Sales and marketing alignment is so often an after thought, if it's a thought at all. How many of these do you recognise?
“What are marketing doing? I have huge targets to hit and they are worrying about the font and colour of the corporate presentation. Why aren’t we getting any well qualified leads through that I can get in there and close?”
“We’re trying to run these campaigns, and yet sales won’t give us the data to add to our mailing list. If they don’t provide their customer and prospect contact details, we can’t be expected to generate the demand they want. I just don’t understand why they don’t want to work with us more.”
“The slides created by marketing aren’t quite right. I’ve added my own slides, and changed a few of the facts and figures around. It’s better now. I don’t understand why marketing don’t just give us what we need. They don’t seem to get what it’s like in sales.”
“Whatever we give sales, it’s never good enough. They complain and then change the material we provide them. We must have at least 50 different versions of the new corporate story by now. How are we supposed to ensure that the messaging is right when they treat everything as the Wild West?”
This is something I have faced throughout my career. As a sales person I looked at marketing and wondered what on earth they were doing that was relevant for me, and as a marketer I saw sales protecting their own customers, data, and environment and keeping me out.
The bottom line is that sales and marketing have exactly the same ultimate objective - to sell more services to existing customers and to attract new logos. The problem is that they are two different types of character, with two different sets of process goals along the way to the ultimate joint goal.
Aligning sales and marketing (and product) and creating greater collaboration helps to speed up the journey towards attaining the new business needed. Imagine both sales and marketing collaborating fully on lead generation initiatives, follow up with the prospect or customer, and on the development of messaging and campaigns. A sales person is likely to know more about the customer challenges and environment than anyone else in the organisation, and marketing are crying out for that information in order to develop more targeted messaging and campaigns. Marketing are the custodians of the messaging and collateral, so sales being involved at its creation stage would greatly enhance the effectiveness of any material, or campaign.