Does Sales Care About Alignment with Marketing?


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In case you're living under a rock, the Sales 2.0 Conference is on Day 2 in San Francisco. I've been following the Twitter stream since I'm not at the conference, and really wishing I was. Craig Rosenberg raised the issue of whether or not Sales cares about alignment with marketing? He said that during his panel discussion, he noticed that only marketers were talking about the issue.

This is an interesting point. Do they?

Perhaps the idea of aligning with marketing is about as enticing to Sales as using a CRM system was first perceived. In other words, Sales is likely saying – What's In It for Us?

There are a number of factors that support this perspective. For example – sales currently spends 40 – 60 hours a month reinventing marketing content that doesn't work for them, but should. They only accept a small percentage of leads that marketing generates because they don't think they're worthy of sales pursuit.

Although this seems to be a shared problem, the sales perception seems to hold sway.

@hoovers: Whether avg or best in class, a minimum of 70% of leads generated by sales or marketing do not close. #SM20

@AnnekeSeley Sales people spend 21% time on admin tasks, [field reps spend] 2.4 days/wk out of office, 11% preparing and researching pre-meetings per Alexander Group. #sm20

@milesaustin: Buyer behavior is changing rapidly du to free info, exec turnover. 20% of sales rep time is spent researching customers. #sm20

Now marketing comes along and says, Hey – we want credit for contribution to revenues. But most marketers' compensation isn't dependent upon meeting a revenue quota, although that may start changing.

@derekgrant: #sm20 – for the second time today, a Marketer (from @sap) noted the need for Marketing KPIs to be based in revenue generation goals.

@LoveMediaSales: "@HeinzMarketing: If you started the org from scratch, would sales & marketing be in the same group? Should they be? #sm20 <<Definitely yes

The point is that if alignment is going to happen, there has to be some kind of payoff for both sides. Marketing gains visibility to see how their programs convert leads to revenues, learns what works and what doesn't, lessens lead leakage through closed loop processes, etc. But sales gets…what? We need to show them.

Strikes me as the need for marketing to "market" to Sales and persuade them that their lives will be better if they work together. So what will it take for marketing to convert Sales on the value of alignment?

If they've been doing the work to develop personas, match qualified prospects to an agreed upon lead definition and develop and execute content strategies mapped to the buying process, it would seem like they'd have the information they need to help salespeople sell more effectively to more highly qualified leads.

But, apparently not:

@jcousineau: Mark Woollen says Mrktg + Sales now dealing w/different funnels. Bridging the gap in handoffs from 1 to the other a big problem #sm20

I'll leave you with this:

@HeinzMarketing: If you started the org from scratch, would sales & marketing be in the same group? Should they be? #sm20

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist and the CEO of her firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. She helps B2B companies with complex sales create and use persona-driven content marketing strategies to turn prospects into buyers and convince customers to stay. Ardath is the author of Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results and eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. She's also an in-demand industry speaker.


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