Sales Leadership: Uniting Sales and Marketing with Jonathan Hallatt and UnboundB2B

Aligning sales and marketing is one of the most impactful initiatives sales leadership can tackle. With misalignment resulting in an estimated loss of one trillion dollars annually, sellers and marketers must work to close the gap between teams. Jonathan Hallatt offers key insights into what drives each team, and more importantly, what each team can bring to the table to drive better business outcomes.
Sales leadership plays a key role in connecting sales and marketing.When sales and marketing align around the same high-level goals, they don’t just exceed customer acquisition targets, they also save on acquisition costs.
However, the relationship between sales and marketing can sometimes be challenging to navigate. From misaligned goals to misunderstandings, the sales and marketing relationship needs strategic support from marketing and sales leadership if an organization plans to scale its sales revenue goals.
That’s why we met with Jonathan Hallatt, Director of International Channels at Censy, to learn how these two teams can better align around high-level goals.
Read on to learn more about steering sales and marketing in the same direction—towards more revenue.

What are the differences between sales and marketing that sometimes lead to miscommunication and misalignment?

Jonathan: I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented marketing people who’ve been brilliant at working together with sales, but I don’t think that’s common everywhere.
The two disciplines are very different in terms of skill sets and capabilities. Marketing is such a broad umbrella term for so many different types of skills—from digital and social media to corporate, creative, and demand gen. Then you’ve got operations and measurement.
It can be difficult for salespeople to keep up with marketing regarding who performs which functions.
Another thing about marketing: They’re usually people who look forward to new technology and innovative new ways to use data to give them an edge.
Sales, on the other hand, their skill set is understanding people: what influences people, how to influence people, how organizations are structured, how organizations work, how decisions are made, who the influencers are, and so on.
That particular demand of the job hasn’t changed—and once sellers master those people skills enough to get deals done, there isn’t the need to innovate like we often see with marketing.

What can marketers do to better communicate with their sales counterparts?

Jonathan: The best marketing people I’ve had the privilege of working with have been people who have taken the time to listen to customers, learn what influences them, why they bought the product, how they first heard about it, and so on.
They’ve done that by attending customer meetings or customer review calls. Quite often, we have brilliant customer success teams, but marketing doesn’t always interact with customer success, which can lead to missed opportunities for improving customer marketing messaging and programs.
When marketers have an opportunity to listen to customers experiencing problems and to truly understand the value of the product or solution your company sells, they can start to better understand how sales thinks about engaging and relationship-building with the customer.
Marketing can come with a better understanding of the voice of the customer in their conversations with their sales teams.
Demand gen and customer marketing functions will find these calls the most useful for their campaign planning, persona building, messaging development, and more.

What can sellers do to better communicate with their marketing peers?

Jonathan: Sales needs to accept and agree that we’re all working towards the same goals: creating qualified pipeline and booking deals.
When sales sees marketing tools and techniques and they see what marketing can do, the respect starts to build, but they need to be willing to engage. Sales also needs to understand their input can be so important in terms of the way marketing crafts messages.

How can sales and marketing build trust between teams in terms of data, tools, and programs?

Jonathan: An example would be the tool 6sense.
When I first saw that as a sales leader, someone was able to say, “Here’s where the person first interacted, and here are all the touchpoints. And these are all the events we triggered and things we did that got them to your door.”
That was really insightful, particularly when presented in a way that’s relevant to the sales team.
Quite often, marketing will give a presentation to the sales team during a meeting and they’ll be super excited about all the events they’re doing, but it’s not always relevant to sales.
When you can show the journey of the customer from initial inquiry to qualified lead, that helps build that trust between sales and marketing. It helps sales to see the value of all those events, some of which can be hard to attribute to specific opportunities.
With tools like 6sense you can start to see how those events and those activities are influencing and moving the opportunity forward.
There will be salespeople who are dismissive because it’s new, but ultimately good salespeople will always recognize the power of that visibility.

As a sales leader, what should senior-level decision-makers in demand gen bring to conversations with sales?

Jonathan: It’s important that marketing is involved in the sales review process. Both teams benefit from sharing how the customer found us in the first place, what they were interested in, whether we successfully translated that interest into something relevant, and whether we were rapid in our response.
Did we get back to them quickly enough? Were they on fire at first—and then cooled off?
When marketing and sales exchange relevant prospect and customer data, it becomes a sales and marketing process instead of two distinct team processes.
Then there’s load sharing. Sometimes the sales team gets dragged in another direction to deal with a rapid response requirement from another customer and is deeply involved when another prospect comes along and says, “Hey, I’m interested too!”
As we know, opportunities never come along in organized succession. Sometimes they come all at once. Finding opportunities for sales and marketing to share the load and say, “Actually, we can’t get to that right now. Can marketing continue to nurture? Or, “Can the SDR team take care of that?” is very helpful.
We want to get away from scenarios where marketing says to sales, “We’ve done our job” and leaves sales to deal with creating opportunities or deal acceleration.
We want to shift into “co-selling” and think about how we co-sell as a united team. That might mean looking at missed opportunities to see whether we missed a chance to engage more positively with that customer or prospect.

Does sales leadership at your organization support sales and marketing alignment?

Sales leadership isn’t about single-mindedly pushing salespeople to meet a quota.
In today’s digital selling environment, sales leadership is adapting and evolving to meet the needs of an ever-changing landscape. A significant part of that includes acknowledging marketing as a partner in revenue generation and shifting our mindset and activities as a result.
This article is an edited excerpt from the conversation with Jonathan Hallatt, Director of International Channels at Censys.
For more insights on sales leadership, watch the full episode of the Real Talk Real Results podcast with Jonathan Hallatt.
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Ethan Harrington

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