Better Together: Sales And Marketing Alignment From A Marketer’s Perspective

Anola Balthazar
Anola Balthazar

Director of Marketing, EMEA at Selling Simplified Published on March 29, 2021


Marketers love to measure success. We measure the number of clicks an ad receives. We measure the number of conversions we get and how much money lands in the bank after each campaign. But we rarely look at the return we make on team cohesion.

Return on Alignment (ROA) measures how Sales and Marketing work together. I have been pushing this concept at Selling Simplified (SSG), a global MarTech leader in demand gen, since I joined the company in late 2020. At SSG, we measure how each team contributes to our overall acquisition strategy, and we’re empowered to work in an environment sans silos because of the way our operational model is structured.

In terms of acquisition, many businesses operate on a similar model to ours, where there is an actual handover of leads from Marketing to Sales. This is the point where alignment is key. For companies like Selling Simplified, Sales is core to what we do, and Marketers need to be able to bring value to Sales. If you want to achieve high ROA, strip away the notion of two separate entities. Start operating as one unit and watch your net-new customers & revenue increase.


Alignment starts when we collectively determine the market we’re pursuing and the audience we’re targeting. A lot of the legwork should happen at the beginning of the process, where both teams sit down to plan alignment, define alignment, and discuss how they will continually track and assess performance. Setting expectations at the beginning of each campaign is crucial, and the number one place to start the conversation is with leadership. At SSG, our Sales and Marketing leaders meet frequently to align on priorities, discuss campaign strategies, and make sure we agree on target audiences. If I had to give one piece of advice to leaders looking to better align Sales and Marketing, I’d tell them to simply attend one another’s meetings. Hey CMO, listen in on some Sales calls. Hey VP of Sales, join some weekly Marketing huddles. This is a great opportunity to watch your peers in action and to understand how they prioritize work, manage pipelines, and engage with prospects.

“Each team needs to view the other’s function as an extension of their own role.”

Aligning priorities doesn’t simply involve listening and nodding. It involves a deliberate and intentional effort to strive towards a common goal. Each team needs to view the other’s function as an extension of their own role. Marketers need to provide Sales with the best-qualified, nurtured leads out there. Salespeople need to have the full story on those leads to understand how they’ve interacted with your brand, products, or services thus far. If you want to eliminate missed opportunities, lost time, and low ROI, start by aligning priorities and involving leadership at the onset.


What are we doing right at Selling Simplified?

Conceptually, Sales does not come at the end of my thought process. In a lot of ways, their objectives are my objectives. So I start each quarter by creating detailed Go-to-Market Packs for the Sales team. These GTM packs include program details, like how each campaign flows, what the ads look like, and where they take the user. Being transparent about my marketing campaigns provides context, and context is key for a salesperson speaking to an educated lead.

Imagine that each lead has a different story. If Sales is not familiar with our digital nurture campaigns, then they can’t tailor the sales pitch. This ends up mirroring a cold call approach, where no one leverages existing marketing efforts. If the Sales team does not understand how leads have been nurtured and how much they know about our products and services, they must start from scratch.

There is an Inside Sales Manager in EMEA that works closely with me. He filters through leads to reassess how qualified they are before handing them to a Sales representative. He loves the GTM packs because they give him context. Now that he’s equipped with the buyer’s story, he can join their journey and have a meaningful conversation about their needs.


I used to work for a SaaS company that put Sales and Marketing under one group called the Growth Team. This was a brilliant idea designed to break silos. But that’s as far as it went. We had two distinct target audiences: SMEs acquired mostly through Marketing (subscription model) and enterprise businesses acquired mostly through Sales. The latter audience had massive budgets and a long sales process. This company identified the need to align Sales and Marketing but failed to have a proper lead nurture strategy. Sales follow-ups were often uninformed and poorly timed, too little too late. This resulted in a lot of missed opportunities.

The lesson? Restructuring your departments is not enough. To achieve high ROA, you must collectively define what alignment means to your business. Leadership must be involved. Marketing has evolved over the years, and now more than ever, marketers wear dozens of different hats. Invite Sales to embrace the hybrid elements of your role. If you’re struggling to move from ideation to implementation, you’re not alone. Make your Marketing team a valuable asset to Sales by bringing context to the buyer’s journey. True alignment is powerful enough to create unity and yield growth. Bring your alignment strategy to life with this 4-Step ROA Checklist and start winning today.

Anola Balthazar
Anola Balthazar

Director of Marketing, EMEA at Selling Simplified Published on March 29, 2021