One trillion dollars. That’s the amount in a recent year that was wasted due to sales and marketing misalignment . On the other hand, companies with good alignment enjoy up to 19% revenue growth year over year and are 15% more profitable. So, making sales and marketing alignment happen would seem like a top priority as an easy win. The sad reality is only 8% of companies believe their sale and marketing teams are truly aligned. What’s going on?
Why is alignment so hard?
Poor communication and separation of the teams are the usual culprits. Over time, this leads to different goals, metrics, and language being used. Enter the silos. The sales team is doing its own thing, occasionally giving marketing a belated high-five over that one out of twenty great leads and marketing keeps pumping out content and campaigns convinced it’s driving sales but the measured results are always a little cloudy, up for interpretation. They see each other at the company town halls, glad-handing each other with promises of working more closely.
Steps for greater sales and marketing alignment
- True alignment is a management decision.
When management makes achieving and maintaining alignment part of the overall strategy directly tied into their vision, the rest of the steps listed below can happen so much easier. The opposite is also true. If management is not behind it, the sales and marketing teams will have some success using the rest of the steps, however, it will be harder earned and more easily lost. The best and longest-lasting alignment will come from the top down.
- One team mindset.
Whether there is technically one, two, or multiple sales and marketing teams, it’s critical for alignment that there is a one-team mindset, like runners in a race handing the baton off to one another. Workflows, campaigns, strategy, goals, wins, and losses should be experienced together. Instead of seeing overlaps, it becomes an active collaboration and workflow handoff. This works especially well when some or all of the marketing is handled by an agency. A one-team mindset ensures everyone is working together and toward the same goal.
- Meet, meet, meet.
For alignment, it’s critical for sales and marketing to meet regularly and meaningfully. According to this recent B2B marketing and sales benchmark report, a full one-third of sales and marketing teams do not have a regularly scheduled meeting. It’s no wonder that 37% of misaligned companies do not meet their revenue goals. As a start, attend each other’s meetings. For example, marketing attending the regular sales meetings. Marketers, use the time to share details about the next campaign and materials to be used. Solicit honest feedback from sales about what is working what isn’t. Just as important, take time to get to know each other and build trust. Marketing should also meet with the sales managers for a monthly strategy session. Go over the latest results, identify any learnings, and decide together how to put them to act immediately.
- Cross-train and job shadow.
At the individual level, one of the best ways to begin alignment is by truly understanding what the other side is doing. This should happen not just with the big picture functions but also with the smaller everyday workflows and thinking. Job shadowing is an effective way to do this. Spend a day seeing what they do. Ask lots of questions to understand the thought process and rationale. Inevitably, there will be undiscovered areas of overlap and plenty of eye-opening “ah-ha” moments for both.
- Shared metrics, goals, analysis, and reporting.
The odds are that marketing is using a different set of metrics and goals than sales. Marketing will have goals connected to open and click-through rates whereas sales may only set goals based on completed deals. Even where there is clear overlap, the reporting and analysis may paint two completely different stories. Share the reporting and analysis along with any learnings and action points. Identify the overlap and connect the dots between metrics and goals. Combine it all into one report so that the “team” is seeing the whole picture when setting joint goals and planning strategy.
- Coordinated communication.
Constant and effective communication between sales and marketing cannot be overemphasized. The quality of communication will enhance or destroy any of the previous five steps. At its core, good communication is clear, regular, planned, and is two-way. Start with sharing the marketing calendar in a format that makes sense to sales. Give access to all the promotional material and supply talking points. Solicit and apply feedback on upcoming campaigns. Next, ensure there is a clear lead-flow process and a point-person on both sides. Calibrate the lead flow process itself. What is a lead? How is that different from a qualified lead? How quickly is a lead followed up? Why are some leads not being followed up? As good communication becomes the norm, more honesty and trust will be built further cementing the alignment process.
Alignment is good business
Sales and marketing alignment is simply superior business. Here at ArchKATect, our marketing model is deeply rooted in strong alignment with your sales and marketing teams. From our first conversation to every meeting and follow-up, we want to ensure we understand your vision, thought process, and workflow. This lets us design solutions that not only have an immediate impact but provide a foundation for growth. We want to be your marketing partner. Let’s talk.
References AND RESOURCES
- LinkedIn Marketing Blog. (n.d.). Introducing “The Art of Winning,” Your Ultimate Guide to Marketing & Sales Orchestration. [online] Available at: https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/sales-and-marketing/2018/introducing-the-art-of-winning-marketing-and-sales-orchestration-ebook [Accessed 21 Aug. 2021].
- FAST FACTS An Amazing Compendium of Marketing & Sales Statistics. (n.d.). [online] . Available at: https://ledgeviewpartners.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/LVP-Act-On-Fast-Facts.pdf [Accessed 21 Aug. 2021].
- https://blog.zoominfo.com/. (n.d.). 20 Sales and Marketing Alignment Statistics | ZoomInfo Blog. [online] Available at: https://blog.zoominfo.com/sales-and-marketing-alignment-statistics/ [Accessed 21 Aug. 2021
- Kapost. (n.d.). 2018 B2B Marketing and Sales Alignment Benchmark. [online] Available at: https://uplandsoftware.com/kapost/resources/ebook/2018-sales-and-marketing-alignment-report/ [Accessed 21 Aug. 2021].
- Review42. (2020). 63+ Stupefying Sales and Marketing Alignment Stats. [online] Available at: https://review42.com/resources/sales-and-marketing-alignment-stats/ [Accessed 21 Aug. 2021].