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How to align B2B sales and marketing teams

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How to align B2B sales and marketing teams

“Misalignment between marketing and sales teams is a trillion-dollar problem for B2B revenue teams,” said Julianne Thompson, director of sales development at revenue acceleration platform Drift, in a recent webinar. “There are a few key factors that led to this divide: sales reps not knowing how to service the appropriate content in sales deals, a lack of tracking for that content’s effectiveness, and wasted time on unproductive prospecting.”

She added, “While marketing and sales funnels are becoming more complex, it’s common that these two teams have trouble seeing eye to eye.”

Marketing teams have traditionally been accountable for leads and sales teams are commonly accountable for revenue. But, with such distinct divides in focus, this can often lead to discrepancies in planning and execution.

To help address this issue, Thompson and Meghan Flannery of Drift provided some tactics about how to align these two teams and, in turn, meet brand revenue goals.

Create shared goals

“We are now [living] in the ‘revenue era,’ where digital is no longer just a channel — it’s your entire brand experience,” said Thompson. “Marketing and sales now share the same goals. They’re both focused on driving revenue and improving the customer experience.”

Source: Julianne Thompson

Ongoing digital transformation moved brands from the low-tech brand era to the digital assimilation of the demand generation era. Brand success became more dependent on leads, which eventually led to a stark division between sales and marketing teams.

Now, accelerated transformation due to new technologies and changing customer expectations — spurred on by the 2020 pandemic — have brought these teams together once again.


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“Buyers have come to expect real-time marketing and sales engagements,” Thompson said. “With this, the teams are aligned around the same goal, which is revenue.”

To effectively quantify these revenue targets, marketers and salespeople should align on specific KPIs. Here are some options Thompson and Flannery recommend:

  • Scheduled or held conversations.
  • Generated interest.
  • Annual recurring revenue.
  • Upsells and expansion.

Collaborate on strategy and planning

Once KPIs and revenue generation goals are set, sales and marketing teams can begin collaborating on deployment strategies. Flannery highlighted what her organization does to keep these teams aligned: “We have weekly meetings for the marketing team, SDR team, AE team, and partner team. These are the four teams that are mapped to the revenue goal, which are broken down by segments.”

marketing and sales collaboration plan
Source: Meghan Flannery

Each of these vital teams reports on growth and compares its performance with the other groups. This constant communication and collaboration helps ensure processes are working together and address any potential discrepancies.

Aside from collaboration and planning, Flannery recommends marketers and salespeople break down tactics for each segment using target accounts and ABM accounts, or one-to-many targeting and one-to-one targeting. This division of responsibilities plays to each group’s strengths and can help increase customer engagement.

sales and marketing outreach segments
Source: Meghan Flannery

Implement tools that bridge the marketing and sales gaps

30% of all sales activities can be automated, according to data from McKinsey. Therefore, marketing and sales teams would be wise to take advantage of the alignment and engagement solutions they offer.

“What we’re trying to do is understand how we can automate certain parts of the process without taking anything away from the personalization,” said Thompson.

Her team uses sales engagement technologies to deploy persona-based automation that can perform tasks such as enrolling target audiences for events or sending personalized messages. These solutions can help marketing and sales teams improve outreach efforts.

On the marketing side, Flannery recommends marketers employ marketing technologies — such as ABM platforms, lead scoring software, or predictive modeling — to help pass better leads to their sales teams. These offer deeper, more actionable insights for sales teams.

Brands should also make sure each team adheres to designated outcomes to prevent arguments over tools, according to Flannery: “We spend a lot of time to make sure that we have the same end goal so there’s no fighting over what tech is used.”

As sales and marketing learn to trust each other in their respective processes, there will most likely be fewer conflicts. And this trust, when cultivated over time, can help build successful campaigns.

Watch this webinar presentation at Digital Marketing Depot.


About The Author

4 ways to build a successful ABM strategy

Corey Patterson is an Editor for MarTech and Search Engine Land. With a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism, he covers SEO and PPC to help marketers improve their campaigns.


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MARKETING

Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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Salesforce rolls out new edition of Marketing Cloud for small businesses

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Salesforce summer 2023 release: The business executive's guide

Today Salesforce announced Marketing Cloud Growth, an edition of Marketing Cloud designed specifically for small businesses.

With help from AI, this edition makes it easy for marketers to segment audiences, create and execute email campaigns from text to image, optimize campaign performance and create unified customer profiles. It also has a prompt builder that can store and manage known reliable prompts for organizations.

Dig deeper: 70% of SMB marketers willing to pay more for tools with AI or automation

Salesforce developed the new edition by looking at the most common use cases for which small businesses frequenty don’t have the people or resources. This includes things like personalizing campaigns and advanced testing.

The company is also letting small businesses (those with fewer than 200 employees) that have Sales or Service Enterprise Edition “get started with Data Cloud at no cost.” Marketing Cloud Growth will initially be available in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to roll out to Europe, the Middle East and Asia by the end of the year.

Why we care. First of all, small businesses need all the help they can get. This creates an opportunity to start using AI within a centralized marketing workflow rather than importing content from independent generative AI tools. Perhaps it’s also a sign of Salesforce moving to compete with platforms (can we say HubSpot?) that more overtly court SMB clients.

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