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Align or Be Left Behind: Why Sales and Marketing Alignment Is Essential

Posted in: Sales and Marketing Management

Sales and marketing teams share objectives but achieve them in very different ways. Despite these differences in approach, ensuring that the two teams are aligned is critical to your business’ success.

More than promoting a healthy and collaborative culture, research has shown that companies with strong alignment perform better, reporting 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates.

But the path to sales and marketing alignment is not always smooth and straightforward. Read on to learn more about what you stand to gain from aligning your sellers and marketers and how you can overcome common obstacles in the journey to achieve better alignment.

Why Sales and Marketing Alignment Matters

Drive growth: When your sales and marketing teams are aligned, it can lead to 208% growth in marketing-generated revenue, 38% higher sales win rates, and 32% increase in year-over-year revenue growth. Not to mention that companies aligning their sales and marketing teams report 27% faster profit growth over a year’s time and 24% faster growth rates. Alignment is a huge opportunity  for improving business performance.

Improve buyer experience: One of the main reasons to ensure that your sales and marketing efforts are aligned is to streamline the buying process. Misalignment can lead to a disjointed buyer experience if your buyers are simultaneously receiving different communications from both the sales and marketing teams. Buyer experience is a crucial part of success in the modern business landscape when buyers require personalised, hyper-relevant engagement from sellers.

Improve work culture: If two departments are not working well together, it can be frustrating for everyone involved – not to mention other departments that interact with them. The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to the importance of sales and marketing alignment, but it’s about more than just the numbers. Most professionals want to work in a supportive culture with seamless processes. Happier employees typically lead to better productivity and retention, which is a win for everyone.

Signs Your Sales and Marketing Teams Are Out of Alignment

  1. Sales isn’t listening to marketing guidance: It can be challenging to take strategy advice from another department, but that doesn’t mean that sellers should ignore the marketing point of view, which is what can happen if the two departments are not aligned.
  2. Sales isn’t using marketing collateral: If sellers don’t trust marketers, or if marketers create content that doesn’t map to their sellers’ needs, then the content may go unused – and marketing time and resources go to waste.
  3. Complaints about lead quality: It’s important that sales, marketing, and customer service teams work together to create the right customer personas to ensure everyone is on the same page about who to target.
  4. Missed opportunities: If you invest time and money into sending sales reps to trade shows, but there was no plan to collect information from attendees or follow up, that’s a missed opportunity. Developing integrated sales and marketing plans can help prepare your teams to make the most of every opportunity.
  5. Lack of communication: If sales is talking about how they missed their quota and marketing is talking about their social media followers, there’s a disconnect. Lock a regular meeting cadence in place, during which teams can track progress against shared goals and success metrics.
  6. A disjointed buyer experience: If your buyers are getting one message from sales and another from marketing, it’s a clear sign that the teams are not aligned on the customer journey.

How to Better Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams

We’ve covered the importance of getting your teams aligned, as well as signs that indicate misalignment. Now, here are steps to get sales and marketing on the same page.

Align goals
Having shared goals creates mutual accountability. The two teams will rely on each other as much as their own teams to achieve those goals. Because you’re dealing with two different teams, it’s important to define the separate roles so that everyone knows what’s expected.

Communicate regularly
Set routine meetings to review strategies and objectives, track performance, discuss feedback, and build team rapport. One of the main causes of misalignment is the lack of communication. Make it easy to communicate, and do so consistently.

Establish shared terminology
Once you have established a regular communication cadence, make sure everyone is speaking the same language. Shared information needs to be understandable and accessible to both teams. Create a set of definitions that everyone agrees on. Another suggestion is to create a service-level agreement (SLA). This can help eliminate confusion and solidify the roles in each department.

Implement the right tools
Sales enablement platforms can have a major impact on alignment. These platforms bring together sales guidance, buyer engagement, and content management in one place – helping marketing teams organise and analyse assets and sales teams win deals. Companies can expect to see higher quota attainment and win rate with less turnover when using a formal sales enablement platform.

Alignment isn’t just a business buzzword or a “nice to have.” Ensuring sales and marketing  are aligned is critical to business success. But it’s not something that happens overnight or with the flip of a switch. Rather, true alignment is an ongoing process that requires commitment to continuous collaboration and improvement. With the right tools, strategies, and outlook, you’ll be well prepared to overcome challenges and achieve alignment success.