What you know: Sales and marketing alignment is important. The success of your business relies on it.
What you don’t know: How to identify whether or not YOUR sales and marketing teams are actually aligned.
It’s time to stop talking about abstract ideas and start honing in on practical ways to change your business for the better. Step back and take a hard look at your sales and marketing teams to see if these five statements are true for them:
Communication is one-way (or worse: non-existent).
Marketing doesn’t know what sales wants, so they keep churning out ill-fitting content. Sales doesn’t clearly communicate their needs, so they keep having to create their own content or settle for subpar resources. 49% of sales leaders stated that insufficient materials was a top challenge with customer engagement in 2014, but did marketing know that more materials were needed? If your system doesn’t allow for easy interaction, feedback and visibility between sales and marketing, there’s no way for the teams to stay aligned toward common goals.
When something goes wrong, the teams blame each other.
Pointing fingers is a clear indicator that your marketing and sales teams don’t see each other as allies, but rather hindrances (or even rivals). If a sales lead goes cold and sales claims “Marketing didn’t provide adequate content” while marketing claims “Sales didn’t use to content we gave them,” there’s your sign that both sides need to work on aligning their processes. With 76% of sales leaders believing that ongoing contributions from marketing do not have a meaningful impact on sales goals, it’s no wonder they play the blame game.
Processes are rushed or delayed.
When there is no visibility and alignment between sales and marketing goals, each team is going to go their own direction. Marketing will start creating content they feel will be useful, while sales will start pursuing leads without adequate resources readily available. Suddenly, the buyer wants resources that don’t exist. Either sales demands that marketing drops what they’re doing and prioritizes the buyer’s need, resulting in a delay as the new content is created, or sales bypasses marketing altogether and scrambles to create their own content, taking time away from what they should be doing: selling. Best-in-class companies that prioritize sales and marketing alignment show a 10% shorter average sales cycle.
Content is being created… but not utilized.
Approximately 60-70% of marketing content is not used by sales at all, either because the content isn’t suitable or because sales reps simply can’t locate it. The marketer who wrote the material may know where to find it, but the sales reps may not know that it even exists, let alone where it can be accessed. Marketers spend a lot of time and money on resources that never see the light of day, while sales reps throw together unbranded, non-vetted content to send to the buyer.
You aren’t getting enough wins.
Well-oiled gears are going to move forward easily, but rusty, broken gears aren’t going anywhere. If your team consistently makes the same mistakes, goes through the same recovery processes and spends extra time hunting down or producing new content for buyers, you’re not going to make the positive impact necessary to convince your customers to buy. Your quotas will always be just out of reach. With marketing and sales on the same page, you’ll be able to build a strong foundation and grow from there. Each new piece of material will be another effective tool that sales can use to improve the buyer experience, expedite the sales cycle and produce more wins.
Maybe you answered yes to some or all of those statements. Just one area of misalignment is enough to throw your entire sales process out of whack, causing your business to miss out on deals and waste time duplicating work.
Still not convinced? Aberdeen research shows that Best-in-Class companies are 64% more likely to have a strong relationship between sales and marketing teams (and there’s plenty more data to back that statistic).
It’s trite but true: Identifying the problem is the first step toward moving forward. Use this assessment to enable your sales and marketing teams to work together toward the results they’re struggling to achieve individually. Management, marketing, sales, the buyer…Everyone benefits.