MarketingSales & CRM

What role should CEOs play in driving sales & marketing performance?

By August 18, 2021September 8th, 2021No Comments

What’s sales and marketing got to do with the CEO?

Surely it’s CMO territory?

You don’t want to be stepping on their toes now do you…

Regardless of whether you think sales & marketing is something you should play a role in, there’s definitely a place for you in the process.

The truth is, in a lot of larger organizations, there can be friction between different departments. A rivalry that can slow growth and performance.

Company’s need revenue. It’s a fact.

Without it they go under. 

We all know sales & marketing is what drives revenue either up or down.

So why don’t we make aligning the two more of a priority?

The truth is, it’s down to how our predecessors and previous CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs ran their organizations.

With sales in one room and marketing in another.

We automatically slide into this company conformity where the two are completely separate because “that’s how it’s always been done”.

What if we flipped the switch and did things differently?

Not only could you reduce the amount of time spent in meetings but you could also increase the revenue your company makes.

At Lifestyle Perfected we’ve made a conscious effort to reduce meetings so we can give our team members the space they need to get into their zones of genius.

We combined sales and marketing meetings and changed the name to ‘Revenue Meeting’.

We now run meetings where the marketing team, sales team, the analytics team, and myself are present so everyone knows what’s going on in all the areas that drive revenue.

The marketing guys know how many calls are getting booked and the sales guys know what initiatives the marketing guys are running and it’s all reflected on detailed data interfaces so I have the data I need to make key decisions.

Everyone’s a winner baby!

The result?

We’ve seen revenue increase and meeting durations decrease.

It’s magical.

So today what I want to share with you is the process in which you can achieve the same and align your sales and marketing departments to elevate growth and impact.

Believe me, alignment is worth the effort.

Today we’re going to cover:

  1. The data around aligned and misaligned sales & marketing teams. 
  2. Your role as CEO in sales and marketing. 
  3. The impact of an aligned sales and marketing department. 
  4. The alignment process in action and the real life outcome achieved. 
  5. Feelings and beliefs around sales and marketing. 
  6. Action steps to take if you want a more aligned revenue department. 

Data

Before we dive into sales and marketing and how aligning it can have a monstrous impact on your company's growth, let’s look at the data around aligned and misaligned sales and marketing initiatives.

  1. The lack of alignment between sales and marketing is failing businesses across the globe. In fact, it’s costing businesses globally $1 trillion.
  2. Failure to align sales and marketing teams is leading to wasted budget and resources as up to 60-70% of B2B content is not being used and close to 75% of marketing leads never convert into a sale.
  3. According to their CMO's Agenda report, Aberdeen Group found that by successfully aligning sales and marketing, you can:
    1. Generate 32% higher revenue
    2. Retain 36% more customers
    3. Achieve 38% higher win rates

This data shows us a misalignment between sales and marketing is a common issue and is one of the (if not the #1) contributors to businesses failing.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom because today we’re going to be working on how you can achieve sales and marketing alignment and some of the metrics above like a 32% increase in revenue.

Your Role In Sales & Marketing

As the CEO your primary role is decision making.

Analyzing the data and using it to influence the individual areas of your company so it continues to move towards your Massive Transformative Purpose.

Which is why contributing to the sales and marketing process is so important.

That being said, a lot of CEOs feel uncomfortable with that and aren’t quite sure what they should even be doing when it comes to sales and marketing.

  • Signpost
    • This feeling is a signpost you should be aware of. 
    • Just because something is uncomfortable doesn’t mean it should be avoided. In this case, getting involved in the sales and marketing process and supporting them is paramount for company success as you’ll soon learn.
    • Try shifting the belief of “I don’t know what I should be doing” to “How can I support the revenue department”.

Allow me to share a few different ways you can contribute to achieving a more aligned sales and marketing process.

Assess the alignment

A lack of communication between departments who should be working closely together can have a big impact on revenue. You can experience a drop in leads, conversions and close rates.

As the CEO you can step in and ask the sales team to provide input on how to develop a more on brand, impactful marketing message.

By also having access to the sales data you can allocate marketing budget to channels that provide the most qualified leads so the budget is better optimized.

If you notice a serious misalignment between departments, conducting workshops with both departments can help improve team cohesion and the culture within each department.

Understanding what you sell

Some ‘hired in’ CEOs deem their responsibilities a little more important than reading a product description. 

However, a CEO who understands what it is the company is offering is better in-tune with where the marketing may be falling short.

You can then ensure there’s more focus on refining the product and ensuring the marketing message reflects that.

