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What's the big deal with Sales and Marketing Alignment?

"All the leads I get from Marketing are crap. I don't bother with them anymore," said the salesperson. "We deliver a lot of high-quality leads to Sales and those lazy bastards never follow up," said the marketing person. If these or similar phrases sound familiar, then you most likely suffer from a lack of Sales and Marketing Alignment.

Some statistics to consider:

  • Companies that have achieved alignment between sales and marketing teams see 24% faster revenue growth and 27% faster profit growth.
  • 61% of marketing teams send all leads directly to sales without further review and only 27% of those leads are actually qualified.
  • 46% of marketers who understand sales lead qualification requirements work with sales teams that follow up on more than 75% of those leads.

But why does this matter for B2B businesses like manufacturing companies? This article will explain exactly that, and why you, as a manufacturer, should care about sales and marketing alignment.

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By aligning sales and marketing, a company can achieve:

  • Better lead quality
  • Improved customer experience
  • Better productivity and efficiency of both sales and marketing teams
  • Higher close rates
  • More revenue and more profit

Why should you care about aligning your Sales and Marketing teams?
The previously mentioned benefits should be enough for any business to care about sales and marketing alignment. However, the biggest benefit is that your teams learn to understand and, thus, respect each others' roles. Too many companies I work with have teams that don't like (or even despise) each other. When teams respect or even admire one another, they are happier, more productive, and just make for a better work environment.

Even though many companies don’t think about it, the sales and marketing departments are two sides of the same coin. In the end, they are both there to ensure that people buy the company’s products and to increase overall revenue.

Not having the two teams aligned is not only a problem, it is a lost opportunity for better workflow and an increase in profits. Companies with aligned teams sell more and have higher profits than those with teams at each others' throats.

When you look at it like that, it becomes clear why all types of businesses should care a lot about sales and marketing alignment.

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How is sales and marketing alignment achieved?
Understanding that each business is unique in its culture, structure, and leadership, here are six things that apply across most companies to get started with alignment:

  1. It is critical to have a shared CRM as the 'one source of truth' for both sales and marketing.
  2. The two departments need to know and share common operations, missions, goals, and objectives.
  3. There needs to be constant communication between the two teams at the leadership level down to the individual contributor level.
  4. The two departments should be equal and have an equivalent say in important matters. One team having more clout over the other is detrimental to alignment.
  5. They need to develop campaigns, messaging, definitions, processes, and goals together and work in concert once things are agreed upon.
  6. The two departments need to provide constructive and responsible feedback to each other for both to improve. Open and respectful communication is essential.
  7. The lead funnel and deal pipeline stages need to be clearly defined and agreed to in writing. Terms such as "lead", "marketing qualified lead", "sales accepted lead" are a few examples. Surprisingly, most companies I work with cannot clearly define a lead.

It's not easy to achieve sales and marketing alignment. Most company's sales and marketing teams operate in silos and barely speak during day-to-day operations let alone collaborating on goals and definitions. Many significant benefits accrue to companies that can achieve alignment.

One of the first steps towards achieving alignment is developing processes.