Are Sales and Marketing at Odds?
Your ability and commitment to align sales and marketing matters. Misaligned goals, roles, scope, or success metrics between sales and marketing can greatly inhibit revenue growth, profitability, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement. You know the story…
When sales are lagging, Marketing typically blames the sales force for its inability to effectively follow-up on leads, sell solutions, negotiate, and close deals. Conversely, when sales targets are being missed, Sales faults Marketing for not generating enough quality leads, for being unable to provide relevant sales collateral, for having unrealistic or inflexible pricing, and for being too out of touch with what matters most to key customers.
Both typically feel misunderstood and undervalued. Regardless of the root cause, misalignment between sales and marketing hurts. IDC found companies lose at least 10% of potential revenue growth from misaligned sales and marketing functions.
A Better Way
Today’s organizations, however, acknowledge that there’s a better way for Sales and Marketing to work together. When you align Sales and Marketing teams, results are simply better. According to three recent studies by SeriusDecisions, MarketingProfs, and Act-on, here’s how much better:
5 Steps to Better Align Sales and Marketing
When Sales and Marketing are aligned, sales cycles decrease, win-rates improve, and margins increase. To succeed, we recommend bringing your Sales and Marketing departments together to clearly define responsibilities and collaborate in new ways.
It all begins with Sales and Marketing agreeing on your ideal customer profile and the associated value proposition that sets you apart from the competition. You will know you are on the right track when both groups can articulate your target client attributes and what differentiates you from the competition.
Then it is Marketing’s job to create sales and marketing collateral that resonates with your target clients to help Sales to get qualified meetings and close deals. Without full agreement on this first step, it is almost impossible to align Sales and Marketing.
A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is a prospective customer that is more likely to become a paying customer compared to other leads based on pre-determined demographics, activities, attributes or behaviors that are aligned with your ideal target client profile and unique value proposition.
A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is a prospective customer that has been researched and vetted — first by marketing or business development, then by sales – and is qualified enough to move to the next stage in the sales process.
Until Sales and Marketing agree to criteria for MQLs and SQLs it is very difficult to measure progress and hold teams accountable.
Both Sales and Marketing need to monitor the quantity and quality of leads and the ability to convert those leads. Neither should try to be all things to all people or to chase every opportunity. Only chase ideal target customers where your value proposition – or your relationship – should win.
The good news is that there is vast room for improvement. HubSpot reports an alarming 79% of marketing generated leads never convert to sales, and 73% of leads are never even contacted.
The Bottom Line
When Sales and Marketing recognize that they have a common goal and align their efforts more effectively, performance should soar, and finger pointing should begin to vanish. What are you waiting for?
To learn more about how to get aligned, download our Latest Organizational Alignment Whitepaper
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