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David Mills
By David Mills on February 24, 2022

The Hidden Costs of Sales and Marketing Alignment Systems


Get the benefits of sales and marketing alignment without surprise costs

Alignment is a critical part of building revenue, that's why sales and marketing leaders, along with CFOs and RevOps teams, include an alignment system in their plan. While the benefits are appealing (reports of 30% revenue growth are pretty common following an effective alignment), they simply have to outweigh the costs, so you've got to nail them both down.

The bigger question should focus on whether the effort is really worth the cost.

What are the base costs for alignment?  

There are three buckets you'll want to account for:

1) Team Coordination Software

Without addressing the costs of other sales or marketing software, you'll have to provide for two priority items: A shared CRM and a shared Team Board. 

CRM- CRM costs range widely, but having a single source of truth to understand how leads are being qualified and won/lost is critical to an effective alignment. You may already have a CRM that allows for both marketing and sales to use it effectively. If not, a couple of the top options set the stage for the pricing variables.

On the low-end you can plan for $40 to $50 dollars per month, ranging up to $75 to $100 per user on higher-end systems. One stand-out is HubSpot, which offers a CRM that is actually free with add-ons that can reduce the list of existing software your team is using for content, sales communications, and marketing campaigns. This allows a cost-balancing approach in which you get high-level CRM functionality without increasing costs.

However, if you don't have adequate software for sales and marketing it may be a net increase. HubSpot integrates with Salesforce bi-directionally which can allow those with a salesforce commitment to ensure accountable alignment for marketing. 

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Team Board- A team board allows shared goals to be posted and tracked and can help the team focus on projects and processes. You can learn more about how to use a team board in our Sales and Marketing Alignment System which comes with insights and a video. 

A wide variety of team board software is available like Trello, Asana, or ClickUp which will cost between $6 to $11 per user per month with upgrades for business or integration features. One user recently shared with us their use of ClickUp White Boards which can combine a variety of task management tools with a visual shared board. You may have Google or Microsoft systems that will address this need. But don't skip the team board as a visual way to coordinate all of those involved.

Time Costs- The use of new software always comes with the cost of learning and implementation, so choosing a CRM and Team Board that have effective training and onboarding support can keep this impact down. New skill development studies report that it typically takes 20 hours to reach a functional understanding of a new skill set. Repetition and gradual improvements should then be built into meeting rhythms to build efficiency.

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2) Training and Coaching

The good news about sales and marketing alignment is that once established it is essentially a skill that is baked into your culture. Costs here are primarily in the learning phase, or in any remedial training that the process uncovers for marketing or sales team members.

Cost of Implementation Focused Training and Coaching

While there are a variety of academic or video training courses available, a learning-only approach doesn't usually result in an actual implementation of aligned sales and marketing routines or culture.  This is best facilitated by getting direct support around a sales and alignment system. 

Alignment requires building a bridge of understanding between sales and marketing while ensuring that management is able to move both teams toward shared goals and communication. An outside trainer and/or coach is usually the best route to support this transition.

Costs range from $500 for a playbook with some coaching, to $3k to $12K for a 1-month supported implementation and can grow to $25,000-$40,000 or more for extended coaching and training.

How to estimate support costs

One way to gauge what your final support costs might be is to review the length of time and costs for the last major change or software implementation that you undertook. If you have an agile or young team, these could be on the lower end of this scale. If your team is entrenched and difficult to move (sorry, but that's real for some), then you need to plan for a larger budget.

Additional growth opportunities often crop up during the alignment process. You may discover that not all of your sales team is actually using the same sales approach. You may also discover that the number of leads your team needs is not supported by the budget for marketing you currently have in place.

One conclusion from the process can be that resourcing content to support sales, and your ability to serve customers with answers they are looking for online will require a new website. A fresh look at how content is developed and shared may be needed to make it work for both marketing and sales.

What to look for in a sales and marketing alignment system?

The approach you choose to sales and marketing alignment is not simply another sales system, nor is it some fresh marketing training. It falls into a class all of its own. Its uniqueness comes because you are making a change to processes, language, and culture in order to create increased revenues.

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 Sales and marketing alignment is not just another sales training

Here is a checklist of what you should be looking for in an alignment system:

  • Addresses the concerns and values of both sales and marketing
  • Values the role and contribution of both teams
  • Acknowledges that the sales and marketing process has shifted from separate silos to a single unified journey
  • Focuses on unifying the teams around shared goals
  • Implements simple processes that everyone can use
  • Raises the visibility of goals and the tasks that are tied to those goals
  • Creates a culture of mutual support
  • Develops a rhythm of focused team meetings that are productive
  • Creates mutual accountability for goals
  • Keeps the process and activities simple and focused
  • Builds upon existing assets such as content
  • Moves both teams to better support the buying process with a customer focus

Research on alignment identifies a big gap between what company leaders believe and what is actually being implemented. More than 90% of high-performing sales leaders are committed to creating alignment, while less than 40% of their teams are actually aligned.

Next steps toward sales and marketing alignment

Start the process the same way that you'll start with the teams - by clarifying your growth goals in terms of revenue. Once you've detailed those goals, begin thinking about what reaching those goals might mean to both marketing and sales. 

Look for a system that you can implement and the level of support that you think you'll need to ensure that you get the most out of this revenue-building approach.

Aberdeen Strategy Research reports the following outcomes from alignment:

  • Generate 32% higher revenue
  • Retain 36% more customers
  • Achieve 38% higher win rates

Compare the costs outlined above against the revenue gains that could result. If more qualified buyers were connected to sales more consistently could you reach the 30%+ revenue growth that others are reporting?

Be conservative and compare the costs above against 10% revenue growth to see whether this path could be the right choice for your company.

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Published by David Mills February 24, 2022
David Mills