Aligning sales and marketing is a challenge nearly every organization faces, and it’s a problem that runs deep.
Coordinating sales and marketing teams takes dedication, time, and most likely a serious overhaul of your current processes. Even though it’s difficult, every company needs to take a hard look at this common issue.
Without properly aligning sales and marketing, your organization is losing out on leads, closed deals, and revenue. In fact, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment see a 20% annual growth rate, compared to those who have poor coordination, and see a 4% decline in revenue.
Unfortunately, aligning the two teams is not a simple task. Start digging deeper into which issues your team might be struggling with by reviewing the most common issues and solutions listed below.
Top Issues When Aligning Sales and Marketing
Even though they’re technically working towards the same general goals, sales and marketing don’t see it that way. The age old rivalry exists because both teams use completely different strategies, and they both happen to think they’re superior. They are also recognized by their companies for different things in unique ways. This naturally creates competition, which unfortunately prevents the teams from working together. So much so that sales reps ignore 50% of marketing leads, and 76% of content marketers forget about sales enablement entirely. Don’t let old rivalries make your organization inefficient.
Take time to sit your teams down together. Explain how and why they are working toward the same goals. Show them how each team brings value, and how they are both critical for success. If you are showcasing or applauding one team more than the other, change it. Make sure you’re awarding both teams equally for the resources and skills they are bringing to the mix.
Even if sales and marketing understand they’re working towards the same end goal, it doesn’t change the fact that they have different pressures. Sales feels the heat from monthly, quarterly and annual quotas, while marketing is typically focused on project completion. One team is highly monitored, while the other is perceived to have a more relaxed environment. These blatant distinctions naturally cause tension. Neither sales nor marketing thinks the other team understands their situation.
Open communication diffuses negative feelings surrounding the difference in marketing and sales roles. Discussing role perceptions and compensation is a good place to start. Remind your sales reps that while they’re under more pressure, they typically earn greater rewards. Instead of harping on differences, coach your sales reps to use marketing to their advantage and reach their quotas faster.
A little bit of tension makes sense when one team regularly dives into change, and the other struggles to dip a toe in. Marketing continuously evolves with changing technology and buyer patterns. Most sales teams are still relying on methods that have stood the test of time. There’s no doubt your sales reps are tired of hearing all the new “stuff” they need to integrate into their daily schedules.
Get more involved. Leadership needs to take a stance by guiding the right interactions between sales and marketing. It’s important for sales leaders to step in and help their sales reps evolve when necessary, but also protect them from unnecessary work. Require leadership approval for new initiatives to keep an eye on who is dictating orders. Encourage communication and team evolution in a smart way.
Aligning sales and marketing used to be an easy task. Roles were defined, and responsibilities were easily delegated. Now, sales and marketing have developed into blended strategies making it difficult to see a clear path. Add in social selling and increased levels of pre-sale buyer research and your teams are likely suffering from some underlying tension.
Marketing, branding and messaging have a bigger impact on buyers than ever before, because 57% of the buyer’s journey is now completed before they ever speak to a sales rep. If your teams aren’t aligned, your sales rep only has a 43% influence over sales coming in the door.
Create a sales and marketing service level agreement (SLA) that clearly outlines numerical goals by team in addition to roles and responsibilities. Then, track progress with complete transparency to hold both teams accountable and keep them engaged. Only 30% of CMOs have a clear process outlined to make aligning sales and marketing a priority. If you’re one of the 60% who doesn’t, it’s time to get something updated on paper. This initiative will help your sales and marketing teams say goodbye to confusion, and hello to purposeful collaboration.
In case you missed the underlying thread, the biggest problem when it comes to aligning sales and marketing is communication. Separate teams and managers lead to siloed departments that have hardly any communication at all. Sales and marketing have different work areas, meetings, professional requirements, and even social gatherings. This is great for individual team bonding, but detrimental to your organization as a whole.
To get your sales and marketing teams to work together, start at the top. Leadership should set the tone. Have your sales and marketing managers coordinate schedules, projects, and goals. They should co-lead meetings, and set up an office layout that encourages natural collaboration. If your sales and marketing leaders aren’t successfully communicating together you can bet your employees won’t be either.
Your organization needs to take aligning sales and marketing seriously. Without successful coordination your company is operating inefficiently and losing critical revenue. Tackling these common alignment issues one at a time will help put your teams on the path towards dynamic collaboration that leaves a lasting mark on your success.
Want More on Marketing and Sales?
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