• Emily Malone

3 reasons sales and marketing teams fail to align

Marketing can arm sales with the resources they need to close deals faster, and sales teams can help marketing target the right kind of customers. So what stops them from working together, and what can we do to help?

The new reality is that marketing needs to know more about sales, sales needs to know more about marketing, and we all need to know more about our customers. — Jill Rowley

A study from App Data Room and Marketo found that sales and marketing alignment can make an organisation 67% better at closing deals, can reduce friction by 108%, and can ultimately generate 209% more value from marketing. Poor alignment costs b2b companies 10% or more of annual revenue, whereas companies with strong alignment can achieve 20% growth rates.

So, it’s clear businesses still need to put sales and marketing alignment high on their priority list. To help with that, let’s identify the usual suspects of sales and marketing misalignment:

1. Miscommunication

Miscommunication leads to some pretty sticky situations in most cases, but for sales and marketing it can lead to missed opportunities and lost revenue. And no one wants that.

The majority of b2b deals are influenced by content, so it’s so important that sales reps know what content to share, and when. Apparently, 2/3 of customers feel that salespeople are unprepared for initial meetings. To communicate better, you want to be able to clearly determine what content most effectively progresses deals and generates the highest ROI, so reps can use the most recommended content based on a sales situation.

You basically need to pave the way for both easily sharing this information and looping feedback between departments.

2. Broken or flawed processes

You need the right tools to make sure sales and marketing can achieve this communication efficiently. A sales enablement tool like Pardot, for example, would be perfect.

Sales enablement teaches your sales reps how to use what marketing creates to help them close more deals. By using real-time data to determine what content most effectively progresses deals and generates the highest ROI, salespeople can find recommended content easier than ever. This also gives marketing insight into what works and where there are gaps in the content library, so they know exactly where to focus their efforts.

With these types of data available at their fingertips, both departments can make informed decisions about strategy and process, and target the right people, at the right time.

3. Measuring by different metrics

Sharing goals and priorities is key to successful alignment. Marketing, typically, is measured on top-of-the-funnel metrics like lead generation, brand awareness and campaign performance. Sales is more about the bottom-of-the-funnel stuff like revenue generated, number of closed deals, and renewals/upsells. But when both are measured based around pipeline, it’s easier for teams to work with each other.

Get serious, and keep at it

It’s so important for both departments to maintain a continuous feedback loop. Remember that sharing knowledge instead of keeping it within your respective teams will give critical insight that contributes to some impressive bottom-line results. For example, salespeople are out there talking to customers and prospects every day. So the insight they have into buyer persona pain-points, challenges and needs should be shared with marketing to help them create better content.

The best thing to do is set a monthly ‘smarketing’ meeting, where both teams can agree on what they want to achieve that month, feedback on the month prior, and strategize on the processes and tools they’ll use to ensure a successful alignment. Soon enough, seamless communication and integration will become ingrained into your company’s culture.