7 minute read
Driving go-to-market strategy through revenue team alignment
In my previous article, Revenue team alignment: The path to a unified strategy, I detailed the challenges leaders often face with revenue team alignment, and why it’s so important to determine a unified strategy. Easier said than done, perhaps, so here I shall delve deeper into how you can create opportunities for collaboration and be intentional about driving alignment.
Define overall business goals
It’s a heavy undertaking, but creating a roadmap for growth for the organization as a whole will provide guidance and structure for the strategies and motions below it. Start by defining the goals the organization needs to achieve. Consider how the go-to-market strategy will drive growth overall — what does success look like? These metrics require CEO, CFO, CRO, and CMO collaboration.
Consider all revenue pillars
Since growth does not depend solely on new customer acquisition, aligning revenue teams is not just about the initial purchase — it's about the entire customer lifecycle. This means considering what happens before, during, and after the sale.
Break down your go-to-market strategy into three phases:
- Acquisition — getting new customers
- Expansion — growing existing accounts
- Retention — keeping customers satisfied and loyal
Think of this process as a relay race where different teams pass the baton to ensure a seamless customer journey. How much of your business will come from all three? Set specific goals for each.
Your pre-sales, sales, partnerships, and growth marketing teams focus on acquiring new customers. Meanwhile, the post-sales team can collaborate with customer marketing to develop strategies for retaining and upselling existing customers. Working together, every team contributes to the customer's entire journey and the organization’s success.
Break down larger goals
Once you have the bigger picture and your revenue pillars in mind, you’ll need to break the larger goals down into metrics that each team is responsible for, and translate those concepts into individual efforts — the more obvious the link between the overall goal and the individual KPI, the better.
It’s tempting to create targets based on departmental responsibilities, but that can lead to misalignment. Building a predictable pipeline is like playing a well-orchestrated game of soccer, with each player doing their part to score the goal. Shared objectives with clear targets that every team is responsible for meeting fosters a more collaborative and supportive environment.
For example, in an aligned organization, BDRs, sales, partner sales and marketing all work together to achieve lead conversion rates, booked meetings and pipeline targets. If a lead generation effort isn’t converting into opportunities, everyone has to figure out why and fix it. It isn’t just marketing’s responsibility.
In the same way, the Net Revenue Retention (NRR) target isn’t just for customer success. The entire revenue team should be committed to building the right expansion plays, choosing the appropriate channels, and giving customers the best possible experience.
Determine your growth motions
To support the strategy, identify key motions that drive business. GTM Partners suggests grouping these motions into inbound, outbound, product-led, nearbound (partner-led), event-led and community-led efforts. Based on the motions that make sense for your business, the revenue team can work together to create plays and tactics.
Building out the motions is one of the most obvious areas of collaboration between sales and marketing. Don’t forget to include partnership, customer success and pre-sales teams. More than one motion will likely apply to each business. It’s the mix that’s going to be different.
When revenue teams collaborate, it’s an opportunity to look at every channel with fresh eyes:
- Inbound: What if marketing and sales discussed what objections prospects raise in sales meetings? The content strategy could then incorporate managing those objections earlier and qualifying leads better.
- Outbound: In the sales realm of outbound, what if account and partner teams helped coordinate on target accounts, making more efficient use of everyone’s resources?
- Product-led: If you are moving up-market and evolving your audience to include C-levels at enterprise organizations, will product-led be enough, or should you consider adding sales-assisted product-led growth motions?
- Partner-led: Perhaps the partner team’s efforts could be aided by strategic marketing content, targeted paid ads, or a key event done together with partners.
- Event-led: Can sales, partner and marketing teams collaborate on the accounts to invite to the event, nurturing them and booking meetings? Could the customer success team help arrange for a customer, our brand evangelist, to be our keynote?
- Community-led: Enthusiastic and evangelistic customers and prospects, activated through community-building efforts, can provide referral opportunities to the sales team and testimonial opportunities to the marketing team.
When the revenue teams work together to refine these plays and collaborate on their execution, they become more effective at achieving go-to-market goals while simultaneously creating a more cohesive customer experience.
Align on target accounts
Defining which accounts to target is a cornerstone of successful execution. RevOps can lead the effort with input from all stakeholders and ensure collaboration between the revenue team to determine ICP and the list of key prospects and customers.
Gone are the days when going after massive audiences made sense. Leveraging buying intent data, customer relationship health insights and firmographic and technographic data will help revenue teams become more targeted and effective in reaching the most important accounts with the most relevant content. Not only does this make operations more effective, it also drives acquisition costs down. Targeting accounts is an opportunity for marketing to bring buyer insight and engagement data to the table.
Rely on unified data
An essential part of making data-driven decisions is creating a single source of truth for data. Marketing teams may pull data from their MAP, web analytics and intent platforms. Sales teams and account managers may use a CRM and entirely different tools for customer outreach and pipeline forecasting. Customer success could be operating in a separate ticket-tracking software. Partner teams are dependent on their Partner relationship system.
