In far too many companies, sales teams have stopped even expecting marketing to deliver real opportunities – and marketing teams know that sales won’t follow them up anyway.
The knee-jerk response to the lack of sales and marketing alignment is typically to blame the other side. “Marketers don’t get the right leads and waste time and resources we could have used to make more money.” Or, “Sales people are lazy and short-sighted, spending all their time focused on only the obvious wins.”
If that last line stung, it’s worth noting that the one before it stings too. Which is why the most rational response to poor sales and marketing alignment is to tackle the resentment. The trouble is, you can’t solve a problem if you don’t accept there’s one worth solving.
Watch this fun and insightful video to see if the problem rings true for you. You'll soon realise that sales and marketing alignment is easier than you think.
Perhaps the most common of sales complaints about marketing is that the leads coming through are just plain useless. “If they aren’t completely uninterested in buying, they’re months away from being ready to make a decision.” The view is that unqualified and irrelevant leads are a result of marketing incompetence.
But the massive waste of time caused by unproductive prospecting is completely avoidable – so long as your salespeople are willing to help marketing set the parameters and qualifications that constitute the right kind of lead. That is good lead management.
Another common symptom of misalignment is the voice of an exasperated salesperson demanding better enablement content from marketing. It’s an interesting symptom too because it reveals why, despite the clear differences in approach, both business units acknowledge the fact that they need each other to make deals happen.
But when your salespeople and sales management have a view of what content is needed to seal the deal that conflicts with marketing’s, the clash typically ends in a stalemate. The only way around this chicken-and-egg argument about marketing content is to reconcile the conflicting views so that everyone gets what the organisation needs.
Here’s a scenario: marketing sends sales a batch of leads. Some turn out to be convertible and some turn out to be a waste of time. In a misaligned organisation, sales has no way of categorising the disqualified leads into ‘lost deals’, ‘not ready’ and ‘mid-contract with competitor’. As a result, marketing has no way of knowing how to recycle the leads and sales is left pursuing cold lead after cold lead after cold lead.
Which means that after an opportunity hits a wall, all contact is lost. If a lead isn’t ready now, sales won’t be able to get in touch when they’re ready later. And if a lead is mid-contract with another vendor, sales won’t get a shot at the prospect when that contract is up for renewal. The opportunity cost of misalignment far outweighs the real cost of alignment.
If there’s one thing that all salespeople will be proud of, it’s their ability to adapt to a situation and make the most of it. But the trouble with misaligned business development is that it motivates even the most motivated salespeople to settle for the costly, inconvenient and downright ineffective mess of a relationship they have with marketing.
The most important thing you need to know about alignment is that it isn’t some kumbaya-let’s-hold-hands approach to business that ignores the competitive reality an enterprise exists in. It’s simply the most effective way to ensure salespeople get the job done.
And it’s incredibly easy to achieve. You just have to want it.
To help get your sales & marketing teams working closer together, we've put together this simple 5-step guide: Sales and Marketing Alignement Made Easy.