6 Tips to Unify Sales and Marketing: Nail Your B2B Go-to-Market

What do the most successful B2B companies that sell into mid-market and enterprise accounts have in common? Is there a singular trait that unifies their go-to-market and determines their outsized success?

In a word, yes. At the heart of every successful B2B business is a truly unified Sales and Marketing engine that drives growth.

But let’s be honest here—it’s not like Sales and Marketing alignment is new or fresh at this point. It’s really the foundation of B2B success, and yet, there is a distinct lack of clear thinking about what constitutes a truly unified Sales and Marketing motion.

Ultimately, Marketing and Sales teams will move as one, seamlessly sharing data and insights, coordinating every activity, and measuring everything that matters—from campaign performance to business impact so that every action is tied to Sales success.

In this blog post, I’ve created six tangible tips for companies looking to unify their Sales and Marketing teams. Let’s dive in.

6 Tips for Unifying Sales and Marketing

1. Intent is the new lead

Forget about top-of-funnel leads and start using stronger intent signals (e.g., keywords, recency, and sustained interest) to prioritize activities and identify your top accounts. The ability to identify what companies are in-market for a solution today has made intent the fastest growing data category over the last two years, with use increasing from 28 percent to 62 percent in companies surveyed by TOPO. Instead of waiting for form fill leads that don’t convert, Sales and Marketing can work together to focus on intent signals that surface key target accounts. Intent is simply a game-changer for B2B go-to-market.

2. Personalization wins every time

The Demandbase team has achieved considerably higher results from personalized outreach than with generic blasting. In a recent test, we found that personalization (often with trending intent) increased email open rates from 29 percent to 53 percent and replies from 4.5 percent to 10 percent. Don’t forget that building robust buyer personas is the key to delivering personalization that really hits home.

3. Foster communication at every turn

Get Sales and Marketing teams talking at every opportunity. Setup joint office hours, happy hours, standups, campaign priority emails, and more. But most importantly, get Sales and Marketing aligned on your in-market target accounts and sharing insights on the buying committee at those accounts. Marketing and Sales can identify the best personalization bang for their shared buck by building out prioritized audiences together.

4. Hold Marketing accountable for revenue, just like Sales

We’ve come a long way from Marketing dumping a glut of poorly qualified leads over the wall to Sales, and going for a long lunch to celebrate—while Sales ignores most of them and continues to guess at who’s in-market for your solution. That’s why it’s so important for marketers to embrace both pipeline and revenue responsibility. What really matters to the organization is the closed deal. As Matt Heinz says so memorably, “You can’t buy a beer with an MQL.” Cheers to that!

5. Go multi-touch, multi-channel

The days of following a linear buyer’s journey are long gone. That’s why Sales and Marketing teams need to be nimble and orchestrate complex, multi-step plays to engage key members of the buying committee showing engagement. Webinars, direct mail, digital ads, and self-running demos all come into play when they are used to blanket an in-market account with insights and value. Offer “extreme value” at every touchpoint, per TOPO’s guidance, that prospects can’t resist.

6. Measure everything that moves

We used to tell Sales that if it’s not in Salesforce, it doesn’t exist. Still true, but let’s extend that concept to every interaction along the buyer’s journey. We must measure every engagement with the buying committee at target accounts, from ad impressions to SDR calls and VIP dinners that close the deal over dessert.

Holding Ourselves to a High Standard

At Demandbase, we strive in many ways to ensure that we meet the high standard of Sales and Marketing unification. From weekly campaign priorities emails between Sales and Marketing, weekly funnel working group sessions, dedicated “Shark Week” activities to set shared pipeline goals, power hours to push integrated campaign goals, customer working group meetings to discuss retention and expansion—it’s all in service of keeping our Sales and Marketing teams in lockstep throughout the quarter. Having an incredibly dynamic Marketing team and absolutely committed Sales team doesn’t hurt a bit either. We’re not perfect by any means, but we’ll never stop trying to be better aligned every day.

We’ve put together a Sales and Marketing unification toolkit to help you achieve alignment with your team.

Get the Sales and Marketing Unification toolkit here.

No doubt there are many more tips that I’ve left out of this post, but that’s what comments are for, right? Agree, disagree, expand, or strikethrough—I’d love to get your thoughts on my six tips for unifying your Sales and Marketing teams. Please share how your company approaches Sales and Marketing unification so that we can start a wider discussion on this really important topic for B2B. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

Vice President, Growth Marketing, Demandbase

I'm a B2B specialist with over 20 years of experience leading enterprise Marketing teams. I love figuring out how to scale enterprise Marketing, from brand building to pipeline development and global customer acquisition. As Vice President of Growth Marketing at Demandbase, I'm responsible for Demand Generation, Field Marketing, and Customer Marketing. Prior to joining Demandbase, Brian was a Marketing leader at two ad tech companies, Marin Software and Smaato. He co-founded an e-learning startup that specialized in software developer training, with a rules-based code judging engine.