A sales and marketing relationship designed to supercharge your growth

Lottie O'Donoghue B2B Branding, B2B Strategy, Customer Experience, Industrial, Professional Services, Technology

In part one of this article, we highlighted the fractured nature of the two key functions sat at the heart of an organisation’s growth; sales and marketing.

In this second part, we explore a series of practical steps designed to help create closer alignment between the two functions.


Depending on the size of your organisation, the resources within sales and marketing will vary, along with the remit of both teams. Similarly, the scope and maturity of these two functions will also differ. Some organisations have clearly defined roles and processes, but some don’t. This means the answer to where you should collaborate will vary. There are, however, a number of aspects these two functions should always collaborate on:

Annual campaign planning

Typically, marketing is planned annually, and then broken down into constituent parts comprising quarterly spikes of activity along with other smaller campaigns for seasonal and other relevant events. Sharing these activities in one central resource such as a campaign activity calendar provides both functions with visibility of when interest will peak and therefore how best to resource the team around it.

Campaign focus

For all planned campaigns, having a simple one-page synopsis of the focus and objectives for the campaign provides sales and marketing with a quick point of reference for what activity is running at any given moment. This should also cover the objective and resulting conversion for that activity – be it brand building or sales activation.

Customer strategy

Customer segmentation.

Having a clearly defined customer segmentation that is developed in collaboration with sales and marketing ensures clarity around areas such as the make-up of the buying unit and therefore resulting roles within a target account. Sometimes, segmentation models are developed by marketing, but aren’t a true reflection of the people buying. So, it’s vital this is created and agreed by both functions.

Customer journey and handoff to sales

Having a customer journey map that looks at customers from a macro perspective helps unite different functions within the business around a shared set of goals. A journey map provides detailed insight into customer pain points (informed by sales), and the content, messaging and MarTech that helps to resolve these challenges to huge people towards conversion. It should also identify the role of data. From being captured at various touchpoints through to data being used to personalise the experience someone has with any marketing or sales activity.

Customer data and insight

Data is extremely powerful when used appropriately however it often sits in siloes and isn’t connected, meaning it’s not used to its full potential. Ensuring marketing and sales share data, then building it into tools such as a customer journey map, suddenly makes data more meaningful and useful.

Other marketing activity and sales enablement

A key piece of marketing activity that combines both sales and marketing is events. As with all activity, events are most powerful when there is clear alignment between sales and marketing — particularly in relation to the data gained from the events themselves. Having a clear contact strategy and sharing data through a CRM and/or CDP will ensure a joined up approach by sales and marketing for event attendees, as well as insight into areas such as the discussions between prospects and company representatives at the event.

KPIs and metrics

The final area we propose aligning on is measurement. Specifically, metrics and KPIs aligned to different funnel stages. Understanding how each stage of the sales funnel is going to be measured — and what your key indicators of success are — are critical. It’s also important to understand aspects such as the quality of data within each stage. Whilst hitting MQL targets might be great, it’s not great if the overall quality of each MQL isn’t great. It might be the case that this is down to how leads are qualified, however, until sales speak to a lead, there isn’t always an obvious understanding of the likelihood of the overall quality of the lead and whether it will convert or not. So, it’s often easier said than done.

This list provides a lot to think about, however we’re confident these are some of the key areas to collaborate on, and if you get them right, should have a significant effect on upping the alignment between Sales and Marketing from the current 16%.

ABM targeting lists

Building a successful account-based programme is only ever going to be successful when sales and marketing are aligned. While various intent platforms and media networks can provide lists of buyers through data such as historical search, understanding what those buyers are thinking and feeling — and therefore how best to communicate with them — comes from the sales team.

As many know, a large proportion of ABM activity isn’t really ‘marketing’ in its truest sense, which is actually why ‘ABM’ as a term is fairly misleading. ABM is as much about the sales process as it is about marketing activity. In fact, while many charts that illustrate ABM show a clean handoff between marketing and sales, the reality is very different. Marketing’s role remains throughout the sales process, where prospects will likely continue to be exposed to advertising, while conducting various research throughout their conversations with the sales team. Equally, a good marketing function will provide sales with high-quality content and other sales enablement materials designed to help sales convert prospects into customers.

Case study creation to overcome issues

Where sales and marketing really create a total greater than the sum of its parts is through case study creation. The insight gained from the sales team, with the expertise for content creation within marketing, is a powerful combination. More than just conventional case study documents, materials such as interactive eBooks and videos that bring case studies to life with customer testimonials and interviews provide a compelling tool that works hard to get prospects over the line.

In summary

As with part one of this blog, we hope this provides you with some useful points that you can take away and apply with the aim of closing the gap between these two essential functions. And, ultimately, creating more joined-up marketing designed to seamlessly nurture prospects through the funnel to conversion. Communicate, share and adapt together.

Would you like support with planning your marketing? We’d love to help. You can read more about our skills here.

Lottie O’Donoghue

Lottie O’Donoghue

Lead Business Development Manager

A marketer through and through, before Velo, Lottie led the marketing function of a scale-up tech SaaS platform moving to the world of agencies to run Accenture’s ABM and marketing activity across EMEAR.  Now, Lottie leads the agency's teams for new business clients across brand strategy projects through to websites and campaign activation. She also owns Velo's own marketing, too.