There are two major drawbacks to these disparate sources of information:
- Teams may not have visibility into the data informing another team’s decisions, or even the data they need to inform their own decisions.
- Different systems may be telling a different story. Whether it’s due to the source of the information, the stage of the customer’s journey or the API and integrations available, tools can track the same information in entirely different ways.
By using the same definitions and sources of data — with total transparency and visibility — teams gain insights into customer behavior and revenue performance. This enables them to develop targeted marketing campaigns, improve lead quality, and refine the sales process, resulting in better alignment and more effective revenue generation.
Unify your tech stack
Sales, marketing and other revenue teams often have different tech budgets, which is how we see various tools adopted and used, creating the disparate data sources discussed above.
Which tools are used, by whom and in what way, can go back years, informing processes for better or worse across entire organizations.
The tech stack needs to support the strategy and growth motions. In an ideal world, tools would integrate across revenue teams for seamless data sharing, efficient workflows and enhanced collaboration. Working with the same tools leads to speaking the same language, resulting in more effective execution and a more holistic customer experience.
The first step to driving alignment across team tools is a technology audit, where each team identifies which tech they use and for what purpose. A revenue operations team, or even a small committee of representatives from revenue teams, can then examine where they have overlaps or gaps. They can then determine which tools can be retired or integrated. They can also review which modern technologies need to be added to drive success — consider customer buying intent, AI and customer experience tools.
Measure contribution vs. attribution
When it comes to performance measurement, revenue teams and their leaders often have a desire — and potentially a business need — to demonstrate each team’s attribution. Essentially, to show their team is pulling its weight. But organizations must understand that the purchasing process and the buyer’s journey are too complex, and no system can connect all the dots, so attribution can never be a perfect measure.
That’s why revenue teams need to measure how the combination of different tactics impacts the sales process, helps create opportunities and moves them through the sales cycle. Essentially, how each team contributed to driving revenue. Agreeing on how teams will be benchmarked — and where those responsibilities and metrics overlap — is critical to ensuring teams are aligned and moving forward productively.
As an example, to measure overall marketing contribution to pipeline and revenue, organizations are moving away from tracking MQLs, SQLs and marketing-sourced deals. Instead, they are moving towards driving target account engagement, improved deal velocity, higher ACV and increased close-won rates for both prospects and customers.
Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
Regular meetings, joint planning sessions, and shared pipeline reviews can facilitate information exchange, foster mutual understanding, and align strategies and tactics.
Collaboration efforts can also help identify challenges and resolve conflicts between the teams. By keeping to a regular cadence and aligning on goals, your teams can build trust.
When sales complain that they don’t get enough leads or that the leads are 'garbage', it’s an opportunity to step back and discuss together. Are we looking for more leads, or do we need to invest in target account outreach to drive more engagement and qualify accounts? How do we define well-qualified accounts?
By going into revenue alignment conversations with questions instead of assumptions, teams can work together to build an ideal customer profile, define the target accounts, develop a content strategy to nurture those targets and even create reporting that demonstrates how efforts are progressing.
This isn’t just a process change — it’s a significant culture shift. Everyone has to be on board for it to be successful. Leaders must ensure revenue teams are accountable and committed to the aligned and agreed-upon goals, but also flexible enough to pivot when things don’t go as planned. Alignment is a constantly iterating process, so don’t expect change to happen overnight.
Continuously improve with feedback
Revenue teams should regularly review their performance metrics, share feedback and identify areas for improvement. By analyzing successes and failures together, both teams can learn from each other's experiences, iterate on their strategies and make data-informed adjustments to their processes.
With these best practices, organizations can ensure a seamless transition of leads from marketing to sales, maximizing conversion rates and revenue generation.
Alignment is possible
Aligning revenue teams — sales, marketing, partnerships, customer success and RevOps — is essential for driving revenue growth. By prioritizing a unified strategy, shared goals, data-driven decision-making, integrated technology and a commitment to continuous improvement, organizations can overcome challenges and pivot their approach for improved collaboration, customer satisfaction and long-term success.
About the Author
Julija Noskova is a strategic, transformational marketing executive with 20+ years of experience driving growth for international tech companies like Medallia and Softchoice. She focuses on building go-to-market strategies, creating demand, scaling revenue, and developing high-performance teams. Having done this in both publicly traded and privately owned high-growth organizations in times of economic growth and recession, she knows how to pivot fast, alter the strategy, and zoom in on what matters.
Over the course of her career, Julija has built a reputation of being a change agent who thrives in ambiguity, challenges the status quo, creates a strong vision and delivers improvements in sales and marketing ROI. She is skilled at managing multiple stakeholders, bringing alignment between sales and marketing, and designing practical integrated marketing strategies and campaigns to deliver significant bottom-line results.
Connect with Julija on LinkedIn.
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