Aligning Sales and Marketing has an immediate impact on increasing business performance
Historically sales and marketing have struggled to work well together, at great expense to many companies. Attempts to align sales and marketing were often met with disaccord as each department had different priorities and demands on their performance.
The disconnect between sales and marketing is so deeply ingrained that their arguments sound nearly clichéd at this point. Sales organisations constantly complain about not getting enough leads from marketing, often saying the ones they do get aren’t ready to buy. And vice versa: marketing organisations argue that passing their leads to sales is the equivalent of consigning them to a black hole – with no visibility, feedback, or measurable return on investment. These operational silos between sales and marketing can be found throughout every industry.
For CEOs, the problem with misaligned sales and marketing teams is the inefficient processes being created, ineffective campaigns being developed and ultimately wasting time creating content without a clear objective. Sales will negate marketing’s contribution as they see first hand the misalignment affecting the target customers. Companies with misaligned sales and marketing teams operating separately place themselves at a disadvantage.
Today, Sales and Marketing have the same goals: to deliver sales revenue
With your marketing and sales teams sharing the same goal, it is crucial to get them in sync. When the teams are on the same page working to an agreed plan, it presents potentially the largest opportunity for improving business performance today.
When marketing and sales teams unite, they dramatically improve marketing return on investment (ROI), sales productivity, and, most importantly, top-line growth.
The market has changed, and today it is imperative that marketing and sales are aligned and contributing to the execution of the company strategy. Never before has such emphasis been placed on marketing’s ability to generate quality leads. One of marketing’s greatest challenges is the lack of a clear sales plan they can rely on to build their tactics to support sales and generate the right leads.
With traditional practices such as cold calling no longer a reliable lead generation method, marketing must be engaged in demand generation, taking up the function that was previously performed by sales. Today, new buyers are entering the sales process much later and marketing must capture those buyers and engage them in the early stages of their exploration. The internet has changed how customers buy and most will only engage with sales once they have reached the point of final selection. The opportunity of influencing buyers is becoming more difficult as they operate in a stealth-like approach for most of the process. Once the buyer appears, sales must seamlessly handle them through to closure, which requires careful management.
Companies need to make this important change of alignment to remain current in today’s market.
Aligning Sales and Marketing requires careful management of these contributing factors:
The alignment of sales and marketing to the company strategy is vital for organisational success. A clear understanding of the company strategy, clarity, and agreement on the markets, products, customer profiles, motivations, and buyer journey needs to be synchronised between marketing and sales. A common understanding, terminology, and intent; this is critical to the alignment process.
The software requirements of both teams need to be considered and one solution identified. Parameters should be set in place that considers how it will be used by both teams to manage the buyer experience and deliver sales goals. The customer data will be central to all activities and is pivotal for the reporting requirements across both teams—the measurement of marketing ROI equally as important as the measurement of sales. It requires tasks to be completed such as:
- Understanding the new buyer behaviours in your specific industry
- Understanding buyers’ engagement through varying sales channels
- Creation of a documented sales plan outlining the right profile of customers to be acquired
- Identifying how to reach your target customers in more ways for demand generation
- Identifying gaps where customers will depart the buying process
- Developing robust plans to create a seamless experience for buyers
- Creating action plans to incorporate trends such as social media, latest web principles, and other traditional and non-traditional concepts to maintain engagement
- Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing to sales handover
- Creating feedback mechanisms for continual improvement.
When these factors are connected, you achieve alignment between sales and marketing. It is a complex task and one that requires fresh thinking.
How do we align sales and marketing?
Sales Focus Advisory assists companies to workshop with both sales and marketing teams to review the company strategy and gain agreement on the direction, customer profiles, markets, and other factors. All attendees have a voice to develop a mutual plan and agreement on the buyer journey and engagement. Follow through with regular scheduled meetings to keep track of progress and communicate freely about workflow progress, barriers, and wins. These workshops are the start of aligning sales and marketing. They have been an integral part of our transformation consulting in the past decade.
When you align sales and marketing, you can reduce costs and an increase in growth, according to:
- Aberdeen Group (UK) report it can lead to a 32% increase in year-over-year (YoY) revenue growth
- Wheelhouse Advisors (UK) report it can lead to 208% growth in marketing produced revenue
- Marketing Profs (USA) can lead to 38% higher sales win rates
There is much more discussed around the alignment of sales and marketing in our book The Sales Focused CEO: looking at business through a new lens.
If you would like to start exploring the alignment of your sales and marketing, please reach out to the office to organise a time to discuss your specific situation.