The Why and What of Sales and Marketing Alignment

Marketing and sales alignment is really about the customer. We have to look at everything we do through the eyes of the customer. Most organizations still believe in the perfect sales and marketing delineation: This is where marketing generates leads for sales, sales development reps then qualify these leads, to create opportunities that salespeople hopefully turn into revenue.

The new reality of sales and marketing alignment

Quite simply, that’s not how it works in sales today. Why? Because the buyer has changed more in the past 10 years than in the past 100. The buyer is in control. The modern buyer is digitally driven, socially connected, mobile, and empowered, with nearly unlimited access to information and people.

The new reality is that sales and marketing are continuously and increasingly integrated. Marketing needs to know more about sales, sales needs to know more about marketing, and we all need to know more about our CUSTOMERS.

The secret to adapting

Social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter give sales professionals insight into three key things about the buyer: identity, relationships, and interests. Marketing and sales need to work together to equip sales with what is becoming a mainstream competency: social selling. Salespeople are being replaced by search engines and social networks. With professional, buy-centric social profiles and content, marketing can help sales be visible and relevant to the modern buyer.

For marketers and salespeople alike, there is a new skill set required to network via the social Web. According to research, those who use these skills to help, inform, educate, and communicate with their audience have a better chance at hitting their revenue targets. It’s clear that successful social selling initiatives require training. It needs to be treated as a core sales competency.

The value of enablement

Your sales organizations will not magically acquire the new skills required to use social as part of their selling process on their own. You have to create standardized guidelines and enablement programs that include in-depth training that not only focuses on the value of engaging in social selling, but also stresses best practices and immediate, practical advice to get started quickly.

Companies looking to achieve tighter sales and marketing alignment are investing in sales enablement, an emerging role in B2B. According to Aberdeen Group, companies that are best-in-class in their industry have 50% higher quota attainment than average companies, and those best in-class companies are twice as likely to be investing in sales enablement.

The root of sales enablement is to integrate marketing and sales, along with other departments, to improve an organization’s sales effectiveness. They work with sales and marketing to manage content and assets, update guidelines and best practices, assist with sales onboarding and training, and much more. Sales enablement makes it easier for salespeople to sell and buyers to buy.

The age of the customer

We’re living in the age of the customer, no longer the age of the seller. The required mindset is one of HELPING, not SELLING. Marketing and sales need to align to, with, for, and around the customer. The organizational culture needs to be #CustomerCenteredCentricObsessed.

The new reality is that marketing needs to know more about sales, sales needs to know more about marketing, and we all need to know more about our customers.”

Jill Rowley | Founder and Chief Evangelist, #SocialSelling
Quotable Video Highlight
Watch Jill Rowley discuss the importance of Sales and Marketing alignment.
The 7 Biggest Trends Upending Sales Today By Maria Valdivieso de Uster,
Director of Knowledge, McKinsey & Company’s Marketing and Sales Practice
Watch the Salesforce webcast with Jill Rowley and other social selling authorities - 'Social Selling: How to Connect with the Modern Buyer.'
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