What Sales & Marketing Alignment Looks Like

Published on: | Updated on: | Trisha Miles


Aligning sales and marketing teams is critical to any B2B marketing team’s success, yet it is one of the most elusive tasks for any marketing or sales leader. 

Achieve True Marketing & Sales Alignment

Jesse Sun, Regional Vice President of Sales at Salesforce, discusses the most critical steps to take, as well as the pitfalls to avoid when trying to achieve alignment between these teams in this episode of our Marketing Expert Chat series. 

Give it a listen to hear his insights! 


Video Transcript:


CAROLINE: Hi, today I have the opportunity of sitting down with Jesse Sun. Jesse is a great sales leader. He has been leading sales for start-up companies and large companies. He previously led sales for a company that was acquired by Microsoft, and now he is working as a regional VP of Sales at Salesforce. Jesse, thank you for being with me today.

JESSE: Caroline, thank you for having me.

CAROLINE: So today, we’re going to talk a little bit about obviously, sales and marketing. And there are a lot of talks about sales and marketing alignment, but, you know, this is easier said than done.

And I know you’re really good at aligning sales and marketing because we’ve had the opportunity to work together. In your experience, what would you say are the most important steps to really align sales and marketing effectively, and what are the pitfalls to avoid?

JESSE: Yeah, that’s a really good question Caroline. I think alignment, being the focus word here, is so important. And I think it starts with the leaders, right. So, it takes two very, very strong-minded leaders that are willing to work together, in partnership. I think sharing the accountability, because we’re all on the same team at the end of the day, right. And driving that alignment between two leaders like in sales or in marketing, requires that the KPIs be clearly defined and agreed upon. So that there’s no uncertainty or ambiguity.

Having a good process and methodology, around the marketing effort, and the sales effort, are also key components to creating a really smooth fly wheel and engine, that needs to run. And so, I think some of the pitfalls is, the opposite of that, you know, unclear definitions or KPIs, like the definition of a sales-qualified lead, or a marketing-qualified lead, and how do you count those. And even all the way down to, how the incentives work, right, between the seller and how the organizational structure is aligned.

So, for example, a lot of traditional sales teams will carry a business development rep. Or a sales development rep, right. A BDR or an SDR. But, as I have seen in my past, more and more of those roles are actually sitting within the marketing organization. Because it’s all about sharing that accountability, and this is one of the things that I think organizations that do this well, between sales and marketing, is that they’re sharing the accountability from lead generation to pipe qualification, all the way up into forecasting and closure. So that everybody, we’re all on the same team, and everybody wins.

CAROLINE: All right, yeah, that’s a really good point. And I think, from my experience as well, seeing both the marketing and sales leader work together like they are on the same team, makes a huge difference, and you cannot really get this alignment unless these two people really work together, and move the ball forward on this.

JESSE: Yep, yep, hundred percent.

CAROLINE: All right, well Jesse, thank you so much. And tune in soon for our next episode!

JESSE: Thanks for having me, Caroline!