In sales organizations, alignment matters. Respondents to our 2019 World-Class Sales Practices Study noted that organizational misalignment as one of the top three challenges derailing sales leaders. On the flip side, 96% of world-class organizations agreed that their company effectively aligned sales operations, management and enablement functions to drive results.
One common cause of misalignment is the traditional siloed approach, which leads to fragmented responsibility: while the marketing team handles awareness and often lead generation, sellers guide customers through the purchase journey and customer success manages service and other post-sales activities. That fragmentation leads to a disjointed customer experience, where multiple, disparate approaches can result in mixed messages, unmet customer expectations and ultimately disappointment.
But when teams align together and match their processes to the buyer’s journey, from awareness to purchase to implementation and usage, sales organizations make the customer experience seamless. That creates a big advantage, since organizations with tight alignment between their sales processes and their customers’ path have higher win rates (+17.9%) and quota attainment (+11.8%) than those that take an informal approach to alignment.
What is the glue that holds these processes in alignment? Sales operations.
Alignment Between Sales Operations and Marketing
In the 2nd Annual Sales Operations & Technology Report, the majority of organizations (70.2%) reported that their sales operations function also supports marketing. Sales operations can and should fuel a number of pre-sale activities, including lead generation, data analysis and management and administration of the marketing automation platform and its integration with the CRM. Aligning these functions prevents wasting time on duplicated efforts and ensures a smooth experience for customers. It also helps to implement and integrate new tools and ensures that the sales tech stack captures the right information.It also allows the marketing team to more accurately see how their efforts grow the pipeline, as well as identify the most effective pre-sale activities.
Without sales-marketing alignment, departments may not agree on how to define a lead or how to nurture those leads. For example, even though all teams share the common goal of winning more business, they may take different approaches to opportunity planning. As a result, frontline sellers may stall out by switching from one approach to another or may spend time on ineffective or duplicative activities that don’t move the deal forward.
Alignment Between Sales Operations and Customer Success
Most organizations (61.9%) that participated in the 2nd Annual Sales Operations & Technology Report noted that their sales operations function also supports their customer experience strategy. Specifically, sales operations contributes to managing service data, collecting and overseeing data about customer satisfaction and managing technology platforms and process automation. Aligning these functions is critical because for the average sales organization, 70% of revenues come from existing customers.
But most organizations find it easier to simply renew business than to thoughtfully expand it, especially when the sales and post-sale functions are out of sync. When a sales organization’s sales and customer success teams don’t collaborate to share information, they don’t discover—much less take—the steps necessary to deepen customer relationships. A disconnect also makes it harder for customer success to share information about the features that resonate most and least with buyers. That leaves marketing in the dark about what they should highlight in awareness campaigns, what customers they should target for case studies and success stories and how they should prioritize enhancements for future product and service iterations.
Create Alignment across Your Company With Our Sales Operations Best Practices
Want to improve your alignment, and therefore your quota attainment and win rates? Download the 2nd Annual Sales Operations & Technology Report to learn about the sales operations best practices that can help you drive results.