Lip service marketing and sales alignment can lead to reduced growth
They do make strange companions. One is seasoned by thousands of customer conversations, while the other is focused on the latest digital communication tools. Alignment pairs the marketer who is just now mastering the details of the product or service, and the salesperson who knows every way to slice the product and solve a long list of customer challenges. The idea that they need to be aligned in the same workplace when they have different goals, different levels of experience, a language unique to each group, and even distinct pipelines can raise some eyebrows or lead to lip-service alignment.
It's been a strained relationship in many businesses. The mismatch list is pretty long and includes different systems, languages, goals, pipelines, and team cultures. But like the odd couple they might seem, they both bring something to the company that the other desperately needs.
97% of sales and marketing professionals believe that content and messaging are misaligned and that they don't have shared planning or buyer journey development. (LinkedIn)
- Salespeople deliver on the customer-centric view of the enterprise and bring empathy and a problem/ solution focus. Sales teams also understand the reality of good fit and poor fit prospects in ways that marketing needs to grasp.
- Marketing delivers on the communication of the solution focus to the target audience in ways that engage customers with valuable content that attracts them and keeps them in the buyer journey.
Today more than ever, the sales message and the sales empathy must be translated into the marketing experience. There is only one buyer journey, even if it is manned by two distinct teams (three if you count service).
Alignment begins when the realization hits.
Alignment starts when the realization hits that having these two departments cooperate deeply is no longer optional. That realization starts in the awareness of managers and C-suite leaders who see the picture more holistically and understand the single journey of the customer from marketing to sales and then to customer service.
A single fact can begin this transformation. Buyers today are using marketing materials for about 70% of their decision journey. Recent reports are that 70% don't want to talk to sales at all. That material found online has to reflect the sales approach and begin the trust-building process.
85% of business leaders say that sales and marketing alignment is the largest opportunity for improving business performance today (LinkedIn)
Sometimes you've already gone part-way toward alignment, and you just need a final, critical step
Good leaders are taking many of the steps toward aligning marketing and sales in the areas of goal setting and company culture. And while some are just at the beginning of this journey, many are just missing a few pieces such as unifying pipelines, or finding systems that work for both marketing and sales teams.
The question that is often echoed in alignment discussions is this: "how can we get this all together while we're in the midst of trying to meet current goals?"
The truth is that the alignment process does not have to be disruptive. Instead, it can increase effectiveness with each step along the way. The key is to have a process that can be implemented sequentially without a stop-start approach.