Guide to Marketing and Sales Alignment in 2019

Key Takeaways

  • Marketing and sales alignment strives to bridge two traditionally separate departments.
  • US businesses lose $1 trillion a year due to misaligned marketing and sales and wasted productivity.
  • Learn how to build and align a successful marketing and sales alignment strategy in 2019

A sales team traditionally brings the face, and the human element, into marketing. In an increasingly digitally-saturated world where search engines seem to be replacing salespeople, do we still need them? Why can’t marketers research leads online, connect with them on social media, and seal the deal? Can’t marketers swoop in, drive sales, and save the day?

Not quite, there Sparky. Not. Quite.

Although marketing and sales seem to be on different teams, their collaboration is key to business success. Salespeople need marketers; marketers need salespeople. It will take both Super Sales and Marketing Man to gain some control, increase revenue, and keep the human element alive in a technologically-driven world.

Modern buyers are digitally-driven, socially-connected, mobile-empowered information consumers. They’ve changed more in the last 10 years than in the previous 100, and they’re in control. As superheroes, salespeople, and marketers alike—we’re now in the business of helping people rather than selling to them. So, to best serve the people, marketing and sales alignment is necessary!

What is Marketing and Sales Alignment?

Marketing and sales alignment strives to bridge two traditionally separate departments—and its success lies in the collaboration of both teams. Alignment requires unity around a strategy, revenue cycle, and goals, and it promotes the exchange of ideas between both marketing and sales. The more intricate the integration and coexistence of these departments, the better. But, why should these departments join forces rather than stay in their cubicles and continue down separate paths?

Why is Marketing and Sales Alignment Important?

To better know the consumer, marketing and sales need to know more about each other. With marketing and sales alignment strategies in place, 66 percent of businesses report that they clearly understand their consumer. When we more deeply understand consumer audiences, we can develop highly-targeted and fine-tuned strategies that cater to them, provide a better user experience, and increase revenue and retention.

According to LinkedIn’s Research Report, when marketing and sales align, businesses have experienced:

  • 78% revenue growth
  • 58% pipeline growth
  • 52% of customer satisfaction
  • 48% of employee engagement

US businesses lose $1 trillion a year due to misaligned marketing and sales and wasted productivity. Without marketing and sales alignment, businesses commonly experience the following adverse effects:

  • 65% missed business opportunities
  • 60% weaker financial performance
  • 40% decreased staff morale
  • 46% customer frustration
  • 59% poorer customer experience
  • 58% reduction in customer retention

Today, 41 percent are measuring marketing and sales alignment, 38 percent are not measuring, and 22 percent have no clue. Jump ahead of the competition and leverage sales and marketing alignment benefits with these tips.

How to Align Marketing and Sales Strategy

Businesses contribute their alignment success to the following factors.

  • 57% say frequently meeting to share ideas & information
  • 53% say coordinated planning & outreach
  • 52% say agreeing on shared objectives & measurement  

Successful alignment strategies shared these characteristics.

  • 82% of leadership actively encouraged collaboration
  • 80% aligned the same strategy & objectives
  • 76% have a shared understanding of the customer journey
  • 74% share market and customer info freely
  • 71% pace with what customers want

With this research in mind, build a successful marketing and sales alignment strategy with the following steps.

Invite Collaboration

Plan a meeting that involves both teams to open the doors for communication—speak to the importance of being open, transparent, and meeting regularly to discuss goals and track progress moving forward.

Define Responsibilities

Revenue responsibilities should fall on both marketing and sales shoulders; articulate and clarify expectations for each team.

Lead Generation Strategy

The definition of a lead, a marketing qualified lead, a sales qualified lead, and the metrics used in lead scoring and generation should ring true to both marketing and sales teams.

Hire a Lead Team

Consider hiring sales development reps, or a lead team separate from sales and marketing, to specialize in executing the process of reviewing, contacting, and qualifying leads.

Develop Processes

Articulate the process in which leads are passed from marketing to sales, and from sales back to marketing to ensure quality, timely lead generation.

Create an Ideal Buyer

Using data gathered by both marketing and sales, create the perfect buyer profile.

Service Level Agreements

Write down service level agreements between the two teams to track goals, lead expectations, and hold the departments accountable to ensure that the marketing and sales team continue alignment.

Leverage Dashboard Reporting

Build a dashboard accessible to both marketing and sales that provides a real-time window for both perspectives; the dashboard can function as an open line of communication on strategy performance and the ever-changing market to ensure continued alignment.

There’s some buzz that B2B marketing and sales alignment don’t mix—but the problems B2B companies experience could apply to any organization. The most common challenges come from a lack of established processes between marketing and sales that address how leads flow through the process and their quality, challenges that become increasingly difficult when modern consumers are “constantly shopping.” These issues can be fixed with clearly defined procedures, automated lead filters, and constant communication.

Conclusion

Historically, marketing and sales have seemed to exist on separate teams—so breaching them will present challenges. While marketing is “the only one thinking strategically,” sales is “the only one generating leads.” To gain marketing and sales alignment in a technologically-driven world, it’s up to them to put aside their differences and save the day. Can they do it? Let us know in the comments.

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About The Author

Emmy is passionate about storytelling. In her pursuit of learning stories from around the world, she has traversed five of the seven continents. Studying and engaging with these cultural divides has blessed her with a deeper understanding of people. With experience writing for magazines, academic journals, and travel blogs, she's applying her skillset to creating and sharing your brand’s story with the world she loves.

Emmy Ciabattoni
Social Media Manager

2019-04-15T17:56:19+00:00April 8th, 2019|

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