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Closing the Gap between Sales and Marketing

Getting sales and marketing to work more closely presents potentially the largest opportunity for growth in B2B marketing today, but what steps can you take to close the gap?

Marketing and sales teams have fostered an age-old rivalry which is commonly known as sales and marketing mis-alignment. For decades now marketing teams have accused the sales team of not following up on leads and sales teams have blamed the marketing team for providing poor-quality leads. Arguably similar to school ground bickering?

Marketing teams want to maintain control over the messaging whilst tracking everything; sales want to get something out the door because they need to sign off a deal.

It’s no secret: marketing and sales often than not struggle to work cooperatively.

But, arguably the single most important topic for marketing is how to align with the sales team.

A significant reason for a sales and marketing divide is the difference in objectives and their measurement of success. Within a B2B setting these differences are notably more obvious – the main objective of marketing is to generate leads and of sales to convert these into closed business, and so the departments are measured based on the number of leads generated and the number of contracts closed, respectively.

Still bewildered as to why mis-alignment is so common? Further examples which detail why mis-alignment is present include:

  • Management does not understand the full contribution marketing can make to a business.
  • Marketers are not sufficiently trained to be true partners with sales in the revenue generation process.
  • There is not an integrated planning process to enable marketing and sales to create unified strategies and tactics.

The disconnect that exists between the two departments poses serious challenges and it is widely recognised that there is a real need for marketing-sales alignment.

The good news? There is light at the end of the tunnel, as the three situations discussed above can be remedied in a short-period of time.

How? Firstly a willingness to change needs to be present.

Ultimately to kick start a change, sales and marketing need to realise that they are on the same team; they should not view one another as the competition, not when they could work together to create value for the company and for customers. When it comes to improving relations between the two functions, inevitably improving communication is paramount. It’s not as simple as just increasing communication between the two groups. Instead more disciplined communication should be encouraged; holding regular meetings between sales and marketing which focus discussions on action items that will help to resolve problems could be beneficial.

As the functions become better aligned, its important that opportunities are present for both marketers and salespeople to work cooperatively. This will make them more familiar with each other’s ways of thinking and behaving. Its useful for marketers to occasionally go along on sales calls; in turn salespeople should help to develop marketing plans and preview sales-promotion campaigns. Planning events together should be encouraged; a liaison, someone both groups trust could be appointed to help with the alignment process.

A lack of workforce alignment should not be one of the biggest obstacles a company faces to achieving revenue growth. Ending the feud between marketing and sales departments through an end-to-end integrated solution is needed; when marketing and sales align around the revenue cycle, the enterprise can improve ROI, sales activity and growth.

The feud between marketing and sales doesn’t have to continue; after all, marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin right? To find out more around this topic, get in touch; we would be delighted to talk.

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