What’s the key to driving sustained sales and marketing alignment? Director of Marketing Jeremy Boudinet explains in this excerpt from his new eBook, The Sales-Marketing Alignment Playbook.

The long-term success of your sales-marketing alignment efforts will depend on the efficiency of your process and engagement of your personnel.

The teams that get an edge in sales-marketing alignment will be those who maintain commitment to overarching strategy and continuously seek ways to further improve alignment.

That being said, the challenges in reaching sustained commitment are substantial.

By adding or altering expectations around goals and behaviors, you’re creating change and thus naturally triggering anxiety. You face the difficulty of creating buy-in that your new strategy is an improvement on your prior process, which your personnel have spent years being taught and trained to follow.

Last but not least, old habits die hard. Even if you succeed in getting early adoption, there’s a real probability that adherence to the new strategy will taper off over time as people revert back to behaviors with which they feel more comfortable.

Driving Long-Term Sales and Marketing KPI Accountability

Engagement, as they say about physical fitness, is a journey rather than a destination. Sustained engagement requires personalized missions and a commitment to coaching.

Pictured: How frustrated executives feel towards their disengaged sales team.

But most of all, it requires a sales and marketing team that internalizes feelings of accountability towards their KPIs and to the overall process.

Those feelings do not come naturally. The de facto payoff for sales and marketing professionals is, respectively, closing a major new deal or inbounding a huge, highly-qualified lead.

Every sales organization worth its weight in salt is already incentivizing those behaviors. But in order to create a sustained sense of accountability to a newly-minted sales-marketing alignment initiative, you’re going to need more.

Where many organizations err is the tactical approach or approaches used to facilitate KPI accountability. A few examples of errant tactics:

  • Take the Big Brother approach to using technology.
  • Chastise poor performers and non-compliants publicly.
  • Implement workplace contests around a single KPI.
  • Offer impersonal rewards for great performance. (Ex. gift cards).

Such tactics not only fail to solve the issue of KPI accountability, they often exacerbate the very problems they’re attempting to solve.

To that point, it’s important to elucidate measures that are actually proven to accomplish the goal of sustained KPI accountability.

Problem: It’s tough to maintain long-term Sales and Marketing KPI accountability.

It’s important to understand that the natural response of your personnel to KPIs will be negative. A major cause of their antipathy invariably goes toward the data implementation required to track KPIs.

Not only is data implementation tedious and time-consuming, it’s a momentum killer that forces your employees to redirect their attention away from the revenue-generating activities they’re paid to perform.

Employee engagement

The above chart is instructive, in that it illustrates how Implementing KPI data (ex. outbound phone calls, leads generated, leads converted) into a CRM or other data source pushes 99 percent of sales and marketing professionals into the “Boredom Area.”

Even worse, when they’re finally able to return to more challenging activities, the time lapse that has taken place can elevate the perceived Challenge Level associated with their KPIs, creating a recurring state of flux between boredom and anxiety.

A seemingly insurmountable set of problems, right? Actually, quite the opposite.

Before you get discouraged and decide to ditch this entire initiative, look into adopting the five measures we’re about to share with you. They are basic, surefire solutions that allow you to proactively combat and overcome every challenge we just covered.

Solution: Adopt measures to internalize Sales and Marketing KPI accountability.

The long-term success of your sales-marketing alignment strategy is contingent upon personnel accountability to their KPIs. To achieve accountability, however, you’ll need to overcome the challenges inherent in adopting a KPI-driven process.

Here are the five best measures you can adopt to do so:

  • Automate data entry
  • Grant access to relevant KPI data
  • Incentivize team communication
  • Run holistic contests
  • Recognize strong KPI performance

While some of these measures may seem facially obvious, there’s actually a relative degree of nuance to their proper execution. To see them fleshed out, direct your attention to the table below.

Adopted independently, each measure will prove potent in combating the challenges of sustaining a KPI-driven strategy. With that said, we encourage you to adopt as many as you can, so as to compound their impact on your team’s accountability.

If it hasn’t already struck you, there’s a synergy to all five of these measures — with the exception of data entry automation, they’re all natural enhancers of organizational communication.

Over time, their value-adds will become more and more pronounced, in terms of aligning not just the actual processes in your sales and marketing efforts, but the communication amongst each team’s personnel.

For its part, the value adds of data entry automation — time saved, fluidity of workflow and removal of human error — will be invaluable to a sustainable KPI-driven set of processes. The return-on-investment, immediate and continuing into perpetuity.

When the majority of your personnel begin seeing their KPIs not as a source of tedium and anxiety, but of empowerment, the climb to the summit is almost over. Your team will have achieved sustainable sales-marketing alignment.

Maintaining Accountability to Sales and Marketing KPIs

The true potential of your business team will always be predicated upon the raw talent, artistry and perseverance of its membership.

The purpose of KPI-driven sales-marketing alignment is to enhance and refine those aspects of your personnel. To achieve sustainability, you’ll have to overcome the hurdles that inherent in any KPI-driven initiative.

If you’re going to adopt any new technology for your sales and marketing team, it should enable you to perform one or more of the following measures:

  • Automate data entry
  • Grant access to relevant KPI data
  • Incentivize team communication
  • Run holistic contests
  • Recognize strong KPI performance

The greater the number of measures you adopt, and the longer you use them within your business team, the greater your progress will be towards achieving long-term KPI accountability and sustainable sales-marketing alignment.

Thanks for reading.

Click here to download your free copy of The Sales-Marketing Playbook from the Ambition Academy.