Event Recap: Sales & Marketing Alignment – How People, Process, and Technology Drive Success

October 10, 2018 By
By Oct 10, 2018Event Recaps

On October 4, 2018, ANA BMA presented a mini-conference featuring 3 fantastic speakers on Sales & Marketing Alignment.

Mary Pat Donnellon, CMO, CallRail
Alignment – from Conflict to Collaboration

Mary Pat’s previous experience as CMO of Blackbaud taught her valuable lessons in aligning sales and marketing. So much so that she and her sales counterpart practically mastered the art, and science, of alignment. In 2016-2017, Blackbaud achieved increases in performance at every stage of the funnel. They hit their aggressive sales goals every single month, and it wasn’t a coincidence. While we often hear about People, Process and Technology, Mary Pat has a slightly different spin:

Trust was the glue that brought sales and marketing together when discussing Process and Technology. And Data in the form of mutually agreed upon metrics and KPIs was the key to shared goals and accountability. (As an aside, it was interesting that Sales Development Representatives worked for Marketing. Many organizations struggle with where to place this group. The obvious benefit is that SDRs are on the front line for not just converting leads to opportunities, but also to provide feedback to marketing on the quality of leads that Marketing provides!)

For Mary Pat and Blackbaud, conversations became much more productive, and not emotional, when they were data-driven. Mary Pat and Blackbaud’s VP of sales used their Waterfall Report as “One source of the truth for consistent data for decision making and accountability, to create annual and monthly lead goals and to use in monthly meetings with Marketing and Sales to review and help each other achieve mutual goals”.

Her advice:

Marketers: Be accountable beyond your comfort level. Own your numbers!
Sales: A strong partnership with marketing is one of the best investments you can make!

Download Mary Pat’s presentation here

Jennifer Davis, Head of Marketing for Digital Training and Certification for Amazon AWS – Aligning sales and marketing for Fun and Profit!

Why go into a sales and marketing alignment initiative as a battle when there is fun to be had! Great attitude.

Jennifer began with some compelling stats:

  • 90% of marketers say that sales and marketing misalignment interferes with their success
  • Companies that reported high alignment had revenue growth of 32% versus a 7% year over year decline from companies without alignment
  • Well-aligned companies enjoyed 36% higher customer retention rates
  • B2B companies who were aligned grew revenue 24% faster and profits 27% faster over three years

She notes that misalignment is a delicate and diplomatic term for what really is occurring in some organizations.  Where the distrust, miscommunication, fear, and blame have swelled to the point where teamwork is impossible, feelings and reputations have been damaged and there is outright sabotage or the creation of shadow organizations begin to emerge.  Shadow organizations are when sales starts to do thing in the market charter, or marketing does things in the sales charter, in a “hidden factory” because they aren’t getting what they need or feeling heard.  Imagine wasting time and money doing things twice or poorly, or not at all.  That is where some of our organizations are today.

Jennifer followed a process that started with Goals, then used combination of Leadership, Empathy, Tools and Reality to get Sales and Marketing aligned

Leaders need to take charge to make sure everyone is on the same page as far as Goals. First, define what they are, then decide who is responsible for each. Just as on a soccer team, the goal to score points and defend against them, but each position player has a defined role and assignment that must be adhered to in order to achieve those “goals”.

As to empathy, the goal of any high-performing team, especially matrix or cross-functional teams, is to create positive dependencies between the team mates. Make sales and marketing are on the same page from the get-go. When you hire a new sales person or marketing person give them a “smarketing” on-boarding curriculum that walks them through the common tools and processes and the people in the two groups.  And continue with a continuous cross-functional communications cadence.

When thinking about Goals, simply get together and document what the goals are along with specific action items and metrics that will get you there:


You can see an actual example in Jennifer’s presentation in the link below.

To the concept of Reality, instead of thinking of sales and marketing being on opposite ends of a line, think of them as on the same side of a square. Then it’s is easier to see the common ground and the need to work together.  Facing reality is like getting on the same side of the table and looking at the shared problem together. In the face of aggressive competition, concerning industry trends or disruptive technologies, we can face our own shared execution and results.

Both Sales and Marketing will have a set of Tools – of technologies – that help them do their jobs. These include CRM, Marketing Automation, Sales Tools and many more in the MarTech stack. But underlying all of these systems, metrics, and conversations is a common set of vocabulary.  What constitutes a lead, or more specifically a marketing qualified lead?  Or sales qualified lead?  What is an opportunity?  When is a deal officially lost?  What do the sales stages mean, if anything?  How are you accounting for the fact that today’s sales funnel isn’t a funnel, it’s a pinball machine?

When all of these pieces are working together, you have a better chance of capturing the opportunity for growth and profit, and you’ll have a lot more fun doing it. And also see that these connected concept become less of connected shapes, but more of a Venn diagram with each section touching the others and working in concert to deliver the results you want!

Download Jennifer’s presentation here

Josiah Deegan, Director of Sales Development, Tori Levine, Digital Marketing Manager at Relus Cloud along with Eric Martin, Director of Marketing Programs at SalesLoft


Veteran Marketers could learn quite a bit from these young professionals at a young company. For example, the question about where SDRs should report was almost lost on this team, “we all just work together!”.

When Josiah started out, there was not a marketing function and every salesperson was misaligned with each other. Each rep had different processes and tools for selling. Although salesforce.com was the central database and gold standard of Accounts and Contacts, and Marketo orchestrated marketing campaigns, still things were disconnected. Someone would send emails out of Marketo. One sales rep would send them out of sfdc. And each rep sent different messaging with different branding.

Enter Tori and Marketing to save the day! Tori quickly established messaging and branding. She worked with sales to see what processes worked and what didn’t along the say. But a pivotal moment came when Relus introduced SalesLoft. SalesLoft brought all the disparate technologies and processes together in one platform that allowed Sales and Marketing to scale and work better together – and more effectively.

A good example is the struggle a rep goes through to determine how to start each day. Whom do you call first and what do you say? This platform aggregated engagement analysis and provided a priority list and recommended touchpoints. SalesLoft also seamlessly provides visibility into every campaign so marketing can analyze how effective the emails and call scripts are. The integration with sfdc provides a whole new outlet for data, analytics, and reporting.

Whether you an SDR or a Strategic Field Rep, your main job is to stay in front of customers. Getting bogged down in prioritizing lists of data or spending hours creating clever emails is not only NOT your job, it detracts from building pipeline. Marketing at Relus took the initiative to develop the creative and messaging that reps could use in any sales situation. Then they invested in a platform that could be the rep’s dashboard to help them plan their day tactically and strategically.

Note that whether we talk about People, Process or Technology, you can’t talk about one with the other. For Relus, they found a technology that solved almost all of their problems, but they used teamwork to develop processes to perfect the outcome.