Sales and marketing alignment is the extent to which your sales and marketing team are cooperating and pulling in the same direction.

When done right, world-class sales and marketing alignment results in a rapid and significant improvement on your bottom-line profitability.

Companies with good smarketing practices in place generated 208% more revenue from marketing efforts.
Source, HubSpot

The responsibility for achieving a high level of sales and marketing alignment needs to be a combined focus of leadership at the CEO level along with the heads of your sales and marketing functions.

So how do you know if your business has achieved a high level of sales and marketing alignment?

 

Signs of strong sales and marketing alignment

  • Shared goals and objectives
  • Shared language used when discussing their purpose
  • Productive time spent collaborating togetherShared and integrated technology platforms
  • Mutual respect between the functions – sales showing gratitude and recognition for marketing’s contribution, and marketing actively engaging the sales function in marketing efforts

Signs of weak sales and marketing alignment

  • “Finger-pointing” about each departments quality of lead flow and effectiveness in following up inbound queries
  • A “that’s not my job” mentality
  • Poor sales team performance, and high marketing team staff turnover
  • High customer churn due to miscommunicated expectations

It’s easy for bad sales and marketing alignment to creep into a business as it grows. In larger organisations with multiple lines of business, it becomes easy to have siloed, disconnected teams that begin to focus their attentions in different directions. This is especially exacerbated when teams might be measured on different results, resulting in structural incentives that can actually encourage poor sales and marketing alignment.

 

Imagine a scenario where sales are incentivised on a quarterly basis for pushing a particular product or service, while marketing is being measured on growing brand awareness for an entirely different product or service. The result is both teams pulling in different directions, and your business potentially not hitting its objectives. For strong sales and marketing alignment, both divisions need to be focused on the same product and the same outcome.

“B2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes and technologies has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue” - IDC Research

The key to improving your sales and marketing alignment is helping both functions recognise that they are mutually responsible for growth and retention.

To help you improve the sales and marketing alignment within your business here are 4 key areas that you need to consider, with some thought-provoking questions to help you improve your alignment in each area:

 

1. Shared Time

  • How much time do your sales and marketing team spend together?
  • How frequent is their meeting cadence?
  • Are marketing sitting in on regular sales internal team meetings?
  • Are marketing attending prospect and client meetings with your sales team on a regular basis?
  • Are marketing interviewing your sales teams for customer insights?
  • Are sales actively contributing customer insights to marketing?
  • Does marketing have a structured “sales enablement” plan within their content strategy?
  • Do marketing engage the sales team as part of their content distribution strategy?
  • Are marketing training the sales team on leveraging existing marketing assets?

2. Shared Metrics

  • Are there some common metrics that are highly impactful that both teams are measured on?
  • Are their joint SLAs that each function agrees to deliver for the other?
  • Are there shared reporting dashboards for both functions that are reported at a board level?

3. Shared Feedback Loops

  • Are your sales and marketing technology properly integrated, or even better, on the same platform?
  • How easily are marketing leads passed to sales to follow up?
  • How much visibility do sales have into a prospects interaction with marketing? 
  • How frequently do sales and marketing review marketing contribution jointly?
  • How effectively can you measure marketing’s ROI contribution?
  • Are sales properly educated on the marketing calendar? 
  • Are sales regularly providing input into content and campaign ideas?
  • Are sales properly trained to leverage marketing assets for business development purposes?
  • Is there an easily accessible folder that sales can access that contains all relevant marketing assets that they can leverage with their prospects and customers?

4. Shared Recognition

  • Is the marketing contribution recognised when major sales deals are announced to the business?
  • Do sales invite the marketing function to celebratory functions?
  • Are there awards and incentives such as top performer or presidents club awards extended to your marketing team?
  • Are your marketing team compensated on performance in a similar manner to your sales team?

Interested in learning more? Speak to one of our specialist Marketing consultants and watch this video on Why your company needs sales and marketing alignment.