If you are a B2B business owner or executive then you undoubtedly have a marketing plan to attract leads and inquiries. You also have a team of sales producers who are tasked with turning those leads into accounts. The question I want you to ask yourself is this: how well are those two teams working together?

As a digital strategist at our B2B web design agency, I have noticed that friction between these two departments is more common than leaders tend to think. In fact, I regularly speak with marketing directors who think that salespeople aren’t following up on leads quickly or persistently enough. Conversely, sales managers will complain that the leads that do come their way aren’t viable.

Usually, there is an element of truth in both points of view. That’s because marketers tend to think in terms of conversions and percentages – any signup, meeting, or expression of interest is a good one. Salespeople, on the other hand, have limited time to generate orders and commissions. So, they only want to be presented with marketing leads that stand a high chance of turning into something more.

Obviously, this isn’t how you want your company to run. Things go much more smoothly, and profitably, when everyone is on the same page. That leads us to the question posed in the title of this post: what does a perfectly aligned sales and marketing plan look like?

Let’s break down the most important elements…

Sales and Marketing Teams Have the Same Goal
At the risk of stating the obvious, everyone on your team should be pulling in the same direction. Ultimately, your sales and marketing departments aren’t in competition with one another (even if it might seem that way at times). No one gets paid unless new business is being generated, so there isn’t any value in fostering conflict between people who generate leads and the ones who close them.

While you’ll certainly have metrics around leads and sales inquiries, ultimately your sales and marketing teams should both be compensated based on finished contracts. That doesn’t just encourage growth in your company, but it also ensures that everyone is putting their focus on the right kinds of results.

You Have Identified the Right Customer Personas
Sometimes, it can be difficult for the marketing department to attract strong leads because they don’t have a clear enough picture of what those leads should look like. That’s why you should always have at least a few personas for your most important buyer types. Then your marketing team can know exactly what types of contacts they need to bring in.

Often, this is something the sales team can help with. Because they work directly with customers, they may have a better idea of what the ideal lead profile looks like. However, it’s also important to remember that most leads aren’t going to fit those exact criteria, so a bit of flexibility is crucial. Your employees shouldn’t be wasting their time chasing nonexistent sales opportunities, but they shouldn’t expect every lead to be fully qualified and ready to buy, either.

There Is a Defined Lead Generation Cycle in Place
You could technically call anyone who expresses an interest in your products or services a lead. However, not all interest is equal, and buyers can come to you at many different stages in the decision cycle. That’s why it’s good to identify marketing-qualified leads and sales-qualified leads (or MQLs and SQLs for short).

An MQL might be someone who shared their contact information to access a white paper. An SQL, on the other hand, can be someone who is ready to set up a meeting or talk prices. It often makes sense for the marketing department to continue to warm up MQLs until they are ready to move forward to the next stage and be introduced to a member of the sales team. In fact, that process can usually be automated with pre-written emails and other lead-nurturing tools.

Handoffs Are Executed in a Way That Makes Sense
Speaking of introductions, it’s important for transitions from marketing to sales be handled in the right way. The timing is critical, as I’ve already mentioned. But so too is the way the handoff is communicated to the contact.

Depending on the size of the account, and the complexity of the offer, joint calls or meetings could be advisable. Regardless of the actual conversation, however, it’s important that the lead is not simply dumped off to a member of the sales team without the proper referral or preparation. Otherwise, a warm sales opportunity could be wasted.

All Relevant Staff Meet Regularly to Discuss Results
Following the sort of approach I’ve laid out can overcome many of the common problems we see in our B2B web design agency. Still, if you want to keep your team on the same page, you should make sure they get together regularly to discuss what is and isn’t working.

These sorts of meetings are good for results. They can also improve morale. After all, the biggest source of conflict between marketing and sales departments isn’t the timing or quality of leads, but the fact that different employees don’t understand each other’s roles and needs. If you can solve that problem, you go a long way toward getting the kind of growth you hoped for when you first designed your lead generation funnel.

Need a B2B Web Design Agency That Can Help You Move Forward?
At GoingClear, our focus is on building websites and lead generation campaigns for B2B marketers. Not only do we follow an innovative process for helping our clients grow, but we have the results to prove it.

So, if you’ve been looking for help from an experienced B2B web design team with a solid track record, then it’s time we talk. Check out our 22 B2B Website Must-Haves or, schedule a free consultation and see how we can help your company get aligned and take the next step forward.