So much talk all the time about aligning sales-marketing. What does it really mean? Is it essential? The answer of course is a resounding YES! But as with many marketing tasks, it is easier to talk about it than to get your ducks in a row!
In all the years I’ve worked for companies in Silicon Valley, there has been one common problem. We call it sales and marketing alignment. It’s the idea that both the marketing team and the sales force need to agree on lead definitions and scoring. Maybe it should be called something less threatening, like sales and marketing teamwork, or sales and marketing alliance.
Marketing has been at a disadvantage in these situations. From the President or CFO’s point of view, marketing is overhead, while sales generates income. In addition, marketing is not out in the trenches, listening directly to the arguments of prospective customers.
Sales on the other hand doesn’t play well at all. It’s more like the way the Democratic and Republican parties are “working together”. Sales wants one thing today, and something tomorrow. They tend to be very reactive. And they want to be equal or better than the competition in every way. So they’re eager to embrace new tools, new social channels, new headlines without much of a strategy.
Why we Combine Lead Generation and Sales Alignment
So who are you going to listen to? The right answer to that questions is: both.
Sales needs to understand and have a voice in how leads are processed. What marketing calls a lead is often a waste of time for sales. It’s not “sales-ready”. Marketing should be trying to build a funnel, attracting website visitors or trade show attendees to the top of the funnel and then using nurturing techniques to qualify the lead and transform it into a sales-ready lead.
At the beginning, it only takes a couple of people to get together and agree on certain principles. that should be the V.P. of Sales and the V.P. of Marketing and maybe even the President. When leadership embodies the right values for this relations, the rest of the team follows. This is the human connection that should hold everything together. It can’t be accomplished with a monthly meeting (although once things are rolling smoothly, that’s all it make take to sustain the relationships).
Of course, your alignment will always be a challenge, especially in sales-driven organizations with weak marketing departments. But you can change all that one person at a time. And the results will speak for themselves.
4 Steps to Initially Optimize Lead Generation While Aligning with Sales Marketing
Step 1. Align your business goals and marketing strategies, top to bottom.
Step 2. Agree on exact deliverables for each business department to align with marketing needs.
Step 3. Determine lead qualification definitions and outcomes. Marketing and sales should come together on what defines a marketing qualified lead
Step 4. Finalize and execute3 the lead management process. Designate roles between marketing and sales.
Optimized Lead Generation Services
Learn about HiveMind Studios lead generation services and sale marketing alignment. Our process help businesses better understand which types of leads work best for their target audience.
Aligning Sales-Marketing Delivers Better Results
How to Combine Lead Generation and Sales Alignment
Author: Tom Lauck
Owner of Hivemind Studios
October 14, 2013
Updated:August 7, 2016
So much talk all the time about sales-marketing alignment. It will always be a challenge, especially in sales-driven organizations with weak marketing departments. But we can partner and change all that.
Also published on Medium.