B2B Marketing Zone

How Marketing Operations Can Align with Sales (and Why)

How Marketing Operations Can Align with Sales (and Why)

One of the most common phenomena I encounter in the wonderful world of B2B companies is the creation, and then continual expansion, of a chasm between sales and marketing.

What I mean by that is, as both departments grow and struggle to keep their heads above water while still operating at maximum capacity, a great divide begins to develop on a systematic level.

operations alignment

Typically, I find that marketing will implement new predictive technologies for advanced reporting and analytical strategy-making, but will fail to see that the sales team can use these technologies for greater prospect list and queue segmentation – if onboarded and trained correctly.

A few scenarios:

There are technologies out there that can grade and/or score contacts, leads, and accounts, based on a propensity to buy. Wouldn’t this be great information for a sales rep to have when building out prospecting lists!?

Other technologies can show which digital systems a prospect company uses, based on code found on their site. How this works: if a company uses a marketing automation platform, say Act-On, then they will have Act-On tracking code in the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) code on their website. The technologies that look for code like this on sites to determine which tools that company is using follow up that discovery by transposing that information into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. With a little bit of elbow grease and a solid understanding of these systems, you can arm your inbound and outbound sales development teams with this critical information which will translate into meaningful conversations while they’re prospecting.

Give both teams visibility into systems

Think about it this way: this engine – the duo of today’s sales and marketing teams – has matured dramatically in the past couple of years. Marketing has evolved into a data-driven content machine whilst sales has expanded into a very tactical and targeted revenue mechanism.

As a marketing operations professional, it’s your responsibility to ensure that visibility across all of these technological marketing platforms is accessible to your company’s sales team. After all, they’re the ones who have to get on the phone and talk to prospective customers all day long trying to sell whatever magical product/service you provide!

Take it from my personal experience over the last couple of years; your sales team:

  • Needs as much information possible about the people/companies they are calling into, and
  • Will be massively appreciative to see that marketing is doing everything they can to ensure that sales are armed to the teeth with valuable information that will be useful when engaging with potential customers.

You see, it’s a win-win situation. You’ll not only get a more empowered and confident sales engine, but you’ll create a bond between the two departments that is immensely more cohesive than it previously was. After all, what does marketing do all this work for!? To bring in more potential customers, that’s what!

empowered sales team

But if the end user (aka sales) is still in the bronze age while the marketing team is in the gold, you have an inefficient and unoptimized process that could be chronically losing your company revenue over time. It’s important to realize the gravity of these situations and to make sure you have both teams aligned on both technological and strategic levels. At the end of the day, revenue is what it’s all about. Empowering your sales team will dramatically increase their output and inevitably, your revenue.

Here are a few tips to make sure your marketing ops and sales teams stay technologically in sync:

1. Get in tune with your sales team

Immerse yourself into the happenings of your sales team. Join their meetings from time to time to get a feel for what’s happening in their world. There might be things that stick out that you can help with or provide guidance to that will be of great help. Plus, it’s always a good idea to keep abreast on all the happenings of sales; this can determine how you steer marketing in the right direction too.

2. Schedule a monthly or quarterly sync up meeting

By having a regular meeting with sales, you’ll ensure that there is a dedicated open forum for questions/concerns/comments that they may have. Let them know what’s new and how they can get up to speed on it. Also, any major initiatives in either department can be voiced as well to ensure parallel tracking and transparency for all.

3. Build a good rapport with specific members of the sales team

I cannot stress enough the importance of having a great relationship with core members of the team to keep up to date on all the things they’re working or struggling with. You will have eyes and ears everywhere if you can build a good rapport with some members of the sales team. This in turn will help you spot problems earlier.

4. Learn the funnel from end to end

Want to know how to become invaluable to an organization from a marketing operations perspective? Learn not only marketing’s piece of the pie, but sales’ too. Knowing only one half (your half) of the puzzle is fine, but if you can master the entirety of it, you’ll not only be an asset to one department, but a major player in two. Don’t underestimate the gravity of this.

5. Have an open door policy

Be sure to stress to your sales department that they can come to you for help at any time. You want to be known as a beacon of help for them; they’re go-to person for things they need. Even if you hand it off to another team member, you can act as a filter as to the severity of the situation and once again, keep an eye on things that are happening.

The key takeaway

In conclusion, just remember this one key take away…the goal is revenue. If your foot soldiers are ill prepared for battle, the whole organization suffers. The beauty of marketing operations lies in its versatility and wide breadth of knowledge. Just because the word “marketing” is in the title, it doesn’t mean that you’re confined to only one department. Learn the funnel end-to-end, become a symbol of empowerment, and most important of all, always be a beacon of positivity and giving and you’ll never run out of exciting things to do in your career.

Download Act-On’s eBook, “Alignment, Technology, And Revenue Impact: Critical Links for Sales & Marketing Success,” to learn the direct relationship between alignment and revenue performance and how the use of the right technologies will support business success.

Alignment, Technology, and Revenue Impact: Critical Links for Sales & Marketing Success


As the Marketing Operations Manager for Act-On Software, George is able to turn vast amounts of data into digestible and insightful narratives in order to enable his executive team to make strategic decisions. He is inspired by aligning marketing and sales teams through funnel measurement, strategic insights, and data analysis. Connect with George and check out his LinkedIn Group West Coast CRM & Marketing Automation Professionals.