There’s an age-old adage that sales and marketing can’t work together and that neither team ever knows what the other is doing.
Successful businesses understand that this is not true.
By bringing the sales and marketing operations teams together, they can work like one to achieve your business outcomes.
However, these teams aren’t the same as your traditional sales and marketing teams!
Think of your operations teams as the backstage crew of theater production:
The actors, musicians and other performers must put on a great show. But the backstage crew is just as important! There’s the director, producer, camera and lighting crew, and other people responsible for making the show a success.
Comparatively, sales and marketing operations work “behind the scenes” to help their teams be more productive and hit the desired revenue goals.
In this article, we’ll explain what sales and marketing operations are and how these two teams can align with one another for the greater good of achieving their company’s goals.
What are sales and marketing operations
Sales Оperations (or Sales Ops) help make the sales process more efficient and effective so that sales reps can do their jobs without worrying about behind-the-scenes tasks like manual data entry or finding sales enablement content.
This field generally involves sales planning, training, technology, and reporting.
Sales Operations handle all business activities and processes that support the sales team and improve their productivity.
Here’s an overview of all the different aspects that sales operations can be involved in to help sales better function and accomplish their objectives.
Marketing Operations allow the department to operate efficiently and deliver the desired business results through processes, people, data, and technology. They provide all the tools, training, processes, and strategies needed to help marketers do their job better.
This graphic explains how people, processes, and tech align within the division of marketing ops.
What are the elements of sales operations
Sales operations is responsible for many facets of sales improvement and optimization. Its functions include hiring and training, forecasting, data analytics, technology, and more. Here’s a brief breakdown of the primary functions:
The 5 Elements of Sales Operations
- Sales data management
- Sales forecasting
- Sales technology
- Sales enablement
- Sales training
1. Sales data management
The sales ops teams must measure and access data on how each product is selling, how the sales process is progressing, and the ROI of the different lead types of leads provided by the marketing team.
They can then determine whether or not the current strategy is working or needs refinement. It’s their responsibility to revise or develop a new strategy to ensure that objectives will be met moving forward.
2. Sales forecasting
Sales forecasting is crucial to arrange to ensure that all actions are in line to hit the annual business goals.
Understanding the historical data and analyzing performance trends can help forecast future sales, so the sales team makes the necessary adjustments when needed.
Also, the marketing team and supply chain can make arrangements needed depending on the sales forecast that is provided by the sales operations team.
It’s important to forecast the sales regularly so that the possible issues can be pointed out and avoided before they can cause a long-term issue.
In HubSpot, sales reps can mark every opportunity and organize them by their current deal stage. They can even place a confidence score based on how highly they feel about the likelihood of the deal’s closing.
This helps sales ops to predict and forecast the potential revenue for the month and quarter.
3. Sales technology
The sales operation team, along with the management, focuses and implements the necessary technology-based sales-related tools such as sales CRM, digital marketing tools, email integration, lead enrichment, and other tools.
The sales team should be fully equipped with the technology so they don’t face any hiccups during the sales process.
Also, the sales ops may be responsible for training the team on how to use these tools to maximize their results efficiently.
4. Sales enablement
Throughout the B2B sales process, your reps will use tools, frameworks, documents, and content to help sell to customers. In this example, there are documents used throughout the sales process.
- When nurturing sales-ready leads, you may provide case studies, industry whitepapers, and other useful content.
- During the live demo, it’s helpful to use a pitch deck, product sheets, or discovery call question cheatsheets.
- After the sales call, you may need to send over a proposal document, contract, testimonials, or other forms.
5. Sales training
Sales training is kept in order with the help of sales operations. It is important to understand that sales training is different from product training because sales training is focused on the development of salespersons and is related to practical scenarios.
A person who is trained in product knowledge is taken to sales training. This form of training is less about the product and more about understanding the needs of the customer.
Training the salespeople to negotiate, build urgency, and behave professionally are several vital aspects of sales training. Making the sales rep understand how to judge the customer, analyze their pain points, and offer a solution is what is taught in sales training.
What are the elements of marketing operations
The marketing team is often heads down executing marketing campaigns, meaning they might not analyze how their current systems, tech, or analytics could be failing them.
If your company isn’t attracting high-quality leads into the funnel or has a high bounce rate, there are likely gaps in the top of the funnel process that need improvement.
That’s where marketing ops comes in and helps to rectify and optimize the processes and other areas that will aid marketers.
Here are the 3 main elements of marketing operations:
The 3 critical elements of marketing operations
- Data analysis and reporting
- Marketing systems
- Brand compliance
1. Data analysis and reporting
Marketers can be guided by having the right analytics and reporting given. This allows marketing operations professionals to assess performance and forecast future results accurately. It’s easy for marketers to become easily distracted by every tool’s wide range of data. The marketing ops team can help narrow the focus so that marketers are clear on which metrics matter the most.
A typical marketing report may include traffic metrics, engagement metrics, and conversion metrics for each traffic source.
The report may start with a summary that clearly shows the results that the marketing has generated.
Then, the team can dive in deeper and look at how each channel and campaign has performed.
2. Marketing systems
The marketing ops team must identify, manage and maintain the right tech stack to support the marketing team. It’s vital to analyze mundane tasks that can be automated to improve effectiveness.
For example, rather than guessing about the quality of leads, a marketing automation tool like Encharge that segments and scores incoming leads can provide consistency in how your company qualifies leads.
