Why Is Sales and Marketing Alignment So Important?
Brings knowledge of your customers into the company.
Helps you serve your customers better.
Informs the development of better CVP’s for the future.
Improves your top-line and bottom-line growth.
You would have thought that by now marketing and sales teams, would have discovered how deeply interconnected their work is as they are in actuality looking to achieve the same ultimate business outcome.
As a rule they’re separate functions within an organisation and, when they do work together, they don’t always get along.
When sales are disappointing, Marketing blames the sales force for its poor execution of an otherwise brilliant rollout plan.
The sales team in turn, claims that Marketing sets prices too high and uses too much of the budget, which instead should go toward hiring more salespeople or paying the sales reps higher commissions.
Marketing believes the sales force is too focused on individual customer experiences, insufficiently aware of the larger market, and blind to the future.
You heard all this before I guess?
Well here’s the impact – this lack of alignment ends up hurting your businesses performance.
Sales and marketing alignment delivers, on average, a 36% improvement in customer retention and 38% higher sales-win rates (Act-On/Gleanster,“The New Stewards Of The Customer Relationship,” 2015).
What can you do about it?
Let’s Start With 3 Tactics
I advocate that you hold structured meetings between Sales and Marketing (at least quarterly, perhaps bimonthly or monthly).
These meetings should focus in on major opportunities as well as to flush out any problems like correcting CVP’s, pricing etc.
Simple right? but this discipline is absent in many companies.
Both Sales and Marketing should both sit in on important account-planning sessions.
In an ideal situation marketers and salespeople should generate a plan for growing business within the top five > ten accounts in each market segment.
Does this happen in your company today?
Formalise sales force feedback
Marketers commonly complain that salespeople are too busy to share their experiences, ideas, and insights.
Indeed, very few salespeople have an incentive to spend their precious time sharing customer information with Marketing.
They have targets to reach, after all, and limited time in which to meet and sell to customers.
Find ways that work for your business & many Sales CRM tools are good enablers in this space.
Lets Move To 3 Best Practices
Define the steps in the Sales Pipeline
Sales and Marketing are responsible for a sequence of activities and events (sometimes called a funnel). Marketing is usually responsible for the first few steps. Building brand awareness, creating a marketing plan, and generating sales leads.
Then Sales executes the marketing plan and follows up on leads. This division of responsibility is simple and it prevents Marketing from getting too involved in individual sales opportunities at the expense of more strategic activities.
Set shared revenue targets
I mean really share them! Sales and Marketing share responsibility for revenue objectives.
I know this might create you some challenge around your pay structures, but, this alignment will be sure to put these growth engines on the same track.
Integrate Sales and Marketing metrics.
Sales metrics are easier to define and track for sure, but, the need for common metrics becomes critical as Marketing becomes more embedded in the sales process and as Sales plays a more active role in Marketing.
Getting this right will help you win more sales, create better CVP’s and add more value to your customers.
All of the above is within The 5 Principles of Sales Excellence:
Business Strategy – Leadership has a genuine commitment to develop Sales Excellence.
Growth Management – Meaningful targets are set and the performance of the business is made visible.
Sales Leadership – Managers spend their time on business performance and people development.
Sales Execution – Sales standards are clear & consistency in Sales Execution is achieved.
Pipeline Management – Sales pipeline and lead management practices are in place and are effective.