According to Forrester Research, only eight percent of B2B companies say they have tight alignment between sales and marketing. That means that 92 percent of organizations have a marketing and sales alignment problem. And an alignment problem is a business problem because without alignment, a company cannot effectively execute.
First, it’s important to discuss what approaches do not work. Alignment cannot be achieved by simply integrating your marketing automation system with Salesforce.com. It’s not about defining a new lead management approach. And simply creating more content and tools won’t align anything. True marketing and sales alignment requires a fundamental shift. Here are some strategies and tactics that can help you get on the alignment path.
Adopt the right goal.
Too often, marketing and sales each have individual goals that seem compatible. Marketing creates sales messaging and tools and generates leads for the sales team. Sales uses the messaging and tools to transform those leads into revenue. In practice, however, it rarely works this way. You hear the following complaint from both sides: “we’re doing our job, but they just don’t get it.” The problem with these goals is that they foster an us-versus-them attitude and miss the big picture. Ultimately, marketing and sales share – and must be aligned to achieve – one goal: to get customers to choose you.
Make message development a team effort.
Most organizations develop messages in a silo with little input from key stakeholders across the value chain, in particular those who actually have the conversations with customers. But effective messaging requires sales and marketing to work together. Sales, who talks to prospective and current customers every day, brings insight into the real-life problems that customers are looking to solve. And, as the people who will choose to use – or not use – the tools that marketing teams work so hard to develop, including them in the process will ensure that the materials developed will, in fact, be used.
Run an effective relay race.
When marketing and sales compete with each other, the company can’t effectively compete in the market. An aligned marketing and sales organization, on the other hand, works as a team and takes a relay-race approach. Marketing develops the content and tools that create the buying vision, then sales takes the baton and engages with the customer to get them to choose you.
Pick an effective starting point.
I know what you are thinking: “This sounds good, but where do we start?” According to a SiriusDecisions survey, the biggest inhibitor salespeople see to achieving their quota – that is, getting enough customers to choose you – is the inability to communicate value messages. As an aligned team, identify the key weak spots in your value messages and then work together to develop the messages, content, and sales tools to create and communicate the buying vision.
At Corporate Visions, we know that aligning marketing and sales can be challenging. That’s why we’ve crafted a portfolio of solutions designed to help organizations achieve true marketing and sales alignment.
Learn more about this topic
Check out these resources to help you align marketing and sales:
- Report: Sales & Marketing Messaging Report Special Edition 2011 – Marketing and Sales Alignment Conference
- On-demand webinar: Sales Enablement – It’s called “sales enablement,” but it starts with marketing. And, it ends with sales getting the messages, tools and training they need, when they need it. This webinar provides insights that both marketing and sales executives need to hear.
- Executive briefing: Experience our solutions for yourself in a three-hour, executive briefing session near you