Hiring for Sales and Marketing Alignment

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What we know

Sales and marketing departments within an organization should be working in tandem to implement strategies meant to achieve common goals.

What often happens

Experienced leadership teams know that it would be virtually impossible to expect success from one without the other, and both short and long-term planning should reflect that. However, the day-to-day execution of creating this harmonious relationship is not always easy and can result in conflict, affecting members of each team, as well as the overall success of your business.

Here’s three points that we like from this article:

  • If they don’t work together like a well-oiled machine — and surprisingly, often they don’t — you’ll have a real problem on your hands trying to scale.”
  • “The more they help marketing, the more marketing help they get back.”
  • “Too many VPs of Sales don’t help out on webinars, on lead scoring, on following up on marketing’s work.”

What can we do

One way to encourage alignment – and protect against unnecessary conflict – within the departments is to approach hiring with a thoughtful, future-minded strategy, showing all potential hires upfront how much you value the relationship between Sales and Marketing. At TZR we encourage our clients to consider the following:

  • Develop clear job descriptions that emphasize the importance of consistent and positive interaction between the two groups
  • Look for keywords on candidate resumes that show successful collaborative efforts between sales and marketing teams in past roles
  • Ask the right questions – based on our years of experience and depth of relationships with our clients – during the interview process to ensure candidates are enthusiastic about the partnership and understand the value

Nothing clarifies expectations for new hires better than seeing these efforts in action.

According to this article there are a few key things leadership can implement that will guarantee current and potential employees understand the value of alignment between the teams. Keep in mind, the best candidates will also make sure this comes up in discussion when they are looking to fill a role on either team:

  • “If your VP of Sales and VP of Marketing aren’t meeting at least once or twice a week, get involved.”
  • “Be careful about creating two types of leads.  At least as your core funnel KPI. Many companies have Marketing Qualified Leads and Sales Qualified Leads, or other variants across the funnel… you want consensus between sales and marketing what a qualified lead is, period.”
  • “Your VP Sales should never, ever blame Marketing. At least not in public… in the end, you’re a team.  Your VP of Sales and VP of Marketing need to agree on that core KPI and support each other.  Even if each quietly vent to the CEO at times.”

Align your hiring practices

All of this considered, it’s also important that your staffing plans back-up the claim that you value collaboration between these departments as they will inevitably look to leadership to put their so-called money where their mouth is.

Ask yourself, as the departments work together to achieve – and ideally succeed their goals, is leadership allocating the necessary funds to address growth and staff accordingly?

When the two teams are killing it, are you willing to do what it takes to help them continue? Lack of a growth strategy will eventually hinder progress if employees don’t feel that the effort they are putting forth is being recognized.

What does success look like between sales and marketing

Successfully meeting and exceeding sales goals will create a new challenge in hiring and maintaining a cohesive team – but that’s a great problem to have. What can you do to retain talent and push each member of the team to perform at their best? Prioritizing a successful relationship between sales and marketing is clearly a multi-tier approach. Setting expectations with current VPs, identifying candidates for open positions who already recognize the value in collaboration, and showing your team you are willing to do what it takes to help them achieve company goals will go a long way in fostering a team mentality. And that can only mean good things for the future or your organization.

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