Some common tools that marketers need are:
- Ad analytics like Google Analytics
- Social media management like Sprout Social
- Marketing automation tool like Encharge
- Lead questionnaires such as Typeform
- Landing page builders like Leadpages
- SEO tools like SEMRush
Marketing ops should consider any software that helps to improve their existing process of capturing and nurturing leads.
3. Brand Compliance
Brand compliance is used to ensure that all messaging created and published is aligned with the company’s core values, visual identity, and brand standards. The marketing ops team is responsible checks to ensure all marketing collateral is compliant with their internal and external guidelines. For example, marketing ops may review and approve content made by marketers before their campaign is launched.
Here’s a possible content production workflow that your company might go through.
While it’s an effective strategy to get all the elements of content produced and loaded on the website, social media, or ad manager, usually, teams don’t have a compliance officer who checks for alignment with your company’s core values.
We recommend adding an additional step to the workflow so that a marketing ops professional gets to check for branding issues. Perhaps, they might want to add specific fonts, colors, or even logos to the infographic or pitch deck.
How to align sales and marketing operations
Sales and marketing operations teams are separate entities. They are teams that need to work cross-functionally to achieve business objectives. While both teams aim to help their departments perform better, they are all working towards the same goal of acquiring new customers.
Step 1: Integrate your software
It’s easy to get all of your lead’s information and goals misaligned when your company uses many different software platforms for your marketing and sales activities.
Unifying the data is the best way to prevent miscommunication. That’s where software integration comes into play.
Integrating data and information from different platforms lets both teams access all historical customer information. They gain complete insight into buyer relationships so that no context is lost in the buyer’s journey and everyone is on the same page at all times.
The end result means that the prospect experiences a seamless buying experience where they get exactly what they’re looking for throughout each stage of the sales funnel.
For example, let’s say you want to connect your marketing automation software along with a scheduling tool and CRM platform.
If a prospect becomes sales-ready by booking a demo, the sales team should automatically be notified, and a new opportunity should already be in place in the CRM system.
Your sales reps will see all of their prospect’s online engagement and information prior to the call. That way, they won’t have to ask redundant questions such as their company size, job title, etc. Instead, they can dive deeper into their current problems and position the product as the solution.
Step 2: Create shared goals and processes using SLAs
Sales and marketing operations teams both need each other to be successful. The leads marketing generate must be closed by a sales team member to become customers.
For sales to close customers, they need enablement materials and sales-ready leads from marketing.
Unfortunately, there’s typically a lack of alignment as to the specific responsibilities and deliverables that each team will provide.
A sales and marketing service level agreement (SLA) is a cross-team document that establishes a shared set of expectations around each team’s responsibilities.
A sales-marketing SLA will include:
- Goals for marketing about the quantity and quality of leads that should be generated at each lifecycle stage of the sales funnel.
- Goals for sales about how fast leads should be followed up with and how many outreach attempts will be made.
- Definitions of lead qualification and lifecycle stages.
- Guidelines for feedback and communication between the teams.
- Explanations of team culture and values.
By documenting how both teams will work together, you reduce the chance of misalignment and increase the productivity of both teams.
Step 3: Organize weekly stand-up meetings
This is a routine meeting between sales and marketing operations teams to ensure ongoing alignment between the two departments. The objective is to agree on goals, expectations, strategy, tactics, and performance.
The initial sales and marketing alignment meeting usually involves leaders from each group, such as the CMO and VP of Sales. The leaders then form a task force with representatives across departments to carry out these initiatives.
Those driving the partnership will meet periodically and ensure their respective teams execute the plan and get the resources they need.
Discuss weekly tasks
Set an expectation that each team must come prepared to share what they’re working on and what outstanding tasks have been completed. In the interest of everyone’s time, focus on initiatives that affect both sales and marketing.
For marketing teams, relevant projects you might bring up are:
- New pitch decks and other sales enablement content for the sales team to use
- Customer case studies
- An email marketing campaign you’re launching
- A bottom of the funnel blog post
- Any discounts or promotions that are currently running
For sales teams, relevant projects you might bring up include:
- Request for support from marketing to close one of your opportunities
- Common language or pain points you’re hearing that the marketing team should test
- A great customer call you had that would be an excellent customer story for the website
Designate a spokesperson from each team
If your sales and marketing teams work closely together, they may know every team member and have some rapport built up.
But depending on your company size, some salespeople may not know everyone in marketing and vice versa.
An excellent way to break down these barriers is to allow new people from both teams to speak at each meeting.
This can also:
- Help employees take ownership of their work
- Allow new voices (not just leadership) to be heard
- Improve overall engagement across both teams
At the start of the meeting, a leadership team member can introduce the spokespeople as the presenters.
While other teammates should contribute, ultimately, the presenters will be responsible for sharing respective status updates.
This helps everyone on each team build up confidence and familiarity with one another so that they can easily communicate with each other later on.
Use Encharge to fuel your sales and marketing operations
Sales and marketing operations alignment doesn’t have to be a far-fetched unattainable goal like it once might have been. Instead, uncovering the elements of each operations team and finding ways for them to work together can improve productivity in both departments.
Ensuring that all elements are covered in sales and marketing operations helps your teams perform their best.
As a result, your marketing team will convert more high-quality leads, and your sales will close more customers.
Make your job easier by using software that can share data between marketing and sales platforms.
Encharge works with many tools like HubSpot, SalesForce, Mailchimp, Slack, and more.
Achieve your business goals with Encharge and start your free 14-day trial today!