When Sales and Marketing Align

For sales and marketing professionals, the pervasive gap between these two departments continues to spawn one mystifying question: Why can't we all just get aligned?

Though they're both technically on the same team, sales and marketing professionals often behave as adversaries. Sometimes, though, perception is stronger than reality where these two groups are concerned.

According to InsideView's recent "Crack the Code of Sales & Marketing Alignment" report, while broken processes and poor communications persist as the primary reasons for this common divide, perception also plays a factor. Conducted in partnership with Demand Gen Report, the study polled 995 U.S.-based sales and marketing professionals from across industries to assess how operations and perceptions fuel this relentless lack of alignment. Here are some key findings:

  • Eighty-six percent of salespeople agree that they respect their marketing department, while 94 percent of marketers understand that sales jobs can be difficult. However, stereotypes persist, as sales teams believe marketers spend most of their time on branding and events (65 percent), and marketers think salespeople are single-celled organisms that chase revenue (27 percent).
  • Sales and marketing teams frequently fail to align because of poor communication (49 percent), broken or flawed processes (42 percent), and disparate measurement systems (40 percent).
  • While sales wants better lead quality (55 percent) and more leads (44 percent) from marketing, marketers want better lead follow-up (34 percent) and consistent use of systems (32 percent) from sales.
  • Salespeople commonly meet with the marketing team to discuss pipeline on a less than quarterly basis (45 percent), while marketers meet with their sales counterparts weekly (42 percent).
  • Respondents agree that emerging tools, such as prospect and customer information (74 percent), data and lead enrichment (51 percent), and predictive intelligence (46 percent) are crucial for successful prospecting.
  • Besides quota attainment, sales teams are regularly measured by new accounts (62 percent), number of deals closed (46 percent), and renewals and retention (40 percent). Marketers, however, are measured by pipeline (66 percent), lead quantity (56 percent), and lead quality (53 percent).

Key takeaway: Ultimately, sales and marketing alignment boils down to perception. Without the right attitude from both teams, companies will never achieve this synergy. Therefore, salespeople and marketers must completely disregard their assumptions if they are to work together in harmony. Communication and common goals remain critical for success, as these factors inspire an element of interconnectedness that may otherwise go unnoticed. Teams must look beyond their own quotas and measurements to realize that their individual victories won't always translate into customer experience success. Both sales and marketing must remember that customer centricity should be their primary concern. Everything they do must inevitably benefit the consumers they intend to serve. Clearing the pathway for better communication and establishing common cross-departmental goals will foster the collaboration and trust necessary to achieve strong, lasting alignment, while also enabling both teams to put the customer at the heart of all they do.