Marketing and Sales Still Aren’t Aligned


Marketing and sales alignment is crucial for the success of any business, as the buyer experience often starts with marketing and any negative interaction can prematurely end a lead. Oftentimes, it’s as if marketing and sales are supposed to be on the same team but each running their own plays. In fact, according to data from LinkedIn, 60% of teams believe the misalignment between sales and marketing could damage financial performance. However, despite its importance, many companies still struggle to achieve proper collaboration between these two departments.

Some common issues with the misalignment amongst these two teams include a lack of clear communication and shared goals, inadequate use of technology and data, and different incentives and metrics. Here, we’ll explore reasons why marketing and sales must function together and what companies can do to improve the balance.

Drive Accountability with a Common Scoreboard

Sales and marketing teams often have different incentives and are measured by different metrics, which can lead to conflicting priorities and a lack of alignment. For example, the marketing team is focused on generating leads to hit their KPIs, while the sales team is focused on closing deals. For the two to work in tandem, marketing needs to ensure it is targeting the ideal customers and prospects and that these prospects have a high degree of interest and purchasing power before moving them into the sales funnel for sales teams to nab the deal and increase revenue generation.

Without measurement protocols in place to analyze buyer engagement results it may be difficult to meet benchmark goals. Sales should provide feedback on buyer requests and engagement, while marketing should report on content performance. Rather than two silos operating independently, marketing and sales need to operate as a partnership, with shared metrics and technology that can deliver value to today’s more educated, discerning buyer.

Intentional, Proactive Collaboration

Sales and marketing teams need to work together to understand each other’s goals. Organizations should arrange monthly meetings with both teams to discuss buyer reception of content, feedback and new marketing materials. Sales and marketing represent the two parts of the buyer journey that establishes the value of a product or service so it’s essential that there is clear collaboration between the teams. When marketing and sales teams support the customer journey with research and other materials, they can use it in a dynamic way to engage and delight buyers – leaving them with little to no opportunity to not move into the next stage.

Clear communication, trust, understanding and shared goals between the two teams must be established in order for success. To improve collaboration, it is essential for the teams to establish clear benchmarks and metrics, regularly communicate and share information, and work together to identify and overcome any challenges. Without this, the marketing team may not be aware of the sales team’s specific needs or vice versa.

When marketing and sales are perfectly aligned, the buyer experience is vastly improved. Buyers become excited to continue along the journey to purchase because they can see the value of the product or service through content that is compelling, informative and perfectly tailored to what they need to drive success.

The Right Tools Make all the Difference

Internal misalignment may come from inadequate use of technology and data. Without the proper tools and systems in place to track and analyze customer data, it can be difficult for the two teams to effectively collaborate and make data-driven decisions.

Failing to use a centralized platform can be a key issue for marketing and sales teams. Integrating sales tech and martech stacks can generate more powerful revenue. All marketing and sales content including buyer engagement, training, and onboarding and coaching should be located and stored in one central platform to streamline processes and increase productivity. When sales teams don’t have effective content, sales cycles are longer and deals are lost. Aligning marketing and sales tech stacks will be crucial to delivering a more efficient and effective buyer experience.

AI-powered tools are another way to multiply performance and streamline engagement across teams. Prospective buyers are increasingly conducting their own research outside their contact with a sales rep through third-party websites, buyer reviews, blogs, social media and more. In fact, according to Forrester, 68% of B2B buyers prefer to research online, on their own. With conversational intelligence, AI-powered tools can record and analyze all types of interactions (human and nonhuman) across marketing, sales and customer service workflows. Marketing and sales need shared technology to close this gap and improve the effectiveness of the most important channel – sales.

Closing the gap between marketing and sales will require sharing a common vision, the right content and technology for insights, accessing analytics to evaluate the impact of content and determining which content is landing and which needs to be adjusted. To improve alignment, companies should focus on establishing clear lines of communication and regularly review and set their goals, invest in technology and data analysis tools, and establish clear incentives and metrics across the two departments. By addressing these challenges, organizations will set their teams up for success and improve overall performance.