Historically, Marketing was focused on building awareness and branding. Think about the TV series “Mad Men”, the world it depicted wasn’t that far off the truth. Sales were responsible for knocking on doors and closing deals.
That all changed with the Internet, eCommerce, and customers – business and consumer – taking control of how they bought products and services. In today’s world, Marketing and Sales have to work together as one team. But in most companies, large and small, they struggle to do so. There is constant friction between the teams that goes something like this.
Marketing: Sales don’t follow up on the leads we give them.
Sales: Marketing doesn’t give us good leads that close.
Companies know that aligning Marketing and Sales is critical to growing and keeping customers.
Funny thing about alignment is that it requires both parties to meaningfully contribute to the process. Alignment is like marriage and like any relationship it needs to be constantly invested in and managed. Marketing and Sales alignment is at top of the list for just about every CEO, head of Sales and head of Marketing.
This course explains why it is so hard for these two disciplines to work as one team, determine how aligned your company is and how to go about aligning the two teams in a business-to-business (B2B) environment. By the end of the course, you will be able to understand the major root causes for friction between these two teams, how to approach the alignment discussion internally with managers and the changes that Sales and Marketing can specifically undertake to work productively as one team.
The best place to start is by understanding some of the key terms and concepts that are used in the discussion about Sales and Marketing Alignment.
Now that you understand how Marketing and Sales disciplines are different and what alignment of these two teams means, it time to learn about why it’s so hard for these teams to be partners. If you work in Sales or Marketing you probably have an idea why. If you don’t, the reasons for the disconnect might seem obvious but the real root causes are not so obvious or straightforward. Ranging from the fact that the two disciplines attract very different types of people, their compensation and bonus structures are radically different to how they are managed and their budgets defined are just some of the not so obvious reasons that lead to mis-alignment. One of the causes of mis-alignment is that both teams use the same language but the words mean different things to the each team. A ‘lead’ in Marketing is often defined differently in Sales, for example. In this section, you’ll learn what the most common challenges are and how to spot them in your company. Keep in mind that not every company or Marketing and Sales team has the same challenges. Some teams have fewer disconnects while others are on the other end of the spectrum. By understanding what to look for and why they exist, will prepare you for the next step in the learning path – how to work on aligning Marketing and Sales.
Sales & Marketing Alignment: How to Eliminate the Disconnect Between Marketing and Sales
Sales and Marketing Alignment: What the Experts Have to Say
The Smoking Gun of Alignment | New Business Strategies
The Why and What of Sales and Marketing Alignment
Sales and Marketing Alignment Begins with the Customer
Aligning Sales and Marketing teams isn’t as simple as applying a prescriptive solution. Since we’re asking people to change behavior and often their beliefs about the other team, approach the situation in a crawl-walk-run approach based on change management principles. It’s critical to have the heads of Sales and Marketing committed to this effort and visibly championing it in the organization. At the outset, focus on ‘quick win’ initiatives that don’t require a lot of new behavior but where the results are very visible to the rest of the organization. That could be as simple as conducting joint training sessions or jointly presenting results at company All-Hands meetings to cleaning up marketing and sales databases with a CDP (customer data platform) solution so everyone is working off the same “single source of truth” data. In this section, you’ll learn how to approach the conversation with Sales and Marketing leaders about alignment and how to structure an approach to fixing the problem.
Marketing and Sales alignment is not a ‘one and done’ activity; it’s an area that requires constant attention. “Old habits die hard” especially when new team members join an organization or there is a change in leadership. In this section, we’ll talk about specific things that marketing teams can embrace to stay aligned with Sales. Any you look to implement what you’ve learned ask Human Resources or your Chief People Officer for help. They have tools and knowledge in organizational behavior that can help to change the company’s culture and making it stick.