The Secret to True Marketing and Sales Alignment

Marketing & Sales Alignment

Marketing and sales are meant to clash. That’s just the way of the world, right? Totally wrong!

Despite the seeming ubiquity of alignment issues, there are rock star companies out there that have managed to forge lasting, positive alliances between the two and whom are profiting handsomely from it. I know this because I’ve worked at a few of them, and I’ve been around to see the sort of Garden of Eden that most sales and marketing teams wouldn’t even believe exists.

The results can be divine. Those companies that realize this achieve a 20% growth rate, while those who don’t see a 4% decline.

It’s up to every executive’s discretion to foster the sort of environment that encourages tight-knit cooperation!

Today we’ll share how you can do that by improving two things that are actually under your control: team mindset and tools.

A tale of two teams: cooperation is survival

The usual sales and marketing mistrust and mutual resentment stem from a fundamental difference in goals. This is no secret. Marketers are big-picture and trying to drive as many leads as possible, prioritizing volume over quality. Salespeople, on the other hand, think just the opposite: they want higher quality leads with volume as a secondary consideration. It’s a macro versus micro approach that leads to natural tension.

Escaping the gravity of this conflict, however, is something of pre-school simplicity. Resenting each other for lack of results is a halfway measure of thinking, “So what if marketing didn’t deliver the leads you as a salesperson wanted? Are you going to complain and stop there?”

Pre-schoolers learn early on that complaining doesn’t win them any friends or get them what they want, and that to end up happy, they have to learn to consider others’ feelings. They learn to ask questions like, “Why might this person have done that? How can I act differently to achieve different results through others?” Merely posing these questions can light a fire of cooperative creativity.

For any chronically non-aligned complainer, share with them this thought:

“If you truly want something, you’ll find a way.
If not, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

It’s a pretty simple decision from there. Do they want to drive more leads and close more deals or do they want to complain about it? There are only two ways, and only one of them gets them paid.

Those who aren’t satisfied with excuses will find a way to get what they want through others and march down the hall to set up a meeting. Here is what happens when they properly officiate that encounter and keep it focused on finding better ways to get what they want by giving:

  • Sales learns this is a give-get relationship. Because marketing doesn’t ever hear what goes on during their discovery and demo calls, salespeople become a hidden treasure-trove of insights. They can share phrases, objections, buzzwords, vertical-specific ideas, and concerns that can make marketing’s job of targeting leads much easier. In turn, lead quality and flow improves. The salespeople have an easier time selling.
  • Marketing likewise learns this is a two-way street. Because sales teams are fighting in the trenches day to day and are mostly exposed to end-users, they don’t have as good of a grasp on high-level value propositions that resonate with executives. Marketing can thus arm them with vision statements that make them better at selling value and not features. In doing so, they make their own lives easier by improving conversion rates. The marketers have an easier time marketing.

Both of them walk away from this encounter grinning unbearably and scheming maniacally to do more sharing in the future. Much more sharing. That’ll show the other guys.

With this idea anchored (and hopefully with them thinking it was their own idea), you can then proceed to the next step.

Tech, tools and time

It is a near scientific certainty that through more sharing, clear fissures are exposed between the sales and marketing processes. Namely, that they use completely different funnels.

Different funnels mean different priorities and different metrics. Often, when asked, they even have trouble describing those of the other. This communication barrier is a threat to all of the sharing you’ve enabled so you’ll want to unite them under a common language, and quickly.

This is best accomplished by using better technology to focus them on revenue.

Revenue, after all, is the final destination of leads and deals. Both parties exist on different sides of the same coin with the same ultimate goal. Technology can illuminate that by unifying their fractured funnels and metrics around this.

An entirely new class of software called, Revenue Funnel Management Software (such as FunnelWise), aims to do just that. It makes unification particularly easy by integrating your CRM and marketing system into one dashboard that displays the entire buyer’s journey, end to end, visible to both sales and marketing – and with universally understood metrics. Here are just a few benefits:

  • Unified funnel = one view, one interpretation
  • Unified metrics = honest discussions
  • Revenue focus = aligned interests

When everyone is looking at the same data, your communication barriers dissolve. Marketing and sales can see and comprehend each other’s contributions. Marketing can no longer accuse sales of underutilizing leads. Sales can no longer accuse marketing of driving poor quality ones. Instead, they’re looking at the same chess board and playing on the same side. Plus, now that they’re sharing more openly, they’re forced to move beyond complaining and figure out which moves they want to make together.

Arriving at alignment

Do all of this, and you’ll find that you’ve constructed a powerful virtuous cyclone of sales and marketing alignment. You’ve anchored how greatly they can benefit by helping the other, and you’ve enabled them to get on the same page and speak the same language about driving revenue through a company-wide revenue funnel. No more “marketing this, sales that.”

What you have is an organization that’s one step closer to optimizing its revenue production and from that, accelerated growth only naturally follows!

Need to learn even more about alignment?

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