Most businesses struggle with aligning sales and marketing. This negatively affects business growth and often results in wasted resources and inefficiencies, making it a huge opportunity for improving performance.
Why Businesses Struggle with Aligning Marketing & Sales
Businesses struggle with sales and marketing alignment for a variety of reasons, but here are some of the most common culprits.
Lack of trust and buy-in. All too often, the sales team hasn’t fully bought into the marketing strategy because they weren’t involved in the strategic planning process. In addition, sales isn’t included in the marketing budgeting process and may disagree with how the marketing budget is allocated.
According to research from Marketo and ReachForce, sales ignores up to 80 percent of marketing leads, instead spending half their time on unproductive prospecting.
Differing goals. While both roles have a common goal to grow business revenue, often they track different metrics on a different schedule. Sales people are looking at meeting a quota this month or how many deals they can close now. Marketing is looking at longer-term key performance indicators tied to everything from brand awareness to lead generation to lead quality.
Competing viewpoints. Similarly to the challenge when it comes to goals, marketing often looks at its role with a long-term view, while sales is focused on the now. Marketing looks at large customer segments, while sales is looking at individual prospects.
Benefits of Sales & Marketing Alignment[pullquote align=”left”]Sales and marketing alignment can lead to a 32 percent increase in year-over-year revenue growth (Aberdeen Group).[/pullquote]
When sales and marketing works as a unified force, both departments experience better productivity and efficiency. Resources like content and tools like CRM and marketing automation are put to use and adopted on a wide scale. The sales cycle shortens and close rates increase. Revenue increases. Here are just several of the benefits that come out of this unification:
- Sales uses the content marketing creates
- Lead scoring improves and the handoff from marketing to sales is successful
- Quality leads are contacted quickly and nurtured
- Sales reduces time on unproductive prospecting
- Marketing and sales use the same platforms, dashboards and metrics
How to Unite Sales & Marketing
One way to unite sales and marketing is to develop a sales enablement program. This can help marketing and sales work better together and ensures sales has what they need to be successful. Get started with aligning sales and marketing with these four steps.
Use the same language. Agree on the definitions for common terms . While you may think everyone has the same understanding of marketing strategy, marketing campaign, marketing qualified lead, or sales qualified lead, often definitions are different depending on who you ask.
Define goals and strategy together. One of the most common reasons for a disconnect between sales and marketing is the lack of buy-in and trust. To fix this, both roles must be involved in the planning process and agree upon goals together. Marketing must have an understanding of the sales process, just as sales should have an understanding of the marketing strategy.
Identify and define roles. Clarifying roles and responsibilities will also lead to sales and marketing working in unison.
Continue working together. Once common terms are agreed upon, a strategy is in place, and roles are clarified, the work doesn’t stop there. Marketing and sales should meet regularly to review shared goals, challenges, and successes.