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What is Sales and Marketing Alignment?

Category: Sales

Written by: Kade Wilcox

Posted on: August 14, 2018

Historically, businesses have operated with their marketing and sales teams in separate silos or lanes. These two departments have worked independently of one another, with their own leadership, goals, strategies, and processes. Marketing had their own means of generating leads for the sales team, and then the sales team had their own process for identifying the most qualified leads and trying to turn them into customers. While this type of organization might have worked in the past, it does not typically succeed with today’s customers.

The technology and resources that are available today means that customers in the 21st century are more informed and empowered than they have ever been before. They expect transparency and consistency in their experience with your business. If they are receiving a very disjointed experience when they are handed off from your marketing to your sales team, you will lose them as a prospect. The only way to combat this result and provide a truly positive, seamless experience for your customer is through sales and marketing alignment.

Sales and Marketing Alignment Defined

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Sales and marketing alignment is the coordination of your marketing and sales teams: they share the same goals and objectives, all based around the purpose of generating revenue. They also support one another in their work. Your sales team influences the kinds of leads marketing works to attract and the content they use to do so. Marketing communicates data and analytics to sales, along with sharing content, resources, and information about qualified leads.

The crux of sales and marketing alignment is that these two teams are owning success and failure together. Both teams have something to learn from a lead that is lost, and a closed deal doesn’t earn one salesman a pat on the back - it happens because of all the work marketing and sales have done.

The Benefits of This Approach

The beauty of this approach is that it impacts so much more than just your sales and marketing teams. Some of the benefits of this approach include:

  • A better customer experience. At the end of the day, aligning your marketing and sales teams is all about the customer: creating a positive visitor experience that leaves no doubt your business is the best choice to meet their needs.
  • Fewer missed opportunities. When sales and marketing are not working under a common goal with a plan for communication, leads can fall through the cracks. Even worse, a lead can be turned away when they are handed off to a sales rep who hasn’t been informed about the lead. Aligning sales and marketing means that leads don’t fall through the cracks, and opportunities are capitalized on instead of lost.
  • Better use of people and resources. Aligning marketing and sales allows you to better use the tools and resources you already have. Instead of paying for separate software, both teams could use a CRM tool like Hubspot or Marketo. You might even find that the two teams can share the value of certain positions, such as a graphic designer or someone who specializes in analyzing data.  
  • Stronger, more confident teams. It is impossible to align sales and marketing without creating clear strategies and processes and a plan for communicating information about leads. This clarity results in more confident, better prepared individuals on both teams.

3 Steps to Align Sales and Marketing

Aligning your sales and marketing teams will not happen overnight. But, here are some ways to begin the process.

  1. Create shared goals and objectives. At the end of the day, your marketing and sales teams are working to generate revenue for your business. Make it clear to your teams that they are both working to achieve this goal.
  2. Set up a plan of action between the two teams. After establishing these shared goals, create a plan for the two teams to work together. How will sales influence marketing? How will the marketing team pass on information about leads?
  3. Set up regular meetings and communication. There needs to be a plan and a process to discuss goals (and progress toward them), create strategies, learn about leads and prospects, and plan the content and resources both teams need to succeed. These meetings also need to serve as a chance to celebrate victories and regroup after losses.

Aligning your sales and marketing departments is one of the most effective ways to reach today’s customers and grow your business. Without it, your business will have a disjointed customer experience that lets leads fall through the cracks and results in missed opportunities.

Want to learn more about the importance of adapting your business structure to succeed in the 21st century? Download our free eBook below!

The New Reality of Sales