Sales and Marketing Alignment Are Crucial For Success—But Why?

August 29, 2017

Sales and marketing, marketing and sales. Typically, these two departments regard one another with wary respect at best, and outright hostility at worst. (Think oil and water, not peanut butter and jelly.) But here’s the thing: in order for your business to achieve maximum success, it’s vital for these two teams to work together.

Most businesses are only focused on their bottom line: how many sales did we win in the last month/quarter/year? The bottom line is only part of the story –and it doesn’t tell you what you need to do to improve your sales.

For a more complete picture, focus on the numbers that tell you how well your sales and marketing teams are working together.

Measuring the Right Sales and Marketing Data

There are a lot of things that sales and marketing teams need to consider, from the top of the sales funnel all the way to the sale itself. Measuring your results is only part of it: it’s just as important that you track and analyze other factors for even better overall results.

Here are some examples of additional metrics to track:

  • Increase in site traffic to targeted content/locations
  • New contacts
  • Existing prospect engagement

Website Traffic

Website traffic is one good indicator of whether your marketing team is driving awareness. The marketing team should use this metric to respond to visitor behavior on your site and apply that to help increase the number of leads for your sales team.

If you’re lucky enough to see an increase in traffic, take a closer look at where it’s coming from. Are you following user data to see where visitors land on your site and where they go next? Are they going to the pages you want them to go to?

Look at the numbers of visitors, pages per visit, total page views, visit duration, and bounce rate. This will give you an ideas of how your site is doing overall. It will also tell you what visitors are looking at now, and how long they’re looking at it. This information is helpful for both sales and marketing because it helps them figure out what messaging is resonating with visitors and prospects.

Studying traffic patterns will help you make the changes needed to drive visitors to the most important places on your site.

If you’re just starting out using inbound marketing tactics, compare numbers month-over-month and look for trends and positive changes in your visitors’ behaviors. More visitor engagement means you’ll soon see an uptick in sales.

New Contacts

Measuring your new contact behavior is also a great way to see where marketing and sales needs to close the gap. For instance, what is the number of new contacts who have unsubscribed from your email marketing list? A low unsubscribe percentage (as in no more than one percent) is a good indication that the contacts you’re acquiring are a good match for your products/services. It also means marketing is doing a good job of reaching the right people with the right messaging.

If you’re using HubSpot, run at least two contacts reports: one on lifecycle stage, to see how many of your new contacts move into each stage over time, and one based on personas to see which personas are growing over time in your contacts and which are lagging.

The lifecycle stage report will give you a clear picture of two things: how many contacts are going all the way through the buyer’s journey and how long it’s taking them to do so. If you notice that a considerable number of people are jumping ship at a certain stage, work with the marketing department to shore that up— create more engaging content, write up a valuable case study, or increase the points of contact within that stage.

As for the length of the buyer’s journey, if you notice that certain stages take longer than others, look at the offerings within that stage. Is there any way to streamline your process to move buyers through the stages a little faster? The sales team should have some input for the most delicate way to move everyone along without causing them to disengage.

Existing Prospect Engagement

Now back to that unsubscribe rate we mentioned earlier. If you’re measuring how many new contacts unsubscribe, you’ll have a clear picture of another aspect of customer engagement— specifically, those who are NOT engaged! (Engaged prospects don’t unsubscribe.) So if your contacts are the right kind of contacts—they match your ideal customer profile—they shouldn’t be unsubscribing.

Here are a few more things you should be tracking (with some instructions provided) when it comes to your prospect engagement:

  • Engagement over time. Try different times to send emails and see which times see more open rates. This trial and error method is worth the time investment if it results in a higher rate of emails opened overall.
  • Look at your unsubscribe rate.
  • Track how long people actually spend reading your emails. Doing so can help you shorten or lengthen your email messages, depending on how deeply engaged your prospects are.

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