How ‘ROA’ can be the metric that brings marketing and sales closer
Close collaboration between marketing and sales is critical for an effective B2B business, and it can be measured by considering ‘return on alignment’
B2B marketers will always need to maintain a close relationship with their sales colleagues. But to truly qualify successful campaigns, both departments must be fully aligned and internally measured as one single growth team.
That is the perspective of Selling Simplified’s director of marketing, Anola Balthazar, who addressed the topic in a session at the Festival of Marketing titled ‘Return on Alignment (ROA): the metric that could measure the value of collaboration between marketing and sales’.
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1. Get your sales and marketing leaders on board
This change must be driven by leaders. They need to understand why and how alignment contributes to successful business operations. To agree on a single strategy, leadership buy-in is critical. Leaders should encourage teams to prioritise together, emphasising the positive impact that intentional alignment can have on the rest of the business.
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“When the two departments are aligned, we remove silos and empower marketers to deliver highly qualified leads to the sales reps to convert. It positions marketers as very valuable assets for the sales team,” said Balthazar.
Selling Simplified recently embarked on a successful strategic project to align its marketing and sales teams more closely. This endeavour directly contributed to increased revenue and company growth, said Balthazar. She urged other companies to follow suit, adding that ROA should exist alongside established campaign metrics, such as return on investment (ROI) and return on ad spend (ROAS).
She outlined four steps that businesses should follow to achieve high ROA:
Selling Simplified's Anola Balthazar on taking time to reflect
2. Create thorough go-to-market packs
Gather information from current marketing campaigns and work with the sales team to explain how leads ended up in their pipeline. How did someone engage with the brand, and how were they nurtured? What content did they engage with? This information will enable the sales team to tailor their pitches to educated leads. Without context, the sales approach may mirror cold calling.
3. Establish a formal feedback loop
Feedback will help you understand what’s working and what needs adjustment so you can perform better together. With multiple campaigns running simultaneously, it’s important to be able to slow down and dedicate time to reflect.
Take time to review campaign strategies and results with the sales team so you know what worked and why. Understand the quality of the leads that were generated. Balthazar suggests examining three or four leads from one campaign to analyse when they first engaged with you, the journey they took, and whether or not they converted.
4. Hold people accountable
Set quarterly goals for the marketing and sales teams and regularly revisit and review those goals. Selling Simplified created performance templates for this process. In the marketing template, marketers must specify what they are going to put in place to align with and work collaboratively with sales. The same question is asked of sales, where the team must outline a plan to facilitate alignment with their marketing counterparts. This encourages both teams to think proactively about collaboration. Balthazar said that, in any business where leads are passed from marketing to sales, it is critical that the two departments work as one team. “We are one brand, so we want things to be smooth and unified to make overall campaign measurement more effective.”
Emphasising alignment by tracking ROA will not only help drive team unity but will ultimately aid in driving profit. ■