How to Maintain Sales & Marketing Alignment in a Remote Setting

03/30/2020 5 min read Written by Corie Stark

Are you worried your marketing and sales team are misaligned? Is that anxiety doubled now that you’re working in a remote environment? Don’t fret!

By utilizing the right strategies, such as clear communication and goals, you’ll be able to enjoy a strong sales and marketing partnership. Keep reading for some tips and best practices.

ICYMI: Click here to read our other blogs about remote work.

Make Sure You Have Your Processes in Place

If you’re just beginning to align your sales and marketing teams, set up a few meetings over Zoom or another platform to discuss each departments’ processes and how they connect. Create a document where everyone involved can follow what’s been reviewed. Be sure to go over:

  • Your lifecycle stages and what each means. If you’re using HubSpot, there are default lifecycle stages, but it’s always helpful to revisit what every step entails for your business. For example, sales may know what “opportunity” means right off the bat, but marketing may be unsure.
  • What actions a user has to take to become an MQL or SQL. An MQL is a marketing qualified lead while an SQL is a sales qualified lead. While the definition doesn’t vary, the actions a person takes to become one differs from company to company. Your leads may become MQLs after opening a certain amount of emails and become SQLs after requesting a demo. Whatever the case, make sure everyone is aware.
  • What your buyer’s journey looks like. Again, this changes depending on your organization. It’s also loosely tied to your MQL and SQL qualifications, but you need to determine what happens in each stage of your specific buyer’s journey. In the awareness stage, your leads may be reading blogs or infographics before moving onto product webinars. Outlining each step keeps both teams focused on each department’s role. Additionally, it can help reveal any content gaps you may have and who should be responsible for researching, creating, and editing.
  • What your handoff procedure looks like. Perhaps the most vital process is to create a sound handoff to sales, which ensures consistency in lead delivery and quality. A handoff process considers the above-mentioned but also factors in how sales will be alerted of new SQLs. Determine whether you’ll automate that through a task in HubSpot, marketing will manually inform sales, or something else. 

Create a Service-Level-Agreement (SLA)

If you don’t have an SLA between sales and marketing yet, now is the time to make one. An SLA is a contract that establishes a set of deliverables one party, like marketing, has agreed to provide another, like sales. Essentially, your SLA will detail what each department needs to do to help jointly produce revenue for your business. After both teams have met to go over their roles and processes, creating one should be simple. It should include:

  • The individual goals of your marketing department and your sales department. For instance, marketing may need to provide a specified number of leads to sales each month, while sales would need to follow-up on those leads in a certain time frame.
  • The resources needed by both parties to be successful. This portion of your SLA should detail what each team may need from the different departments to hit their targets. That could be anything from weekly status reports or consulting on sales pitches.
  • Points of contact for each team. Appoint someone from each department to be in charge of their departments’ goals and write it down.
  • What needs to be done if your goals aren’t met. Think of this not as a punishment but rather an opportunity for future growth. If your monthly or quarterly goals aren’t satisfied, document how each team will move forward to make up any potential lost revenue.

With an SLA in place, sales and marketing can support and follow up on each other based on concrete, numerical goals. It helps eliminate the “blame game” by focusing on what needs to be done by each team member. For best results, document it, distribute it and store it somewhere where the right people can easily access it.

Integrate Your Marketing Automation with Your CRM

Sales spends most of their day in your company’s CRM, while marketers are glued to marketing automation software. As a result, it may be difficult to see what’s happening in each system and how it impacts the other department. If you have the flexibility to take on a large project, consider integrating your CRM system with your marketing automation. A CRM integration allows your two systems to function together seamlessly.

When changes are immediately syncing back and forth, both teams will have better insight into what the other is doing. This increases communication and understanding of what’s happening.
There are other benefits to an integration as well, like stronger marketing campaigns due to better data, and automated sales communication and lead prioritization.

But, an integration is a massive undertaking. If you can’t integrate your two systems, try using HubSpot’s CRM and Marketing automation platforms, rather than a combination of other solutions. They’re built to be more intuitive with each other, and both teams will experience a similar user interface. Likewise, you can toggle between marketing and sales if you have the correct permissions so you can see what each department is up to.

Meet Regularly

Being in an office awards you the chance to simply stop by someone’s desk to ask them questions. When you work remotely, it’s more important than ever to establish regular meetings on Zoom or Google Hangouts to stay connected. You should schedule several, including:

  • Onboarding meetings. For any new sales or marketing team member, plan an onboarding meeting to go over your SLA and get them up to speed.
  • Weekly or bi-weekly status meetings. To stay on top of each other's progress, have your points of contact meet weekly or bi-weekly to go over MQLs, SQLs, deals, opportunities, lead generation ideas, content needs, campaign concepts, and more.
  • Brainstorming sessions. Stalled for new marketing content? Not sure how to write a persuasive sales email? Conduct a brainstorming meeting to collaborate and find ways to propel both your teams forward. You’ll also benefit from knowing what content is needed and what is in the pipeline.

Create Multi-Touch Reports

You should already be building and sharing different reports with one other, like deal forecasts, team activity totals, website visits, and more. But one that may benefit your departments (and your business as a whole) is a multi-touch attribution report.

A multi-touch attribution report shows all the interactions a customer took in your buyer’s journey that led them to covert. In doing so, it provides credit to everyone involved, highlights what marketing and sales activities work the best, and offers areas of improvement.

Trust Each Other

Trusting your coworkers is more critical than ever in a remote setting. When you can’t see someone, you may automatically assume they’re binging Hulu and not working – which is not the case. Try your best to support your team members by never pointing the finger at each other if something goes awry. Instead, revisit what went wrong and work together so you can land that next deal.

In a similar vein, don’t micromanage each other, but do try and reach out over Slack or Zoom to check-in occasionally. Someone may need help with a sales enablement piece, while another needs advice on how to be engaging with a lead over the phone. Above all, support each other. Lean on one other and understand each department is working hard to generate revenue for your organization.

Get Guidance from an Expert

At Lynton, we’ve worked remotely for five years and have kept our sales and marketing teams aligned for the entire duration. It’s challenging, and everyone needs to work together, but with established processes, a strong SLA, and other resources like regular meetings in place, it’s achievable. If you’re still feeling concerned about maintaining critical alignment while working from home, reach out.

By: Corie Stark

After spending many years as a sports journalist, Corie switched to marketing in 2013. Her love of writing, talking to people, and keeping up with the industry enables her to use her skills for anything from social media to long-form blogging. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking with her dogs and making her cats chase the ever elusive red dot.

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