  • Signpost 
    • Some CEOs can feel uncomfortable contributing to specific departments. They can be concerned they’re stepping on people’s toes and micromanaging.
    • Instead of describing yourself as a micromanager and adopting the belief you’re annoying people, instead choose to adopt the belief of “We’re an aligned team working towards a combined company purpose and everyone’s input is relevant”.

Push market research

In most companies, winning more sales starts with the messaging.

Get that aligned and you’re cooking on gas. 

As a company leader you can allocate more time, money and resources to market research, strategic innovation and customer feedback and achieve market leader status.

Build great teams

If you’ve been here for a while you may have received our newsletter on hiring and retention.

The performance of a company and specifically a department is greatly impacted by the people in it.

By putting the right people in the right seats you set yourselves up for success.

If your sales & marketing departments aren’t aligned, take time to look at the team members within those teams and whether they’re a good fit.

Set KPIs

Like I mentioned before, at Lifestyle Perfected we keep a finger on the data within our company.

Everything from leads, conversions, open rates, client retention… you name it, we monitor it.

By defining clear goals, metrics and KPIs for your sales & marketing initiative you can essentially merge the two departments by holding them accountable to a specific goal.

The specific goal being REVENUE

Use the data to influence their decisions and ensure both departments have access to it.

The Impact Of Aligned Sales & Marketing Departments

We’ve touched on this briefly in the data section but I think it’s important we take a closer look at the impact aligning these two departments can have both on revenue and on the company as a whole

Below are the common problems sales and marketing alignment can solve.

Simplified Workflows

Aligned sales and marketing not only unifies leadership and communication, it simplifies workflows.

Instead of sales logging in one dashboard and marketing logging in another, you can combine the two simplifying the management and analysis of the entire revenue generating process.

Shorten the sales cycle

A natural progression has seen buyers shifting the way they buy from service or product providers.

They’re more resistant to outbound emails and calls and tend to ignore them so sales neds to meet the customer where they’re at.

By combining sales and marketing they can work closely together to develop effective content marketing, segmentation, brand awareness, nurturing, engagement, conversations and customer support.

A Unified Voice & Elevated Culture

Unifying sales and marketing can increase both organization performance and morale. 

By giving sales and marketing team members a voice so they can contribute to the overlying revenue strategy can help develop a sense of purpose and an increased commitment to the desired outcome… More money.

A Single Customer Journey

Starting from the awareness stage at the top of the customer journey’s funnel, right down through to the brand loyalty stage – everything should be tied together as an experience. 

Such connectivity will allow you and your team to track a prospect across the entire funnel.

The Components Of Sales & Marketing Alignment

In order to align sales and marketing they need to sync up. I’m talking about goals, roles, systems and technology.

I will be going further into the action steps you can take to actively work on this alignment but this section is going to provide an overview of the areas within your company and these departments that need to be merged for full alignment.

Aligning Goals

Marketers look at metrics and focus on increasing brand recognition, as well as scoring and nurturing leads for the long haul. 

Salespeople, on the other hand, are looking to meet quotas, help solve problems for prospects, or be the personal touch that someone is looking for. 

Align the sales goals with the marketing project so the whole process is more effective.

What are the numbers that need to be hit by marketing to give sales the prospects they need to hit their quota.

Aligning Roles

Sales worries about meeting quarterly goals, while marketing believes they are the only ones thinking strategically. 

Sales wonders why they have to generate their own leads, while marketing complains that sales ignores everything marketing generates, and so on. 

Coming to a common understanding of roles can help to remedy these inconsistencies.

Aligning Systems

For maximum benefits, marketing must ensure the methodology, process, and terminology used to support their efforts in nurturing and starting conversations is in alignment and collaboration with sales. 

Aligning the Funnel

When it comes to sales and marketing, knowing who you want to sell your product or service to is critical. Not clarifying who the ideal customer is can often lead to ineffective strategies and a disconnect between your teams.

Sales may think that they want to go after anyone with money, whereas marketing might have a more targeted and systematic approach to their ideal customer.

This starts with deciding and defining one clear avatar of who it is you want to market and sell to.

Prospects are less likely to respond positively to cold calls or sales emails, if they’ve never heard of you.

What successful sales and marketing teams do differently is take a “marketing first” approach. This means that marketers find (or target) potential customers who have a specific problem and show them how it can be solved.

It starts with marketing who warm up and nurture new leads by sharing information on the product and selling the features and the benefits.

Then, when the lead is fully informed and ready to make a decision, the sales team can step in to reinforce what the marketing team has said and close the deal.

Below is an image showing the ‘new’ funnel structure compared to the old way of doing sales & marketing.

Case Study

Let’s look at this alignment process in action and the real life outcomes experienced by a company who achieved successful sales & marketing alignment.

