sure that every attendee is expected to contribute to it. This assures that everyone is prepared and engaged and that the meeting is owned by everyone instead of one person forcing a conversation. 

Key to the success of communication is transparency. Create a Slack channel for the full team and set the expectation that most communication should occur there so everyone knows what’s going on. This prevents backchanneling, prevents surprises, and keeps everyone on the same page. Channels can also be broken into more specific topics e.g. for specific campaigns or projects to keep the conversation tight and make information easier to find. You never know who might have a great solution to a problem, so involving the whole team assures everyone’s voice can be heard. 

4. Align on Goals and KPIs

Speaking of using numbers as a common language, aligning on goals and KPIs is what creates your Rosetta Stone for translating success. Your teams still need their own goals—for example, sales may not care about your ROAS and marketing won’t focus on call handling times—but you should establish common KPIs that both teams can directly impact. Take into consideration that your individual goals will impact your team goals down the line, though.    

Revenue is the end-game KPI that everyone cares about, but there are other metrics leading to it that matter and can be impacted by both of your teams. No matter what your goals are, make sure they are measurable and specific.

Here are a few examples of shared KPIs:

  • Revenue per lead - This depends on marketing sending high-quality leads and sales selling the right mix of products and services.
  • Conversion volume and type - The more good leads marketing sends, the more sales can close. Remember to establish what qualifies as a conversion — e.g. appointments, quotes, sales, or other call outcomes — and assign values to them.
  • Lead conversion rate - Again, marketing has to send qualified leads, and sales must take the correct steps to convert them.
  • Customer lifetime value - Once you have qualified leads and sales can convert them, both sales and marketing have to work together to drive CLV from marketing working nurture to the sales team providing exemplary service.

5. Measure and Benchmark Your Performance

You can’t improve what you don’t measure and you won’t know if you’re improving if you don’t know where you started. Before you get started making changes to your programs, take the time to benchmark the KPIs and goals that you set. This could take some time — you might need a quarter or two to make sure you have accurate data. It can be faster if you already have all of the right measurement systems in place and you can look at historical data. This data provides the starting point for your joint strategies and will prove your true impact on the business.

6. Make Complete Buying Journey Data Accessible to Everyone 

To make all this work, your marketing and sales teams need access to the same data to serve as a source of truth. Both teams need visibility of the full buying journey from the first click to the final sale — not just the parts that come before or after the handoff. This data and visibility doesn’t just end arguments about what parts of the process may be failing, it gives both teams a common understanding of the buying journey and a common language to speak in. It provides a clear path to optimizing the buying journey to reach your common goal — driving revenue growth.

There are tools tailored for enhancing paid media investments, improving sales team productivity, and managing contact centers efficiently. The problem that we’re seeing now is that sales and marketing tech is often implemented in a vacuum where various processes on each side are optimized individually. The systems don’t communicate with each other, so the sales and marketing teams who use them don’t talk either. 

There is a critical need for technology that seamlessly integrates these functions, particularly in transactional sales environments. This integration is where revenue execution platforms fill the gap between marketing and sales. These platforms enable organizations to use insights from marketing efforts to support the sales team effectively, even as the buyer journey transitions from online to offline. 

Revenue execution platforms are gaining traction in the market because they are the first B2C technology to truly bridge the marketing and sales divide. They’ve quickly become an essential solution for businesses that need shared data and a source of truth that’s accessible across the entire revenue team.

Read this blog to learn more about how revenue execution platforms work. To see what leading analysts are saying about revenue execution providers, check out The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Revenue Execution Platforms, Q2 2024 report.

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