Are Your Marketing and Sales Departments Aligned?

Are Your Marketing and Sales Departments Aligned?

27 Feb 2020 Marketing

How well do your marketing tactics dovetail with sales results? CMOs face increasing pressure to show the effectiveness of marketing tactics while the number of consumer touch points – on- and off-line – continues to multiply. And not all of those touch points fall within the traditional role of marketing. Responsibility for customer experience — calls to customer service centers, and in-person dialogues with the sales team — exists outside the realm of a traditional marketing department. But despite having different roles within the same organization, marketing and sales should be focused on the same metric: an increase in bottom-line revenue.

The answer? Develop better alignment between marketing and sales teams — and don’t be afraid to be measured by a hard metric like increased revenue. Here’s some advice on working in tandem with sales: 

Three Roadblocks to Marketing and Sales Collaboration

Of course, you and your sales department need to be on the same path – and moving in the same direction – to make real progress. What’s preventing effective collaboration between marketing and sales?

1. History. While it’s not the Hatfields and the McCoys, traditionally marketing and sales have struggled to appreciate each other’s roles. A recent post on Chief Marketer noted that the issue may arise from the perception that each team has different goals. In this mindset, marketing focuses on soft metrics like brand awareness, while the sales department is responsible for increased revenue.

Are those goals really that far apart?

Peter Isaacson, the CMO of Demandbase, told Chief Marketer, “The friction or lack of trust between marketing and sales is interesting, because both sides are focusing on growing revenue and driving the business forward.”

2. Accountability. Sales departments were raised on key performance indicators (KPIs) – and revenue goals have been a main metric for decades. Not so with marketing, at least in the past. According to an article on MyCustomer.com, 80 percent of CEOs lack trust in marketing’s efforts and believe that marketing is “disconnected from the financial realities of the company.”

Those opinions seem to be supported by the fact that many marketers are hesitant to adopt harder  metrics that can effectively measure and prove their marketing ROI. For sales departments assessed by their ability to achieve tangible targets, the perceived lack of accountability for marketing is a source of frustration. After all, from a sales viewpoint (and in your CFO’s mind, too) “brand awareness” is a less valuable metric than an X% increase in sales month over month.

3. Attitude. Marketing is focused on a progressive building of a customer relationship along the increasingly complex path to purchase — and marketing understands the cost of customer acquisition, the lifetime value of customers, and depending on the department and industry, marketers may take a more laid-back approach compared to the sales department. But marketing’s focus on the “long view” can cause frustration with the sales department — who have revenue goals to meet this week, this month, this quarter, and year-over-year.

But, despite these roadblocks, modern marketers have the opportunity to align closely with the sales department. So...what will it take?

Mapping Out a Shared Journey

To get marketing and sales moving along in the same direction, organizations need to address these issues. For example, advanced marketing technologies can help organizations optimize marketing value along the path to purchase, helping to bring marketing and sales teams closer together, despite past feuds.

Address the accountability issues to eliminate animosity. With greater insights into the ROI of marketing spend and the impact marketing has on purchase decisions, marketing and sales teams can collaborate more effectively to achieve their shared goal: an increase in bottom-line revenue.

Overcome the attitude differences by encouraging marketing and sales to work together. MyCustomer.com suggests that marketing data can help break down the traditional silos. Along today’s path to purchase, marketers gather valuable data – insights into where the customer is on the path and where the customer is within the buying cycle. And it wouldn’t hurt to have marketers “ride shotgun with sales.” By understanding how their marketing tactics and messaging works in real-world situations, marketing teams can gain a better appreciation for sales department’s pain points and optimize their approaches for truly marketing-driven sales.

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