To many sales and marketing professionals, "alignment" sounds like a forced march over a cliff. Either adhere to these new rules and play nice in the sandbox, or you're fired. That's why sales and marketing alignment often doesn't stick. It's a top-down approach that doesn't address the fundamental differences between the two armed camps. In my next three posts, I'll explore a different way to approach the gulf based on shared goals and mutual respect (OK, maybe just shared goals).
In a nutshell, sales reps and marketing staff agree to work together based on:
Sounds like a lot to do and an uphill climb to implement and enforce, doesn't it? No doubt. What if the stakeholders in sales and marketing alignment could see the benefits, not just for the Company but also for their own bottom line? What's in it for me?
Mary needs to look at the big picture. She has a job because there's enough marketing budget to support her salary and (hopefully) bonuses based on sales performance. Yes, her livelihood is (usually) 100 percent dependent on how well Sammy Sales does this month/quarter/year. If Sammy doesn't get enough qualified sales leads each month to do his job effectively, revenues are going to drop. If revenues drop over consecutive months and quarters, well, Connie CMO is going to be compelled to cut budget and staff. What can Mary do about this?
Sammy needs to meet or exceed his sales goals each month, pure and simple. If he does that, and the rest of the Sales Team does too, everybody wins. Failure, and the questions start flooding in. Prior to sales and marketing alignment, Sammy was more or less on his own. He might call many of the leads thrown over the wall by Marketing, but this was often a waste of time. So instead, Sammy started prospecting on his own and would keep his leads close to his vest to protect them from other Sales poachers and pesky marketers sending them useless information. This worked OK some of the time, but more often than not, prospecting took more than 50 percent of Sammy's time, and his lead calling activities suffered. By buying into sales and marketing alignment, Sammy can now:
If Mary Marketer and Sammy Sales are doing their jobs better and increasing revenues, what else do you need to think about? Well, plenty of course, but that's the point. Now that sales and marketing are on the same page and moving forward, you can focus your energy on other aspects of your business, like product awesomeness and customer happiness, or even company culture. Yep, you might be able to afford that free beer refrigerator, open vacation policy and daycare center. We can all dream, can't we?
With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. Connect with John via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.