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Aligning Marketing and Sales

I hear lots of talk about the divide between marketing and sales. Some sales teams think that marketing doesn’t support them, that they create poor leads or that they focus on things that don’t move the needle. Some Marketers complain that sales are reactive, stray from messaging and miss important opportunities. I don’t get it. I’ve been lucky to work in organizations that had strong alignment between the two groups. I think it worked because, knowingly or not, we focused on three things that brought us closer together: clarity, collaboration, and consistency.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Clarity: Too many organizations assume that everyone knows their role and what others expect from them. Sales and marketing has changed so much in the last 5 years that I think we’re no longer in a position to make assumptions. We’ve been successful when the two teams or leaders sit down and CLEARLY lay out what we expect from each other and what our roles should be. At Introhive, marketing owns the top of the funnel (inbound and demand generation), sales enablement and positioning. Sales own the opportunities and CRM. We mutually agree on specific process for leads as well as use the same reports to measure success. Clarity brings speed, momentum and peace.
  • Collaboration: Ta-da! Here’s your new positioning! Guess what!?! We haven’t been using your leads! No one like surprises. Modern marketing and sales teams work together on projects and don’t throw things over the wall. In our company sales bring very important insight and real world feedback to our positioning. It helps us build better content, materials and position our products in a way that sales can be successful. Sales include marketing in deal reviews, account planning and use us as part of the extended account team with key accounts. We jointly plan campaigns and leverage each others relationships to get things done. This collaboration adds strength to our small teams and makes 1 plus 1 really equal 3.
  • Consistency: Sales and marketing happen in real time. What was important at the beginning of the quarter can change, and new opportunities, markets and objections can surface at any time. For the alliance of marketing and sales to work, there needs to be consistent and regular discussions. We’re a small team, so we talk everyday. But when I worked in larger companies we had a weekly or bi-monthly scheduled meeting. We review what’s working, talk through new opportunities and generally get caught up on the business. It’s an important part of my week and keeps me connected to the field.

At Introhive, by focusing on clarity, collaboration and keeping a consistent pattern of getting together we practically eliminate the sales and marketing divide. More importantly we think we accomplish more with less resources and waste a lot less time redoing things because they missed the mark. So, how do sales and marketing work together in your business? Are they Ernie and Bert or Wile Coyote and the Roadrunner? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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