The No. 1 Thing Leadership Can Do to Align Marketing and Sales

In order to learn how to align marketing and sales teams, we must understand how devastating a gap between these departments can be for an organization overall.

Sales and marketing are both vital to a B2B organization. Both departments play a role in connecting with, engaging and landing buyers.

Despite the gap, these two departments share many of the same concerns and end goals. Sales and marketing both work to:

  • Engage a buyer.
  • Deliver the organization’s solution to the buyer.
  • Meet organizational goals.
  • Help buyers reach their goals.

Yet, in the face of all these shared goals, 60 to 70 percent of content that marketing creates goes unused by sales, according to the Content Marketing Institute. And salespeople spend an average of two days a week – upwards of 40 percent of their time – creating their own content (CMO Council). B2B companies who struggle to align sales and marketing teams around the right processes have lost upwards of 10 percent or more of revenue per year (IDC).

How can organizations align their sales and marketing teams? How can they be different than most?

Sales and marketing leadership can align their teams by example: Through collaboration. Even within an organization, it is easy to experience department divides. The sales team is us, the marketing team is them and vice a versa. While competition is not a bad thing even within an organization, leadership should work to keep sales and marketing from competing with one another, and rather encourage their collaborating and working together.

Communication Is Key

The first step leadership can take? Talking to one another regularly.

The chief sales officer and chief marketing officer can build the bridge between sales and marketing by collaborating on topics and projects such as:

  • Determining a buyer profile
  • Preparing for the sales cycle
  • Sales roleplaying
  • Campaign meetings
  • Locking down market segmentation
  • Territory coverage alignment

When leadership from both sales and marketing are in accordance on plans and strategies, they can keep their teams aligned on key messaging, needs and goals.  

Align sales and marketing into a team of players who each bring unique skills and areas of expertise to play the same game, for the same goal.

Once leadership has a regular cadence of communication, they can take it a step further by bringing their teams together.

Invite everyone to the meeting. Keep everyone updated on prospect research. Encourage sales to talk to marketing about what would really help them engage a buyer. Allow marketing to explain their assets to sales, and likewise let sales offer feedback to marketing.

By doing these things, sales and marketing teams will create more than a mutual understanding – they will establish a lasting alignment that will help an organization take its revenue performance to new heights.

Jay Mitchell is president and founder of Mereo LLC, which helps industry-leading companies unleash sustainable revenue performance. He is a seasoned sales and marketing leader whose insights and hands on assistance have boosted revenue performance for companies like Pitney Bowes and SAP.

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