Insights to enhance your B2B healthcare sales and marketing efforts.

Best Practices to Align your Sales and Marketing Teams  

You may assume marketing and sales teams naturally function in lockstep. They share the same core goal: to grow the business they serve. However, if you are a sales or marketing professional, it is likely you have felt friction between the two groups. Unfortunately, not all marketing and sales teams speak the same language. Despite sharing the same long-term mission, short-term priorities can clash when not aligned. This misalignment is compounded when the teams do not serve each other, share insights, and establish mutual measurable goals.

Many marketing and sales departments tend to work in silos and do not have many opportunities to collaborate. The result is that the marketing person suggesting the blog post topic or authoring the ad copy is completely disconnected from the salesperson’s growth goals and the real-world questions the sales rep gets every day. The less communication and collaboration between the two parties, the less effective both teams become. Sales departments grow resentful feeling they never have materials that resonate, while marketing teams feel like short-order-cooks catering under pressure to business development whims.

This story may sound familiar to you, but it does not have to be this way. Marketing and sales teams can, and should, align and collaborate. Even if the sales team is more focused on quota and the marketing team centers more on presentation and messaging, the two departments can benefit from leveraging each other’s strengths. Successful coordination starts with developing a culture of openness and partnership between marketers and salespeople in which both teams function as one communicative, cohesive growth team.

Establishing true alignment is no small task, especially if the “us versus them” culture is engrained. However, when the two groups navigate the dip between adversarial obligations to each other and willingly enrich each other’s work—the result is a more efficient sales and marketing machine that delivers more, higher quality prospects and nurtures them through your organization’s sales pipeline.

In our experience aligning sales and marketing efforts over the past decade, these four pillars drive successful cohesion:  

  1. Promote open communication.
  2. Establish shared incentives.
  3. Clearly communicate success metrics.
  4. Establish consistent practices to make sure you are reinforcing all the above.

Here is why it is so important to align your teams, and some practical tips for achieving all four of those lofty goals.

Why Should Your Marketing and Sales Teams Be Aligned?

Sales and marketing teams tend to stick to their own circle. If there are not any obvious issues and business is steadily ticking up, does it matter if the strategy is aligned across each team?

It really does.

If open two-way communication and knowledge sharing are missing, then you are leaving growth opportunities on the table.

The long business-to-business healthcare sales cycle means a single campaign, message or presentation is rarely the silver bullet that immediately generates new clients. Rather, meaningful results come from the collective effect of many sales and marketing efforts at every level of the sales funnel over a period. The longer the buyer journey, the more crucial marketing, and sales rapport becomes. When sales and marketing communicate, they can collaborate to refine messaging in the market over time and build new materials and campaigns that resonate.

Marketers miss the full picture if they are buried in Google Analytics and spec sheets for the new convention booth. Sure, those things are necessary and matter. However, the most important thing a marketer can do is understand the up-to-date questions prospects are asking and what customers appreciate about the business. As it turns out, salespeople (and operational colleagues) have those answers.

Salespeople miss opportunities to refresh and refine messaging when they are buried in calls and CRM data entry. The most effective salespeople are great listeners, and they practice and refine their pitch based on what they hear. As it turns out, marketers are professional communicators, experts at crafting effective messages that get to the heart of audience pain points.

Looking at it this way, it seems clear the two parties can make each other more effective. While members of both teams have differing strengths, they both benefit when they share strategies, data, and feedback across the cubicle wall (or Zoom room).

4 Tips for Aligning Healthcare Business-to-Business Sales and Marketing Teams:  

1. Develop a culture of open communication. 

Set regular meetings (even if they’re remote) for both teams to share their priorities, successes, challenges, and questions. Include an agenda to help everyone prepare to make the meeting more productive. If some are hesitant to engage, invite opinions from individual members of both teams (after all, you’re looking for a conversation and collaboration; not for your sales and marketing leaders to recite a weekly report).   If communication between the team members isn’t common, interactions could be tense in the beginning. With strong sales and marketing leaders committed to alignment, the teams can find common ground. As the teams come together more frequently, they become more comfortable asking questions and challenging each other in healthy, respectful ways.   Meeting regularly is a starting point to identify opportunities to share strategies and insights between teams. You are on the right track when you start to see sales and marketing team members collaborating outside of scheduled meetings. 

2. Establish shared incentives for both teams. 

Is your marketing leader focused on higher email engagement, while your sales team is focused on signed contracts? It’s expected for these two teams to have different areas of focus. But you can align them by developing a few shared goals. When they achieve those goals, both teams should be rewarded. And when they fall behind, assign an owner from both departments to address the challenge and work toward a solution together.  Examples of shared goals can be around email opt-ins gained, leads generated, proposal/RFP submissions signed contracts, or whatever aligns the teams. The goal should be something both teams have the power to impact. Each team can break the goal down into more specific objectives, like a number of weekly phone calls or ideal cost per conversion. But if both sales and marketing are working toward the same end goal, everyone is encouraged to collaborate.

3. Clarify your high-level success metrics. 

Both teams have different KPIs, and for good reason. Sales reps aren’t responsible for creating a content strategy or monitoring how many people download a whitepaper and marketers are not earning commission or pitching prospects.

But on a higher level, both teams should work toward the same measures of success. If you’re ultimately looking at the number of contracts closed, then members of both sales and marketing should always be aware of where your organization stands in relation to that goal. 

Prepare an easy-to-read report showing progress toward that goal and set regular times to review with both teams. By sharing that progress, everyone becomes invested in the shared objectives and they look for ways to support that goal. 

Reviewing successes and challenges, at every stage of your pipeline, with both teams also provides great insight. This gives the sales team an opportunity to share channels that are driving the most relevant leads. Your marketing team should look for lead generation trends across the pipeline, so they know which efforts are getting impactful results. 


Make collaboration a habit so you continue fostering transparent communication between sales and marketing. If you follow these best practices (consistently), then communication between these two teams will improve. And communication and morale across your entire organization are likely to benefit. 

Make time for these collaborative meetings. Discuss sales plans together for the quarter ahead. Create a calendar and plan that specifically outlines how the marketing team’s efforts will support sales campaigns. Give both teams visibility into campaign success metrics. Though some sales and marketing efforts will be executed separately, a large portion of strategy and plans should be shared to be effective.

A More Collaborative Culture Leads to More Sales

Facilitating ongoing communication not only diminishes an adversarial dynamic between sales and marketing but also establishes a culture of comradery. Over time, the two teams will naturally approach challenges collaboratively. Through more exposure and communication, sales and marketing team members ask genuine questions and offer honest answers. And most importantly, they become invested in each other’s success. 

Sales and marketing partnership goes beyond shared happy hours. It leads to actual dollars for your business and a more pleasant, productive working dynamic for your sales and marketing teams.  

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