In my last blog post I wrote about a company that lacked internal alignment between their marketing and sales departments. In this blog post we’ll look at what actionable steps might entail for this real-life company.

Step 1: Have a Company Goal

The company ought to have a time-bound specific, measurable goal that guides the entire company.*

For this company, something like, “increase the total number of seats sold through managed service providers by 10% compared to Q2,  by the end of Q3,” would meet our criteria. It is specific (up 10% quarter over quarter), time-bound (end of Q3) and measurable (you either hit 10% or you didn’t).

Step 2: Communicate it

The second step is to make sure that everyone knows what this goal is. Communicate it at leadership meetings, company meetings, emails, every week in your Slack channel. Discuss the company’s progress towards it.

Step 3: Align Goals

After everyone knows and understands the goal make sure that they are on the same page as each other. Does sales know their target? Do they know what well-qualified leads look like to them? Does marketing know what well-qualified leads look like to sales? Does engineering know what product features to be in production for marketing to go after those leads?

I’m going to guess that in our real-life company this is where things first went off track: Mike (marketing) either didn’t know or didn’t care who Rob (sales) needed to close sales. As a result, Mike booked calls for Rob that not only led to no-sale; Mike wasted Rob’s time that Rob could use to talk to prospects that might actually switch.

Step 4: Align Rewards and Consequences

it’s clear that Mike is rewarded based on calls booked regardless of whether they were well-qualified leads or not. I’d recommend to Mike’s leadership that he be rewarded based on the overall company goal: tie everybody’s quarterly bonus to that goal and let Rob and Mike get together on their own to figure out how they are going work to achieve it.

If that’s too much for you to swallow, Mike could at least be rewarded based on calls booked with qualified leads. Based on the company goal, a qualified lead might be defined as, “a managed services provider with 250 or more seats that is ready to commit to change to a new tool provider before the end of Q3.”

Mike’s company could also combine those, either way, they’d find a greater degree of alignment than they have today.

Of course, if they stuck with the first suggestion the natural consequences would also line up: Mike & Rob would both waste time and miss bonuses if they didn’t work together. No manager needed to get between them to tell them that bad prospects (me) need to be saved for a different time.