We’re going to look at SuperOffice, an award winning CRM company.

Prior to working towards an aligned sales and marketing team their sales reps were unhappy with the standard of sale-ready leads coming in and marketing were fed up with the lack of follow up sales were doing with the leads they had.

It was a lose lose situation.

The company decided to change Sales & Marketing to ‘Sales💖Marketing’ and launched the company theme of ‘Marketing as a shared responsibility’.

They shifted focus to brand awareness and hired a social selling expert who taught them about selling with social media and together they put together a plan and strategy to be more active on social media in a bid to get more clients.

Sales and marketing became more aligned and now hold regular meetings to discuss content, marketing campaigns, digital activities and goals. Things like; how to target prospects, build relationships and start conversations.

Since starting this process they have seen:

  • An increase in business leads by 168%
  • An increase in website visits by 61%
  • An increase in social media impressions from 1000 a month to 50,000.
  • Within the first 2 years they experienced a 24 % increase in revenue.

Proof that alignment is worth the effort.

Feelings & Beliefs

With that being said, let’s work on your alignment around sales & marketing so you can carry it forward into your company.

UNDESIRED FEELINGS

  • Demotivated
  • Defeated
  • Ineffective
  • Misaligned
  • Friction

UNDESIRED BELIEFS

  • The lack alignment between sales and marketing demotivates the team
  • There is a defeated culture within sales and marketing
  • Our revenue goals are impossible to reach and we feel ineffective
  • Our goals are misaligned with our purpose
  • Constant disagreements between sales & marketing causes friction

Now let’s look at the feelings and beliefs you’d like to embody.

DESIRED FEELINGS

  • Empowered
  • Successful
  • Effective
  • Aligned
  • Streamlined

DESIRED BELIEFS

  • We empowered as a team to reach our revenue goals
  • We successfully hit KPIs on a monthly basis
  • As a company we are effective at producing ready to buy leads
  • Sales & marketing departments are aligned with one another
  • Our marketing process is streamlined and supports sales in hitting their numbers

Action Steps For Achieving An Aligned Revenue Department

ACTION STEP 1] Identify the roadblocks to alignment

Sales and marketing alignment is not possible until you identify (and correct) major sources of misalignment.

There are three key variables that have the strongest influence on an organization’s misalignment: people, processes, and systems. 

Ask yourself these 4 simple questions to analyse alignment.

  1. How does marketing define success?
  2. How does sales define success?
  3. Do departments rely on different data and systems?
  4. Is there a breakdown in communication?

ACTION STEP 2] Align Leadership

True alignment starts at the top and trickles down.

It is therefore imperative for sales and marketing leaders to collaborate early and often and align around a shared set of objectives, methods, and metrics. 

Read this 4 part blog series on Sales & Marketing Leadership.

ACTION STEP 3] Align people & teams

Once you have achieved leadership alignment and alignment around objectives, methods, and metrics it’s time to align the team members.

This is probably the most challenging step as you have each individual personality type to navigate.

Ask yourself these 3 questions to get the ball rolling with aligning your team members.

  1. Do our team members genuinely enjoy working together.
  2. Is the overall company culture where I’d like it to be?
  3. How can I align team members and departments to the overall company purpose?

Once you’ve asked yourself those 3 questions you’ll have a better understanding on what needs to be addressed first.

Do you need to address your hiring process to ensure you have better aligned team members or does company culture as a whole need addressing?

ACTION STEP 4] Align Systems

Your people are smart and creative so don’t forget to equip them with the right tools and data to be effective in today's fast-moving culture.

Make sure your marketing team is equipped with the most effective and important data. Analysing website views may not be the best use of their time.

It’s also important we ensure the data is easily digested and understood. Consider using a KPI and metric platform to ensure this happens.

Here is an overview of different analytics platforms you can choose from.

I’ve also included an image below that shows the types of software companies with the best sales and marketing alignment are using.

One of our CEO clients Catherine Deane, CEO of Catherine Deane had this to say about her experience working with Lifestyle perfected after her company beat it’s $290,000 monthly revenue targets during covid.

“Lifestyle Perfected Align, Automate, Achieve methodology has enabled our company to do in 1 month what we hadn't been able to do in 10 years of business.”

If you’d like a complimentary consultation on your sales and marketing alignment or another area of business to elevate the alignment within your company, reply to this email or alternatively, you can see our programs for CEOs and for teams here. 

We’re also excited to invite you to apply to CEO Circle. A group for CEOs to elevate emotional intelligence, increase impact and legacy wealth. If you are  CEO and/or a founder with $1 million or more in revenue or assets apply here. 

Sending you love,

Nadav

& the Lifestyle Perfected team