Layoffs, the SVB debacle, skyrocketing interest rates, and the threat of an impending recession. SaaS companies can’t seem to get a break these days. As the market prices in a correction, it seems the days of growth at all costs is over.
And business leaders MUST start thinking of growing efficiently. At UserGems, we believe the key to efficient growth is revenue alignment.
Revenue alignment allows sales and marketing to go after the same goal — revenue — even if they’re technically in different departments.
As sales processes become more complex, working with marketing at every stage of the funnel — not just when it’s time to bring in leads — helps to make your sales reps' lives easier. This is because by going after the same accounts and buyers together, sales and marketing teams can achieve higher conversion rates and more wins without breaking the bank.
Here are three tactics we use internally (and that we’ve seen work for our prospects and customers) to align our sales and marketing teams starting from day one.
Christian Kletzl, CEO & Co-founder of UserGems, and Trinity Nguyen, VP of Marketing at UserGems spoke about overcoming conflicting priorities and limited resources to build efficient growth channels to hit your revenue goals at SaaStr Annual 2022. Watch the video or keep reading for additional insights.
3 practical tips to align and drive efficient growth
Revenue teams in the B2B space know that there’s often friction between marketing and sales teams.
From sales, we hear, “I want more qualified leads from marketing, but marketing just gives me crappy leads.”
While marketing says, “We give you amazing leads as long as you know how to close them and follow up with them on time.”
Unfortunately, all this conflict pulls sales and marketing teams apart, making it harder for them to achieve efficient growth. And in the current market conditions, where teams have to hit ambitious revenue goals with fewer resources, aligning the two teams is more important than ever.
That being said, here’s how we maintain sales and marketing alignment at UserGems.
1. Go after the best buyers together
While it may seem like a no-brainer, getting your sales and marketing teams to pursue the same buyers is easier said than done. We’ve seen a lot of team alignment fall apart at this stage. But it’s not impossible to keep your teams on the same page as long as you follow these tips:
- Define your ideal customer profile together and stick to it
Going after the best buyers means your sales and marketing team work together to identify their ideal customer profile (ICP) and understand who to target. The criteria for your ICP should include segment, industry, geography, and what kind of tech stack they need to have to make their company a perfect fit for you.
Once your teams agree on an ICP, you can move on to the next step.
- Build a target accounts list that fit these criteria
A lot of companies get to this point and give the list to sales and marketing to execute an ABX strategy.
After this, marketing might end up advertising to the entire list at once because it’s easy and they have the tools to do it. Only to realize a quarter later that the sales team worked on less than half of them.
Or, even worse, you might find out that your sales and marketing teams ended up creating their own target account lists that are completely different from the original.
When your sales and marketing teams are on the same page about who their target accounts are based on the ICP they created together, they achieve higher conversion rates.
- Prioritize the warmest buyers
Once your sales and marketing teams agree on an account list, the next step is to talk about who to target within those accounts.
This involves having sales and marketing teams define their ideal buyer persona together again because it’s essential that the same persona receives the same messaging across all the channels.
At UserGems, we go a step further by creating a list of individuals within those accounts and personas we reach out to. Then we search for the warmest path into that organization, by checking if there’s anyone:
- We have an existing relationship with
- Who purchased or used our product in the past
- Who recently got hired or promoted
- Internally we can leverage a connection with, like one of our investors
At this stage, we’re not just choosing the accounts or ICP we want to target; we’re pinpointing the individuals we want to go after.
Then our sales team reaches out with persona-specific messaging and marketing advertises to the same individuals and shows them similar ads.
2. Surround prospects all the time, in all channels, throughout the buying process
It’s so hard to get in touch with leads these days. That’s why it’s necessary to surround your prospects throughout the buying process and across all channels.
At UserGems, what we do from a sales and marketing perspective in this stage is to have a lot of signals that ultimately add up to a full story. This means making sure that in the short 2 seconds here and there a prospect sees one of our ads, they understand who we are and what we’re doing.
Here’s how we get this done:
- Target prospects with ads and content everywhere
On the sales side, we do all the usual steps of reaching out to our targets via email, LinkedIn, phone calls, and gifting.
And on the marketing side, we make sure that the same people the sales team is reaching out to also see our ads and content, no matter where they go.
So whenever our SDRs or ADEs reach out to anyone, we are 100% sure they’ll see us everywhere, whether they’re scrolling through Instagram or online shopping. This ensures that our brand stays top of mind with anyone considering us as a solution.
And all that's just to bring somebody into the funnel. Nurturing leads is a whole other ballgame.
- Use content to nurture leads
We’re very conscious of how we use our content at UserGems. We use it to help the sales team accelerate and close deals faster in two ways.
The first is by using marketing to nurture prospects through the opportunity stages with relevant ads and content.
The second is for marketing to copy the multithread strategy from our sales team to help accelerate deals a little faster. We know no one's making a buying decision alone these days — there’s an average of 7 people on a given buying committee.
So, at UserGems, we have three target personas.
If our sales team is only talking to one persona, we automatically follow the other personas (whether their individuals or teams) to ensure they know there's a sale conversation going on in case they want to join in.
The difficulty here is that marketing is incentivized to bring in new deals/new leads, not to accelerate existing opportunities. That brings us to the next step.
3. Align on success metrics for each team to avoid an attribution war
The only way to keep sales and marketing aligned throughout the sales process is to incentivize both teams in the same way. Or ensure everyone is measured with the same metrics.
We all know that sales isn’t straightforward. It's hard to say whether this lead came in because someone reached out to them or they saw an ad. Usually, it isn’t a single action but many different touch points that lead to revenue — which is the core goal for sales. In sales, it doesn’t really matter whether a deal is inbound or outbound as long as it’s closed.
But for marketing, attribution is a little trickier. While they may have a big budget, the way they use it is often scrutinized more closely and they’re expected to optimize spend. This makes attribution much more important for many marketing teams.
Here are some proven strategies for attribution alignment between your sales and marketing teams.
- The UserGems way
Every business is different, so there’s no “right” way to achieve attribution alignment between departments.
But here at UserGems, we define an account with sales activities in the last 90 days as outbound, regardless of how it came in. An account with no activity in the last 90 days counts as inbound. And that also drives the comp incentives.
It’s not perfect, but because of the way we set up our go-to-market (GTM) strategy, it encourages both teams to work together more.
- Incentivize marketers beyond pipeline generation
If we look at the big picture instead, the only metric that really matters for a business is revenue.
When we incentivize marketers to measure not just by the amount of pipeline generated but also revenue, it’s easier to allocate the marketing budget. For example, 80% to generate new pipeline, 10% to accelerate pipeline generation, and 10% for brand awareness.
Recently, we’ve seen more sales development teams being rolled into marketing because it’s becoming less important to know whether the last touch was inbound or outbound. This brings the two teams together to work on the same account/ buyer because they’re both 100% responsible for generating top of the funnel leads, allowing sales to focus on closing.
Align sales and marketing for efficient growth
As with all playbooks and tip sheets, there’s no one size fits all approach to efficient growth. Sales never gets easier. Marketing never gets easier. But you can work together for better, more consistent outcomes by building and maintaining sales and marketing alignment.
At UserGems, our teams go after the best buyers together, surround them with UserGems content and messaging, and then align on attribution. This helps us to reap the rewards of efficient growth, all while building stronger, more effective teams that work together to reach a common goal — more revenue.
UserGems is a pipeline generation software that helps revenue teams generate and protect revenue efficiently. With UserGems, companies can track and automate outreach when their champions change their jobs, and capture the buying groups to find the warmest path into every account.