Two business units united by purpose, find themselves divided by method.
Where marketing goes long, sales goes short. What marketing deems critical, sales deems a waste of time. When marketing says potato – sales says tomato. This is the curious divergence of the only two business functions enlisted by an enterprise to find and then convert prospects into customers.
Before we get to the solution, take a minute to watch this video to see what real sales and marketing alignment doesn’t look like – it may ring a few bells.
It’s bad enough that this division takes place at the point where organisations generate new revenue. But it’s made worse by the fact that the damage caused by this misalignment actually poisons marketing in far deeper ways than most marketers even realise. Here’s how.
If marketing takes a macro-view of the market, then sales takes a micro-view of prospect relationships. The trouble is, when these views aren’t reconciled, marketing has a whole lot more to lose than sales does. Because while salespeople can improvise their conversations with prospects to match their specific needs, marketing has to develop and deploy a single story.
As much as you may attempt to personalise, customise and adapt your story in real-time, if your content’s irrelevant to the buyer, the market will just move on without it. So until marketers learn how to develop a story that resonates with the right people, they’ll continue to run campaigns that no one cares about.
While the fundamental output of sales is deals, marketing’s fundamental output – leads – are only as good as the deals they lead to.
So if the sales team isn’t acting on your leads, the problem isn’t sales laziness – the problem is that they don’t value your leads. And the even bigger problem is that they might be right. Of course, much of this process can be managed with marketing automation, but it's a mindset change that is more imperative.
In any case, something must be done about it. Either your sales people need to be shown why those leads are valuable, or you need to generate better leads. When leads are ignored, deals don’t get closed, the reputation of marketing falls and the festering tumour of misalignment grows.
Without feedback, misaligned marketers have no way of learning how to improve their leads. Without a sound relationship, the feedback loop suffers.
So when your salespeople fail to convert a lead and your marketers have no idea why, they don’t alter their original hypotheses about lead generation and nurturing. All they do is learn to blame your salespeople. Meanwhile all your nearly-ready leads get confined to the same bracket of non-conversion as your totally-wrong-for-us leads. Nobody changes, nobody learns and nobody buys.
When misalignment becomes business-as-usual, those bad habits actually lead to even worse decision-making. Your marketing programmes continue to suffer and your leads continue to be ignored. Meanwhile, the blame game with sales fuels distrust and frustration with the way things are done.
And two units that should be dovetailing end up resenting each other.
The bad news is that far too often, the performance plateau that comes from misalignment becomes the accepted, expected standard. As a result, sales and marketing alignment starts to sound like some sort of fairy tale.
Sales and marketing alignment is way easier to achieve than most companies realise. All it takes is marketers and salespeople who acknowledge the pain of misalignment and want to be on the same page.
Ready to align sales and marketing? Check out this 1-minute overview to see how you can transform your business today. You'll see how easy it is to create, deploy, and manage online marketing campaigns that increase revenue and maximize efficiency. Alternatively, download a copy of this five-step guide to getting everyone on the same page.