How to Spot the Symptoms of Bad Sales and Marketing Alignment

By April 6, 2016
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If you have good sales and marketing alignment, then your sales and marketing teams are working hand-in-hand as a single revenue team towards the same goals.

When your sales and marketing teams are aligned, you can more effectively drive revenue and grow your business. According to a Marketo study, alignment extracts 208% more value from marketing with 108% less friction. Sounds like a dream right?!

Without alignment, both sales and marketing end up impeding each other’s and your organization’s success. Lack of alignment results in a disjointed buyer journey, losing track of leads when they’re hot for your business, and wasting time and effort for sales reps and marketing team members.

Let’s go into some of the ways you can spot sales and marketing misalignment in your organization. Once spotted and assessed, you can start repairing the relationship in order to build a cohesive customer journey that converts.

Symptom #1: Your Sales Team Speaks in Accounts and You Speak in Leads

The number one symptom of sales and marketing misalignment is that your teams are speaking in different languages. Marketing speaks about capturing leads, while sales talks about closing accounts.

Most marketing departments are lead focused because their efforts have been driven by marketing automation. And marketing automation advocates for lead acquisition, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and so on.

Let’s take a look at traditional lead scoring, since lead scoring can be considered a key pillar in sales and marketing alignment. Lead scoring measures a prospect’s engagement with your brand—a lead attended a webinar, downloaded an ebook, or spent time on your pricing page.

In traditional marketing automation platforms, once a lead hits a particular score—she gets sent over to your sales team. But traditional lead scoring only looks at engagement—since engagement is measured on an individual level. But, what about fit? How are you measuring whether or not the prospect comes from a company that is a good fit for your business? And since your sales team cares about accounts, they will most certainly care whether or not a lead comes from a company that is a good fit for your business.

For example, without looking at what company a lead belongs to, you end up sending leads over to sales that are not a good fit for your business. So that high scoring lead you just sent to your sales team could be a student, a competitor, or someone from a company outside of the industries that you sell to if you are not currently looking at account fit and data.

And that, my friends, is a huge fundamental difference. If your marketing team is not thinking in terms of accounts, then sales is going to lose confidence in the leads that marketing sends over.

The bottom line is that sales and marketing need to start speaking the same language—and speaking in “accounts” is a fantastic way to start.

Symptom #2: Your Marketing Team is Constantly Upset with your Sales Team

As marketers, you spend every day coming up with creative ways to generate leads and execute programs. When sales rarely follows-up with the leads you painstakingly generate day-in-and-day-out, it is extremely frustrating. Trust us–we feel your pain.

If you find yourself in this situation—think taking 10 deep breaths every time you speak to a sales rep about lead follow-up–that’s a clear sign that something is not quite right with your sales and marketing relationship. Time for a marriage counselor.

Symptom #3: Your Sales Team is Constantly Upset with Your Marketing Team

On the flip side, maybe someone from sales comes over to tell you that while the webinar you put on was awesome from a content perspective, and you got upwards of a thousand leads, it didn’t attract the right leads.

The webinar you hosted and promoted may have been successful from a marketing perspective, but not from a sales sales perspective. The leads from the webinar were largely from accounts that are not a good fit for your business. This is a huge blow.

You are frustrated. They are frustrated.

While there are some different short-term goals for each team, the long term goal for each team is closing new business—therefore, your webinar was not a success in the eyes of sales.

If this sounds familiar, you are probably suffering from sales and marketing misalignment.

Symptom #4: Your Sales and Marketing Teams Are Operating in Silos

Whether its physically on opposite sides of an office, or digitally through your workspaces and workflows, if you are operating in silos, that’s usually a sign that your sales and marketing relationship has some gaps.

Physical Silos

You can get a good sense for how aligned your revenue organization is by how your office is set up. If marketing and sales sit no where near each other, then you most likely have a problem.

Organizations with aligned revenue teams have sales and marketing teams sitting in close proximity to one another. When the two teams sit together, they can have natural conversations about what’s going on in your funnel. Sales can ask questions about your latest content or email programs, and the two teams get to laugh at the same jokes and get to know one another.

Sales and marketing teams shouldn’t have to walk across the office, or worse, into a different building to have conversations—this just creates barriers to building relationships.

In addition to seating arrangements, consider including one (or more) of your Sales Directors in your regular marketing meetings and vice versa. While each team leader doesn’t have to be updated on the day-to-day activities of the team, they should be regularly updated on the progress of lead generating initiatives.

For instance, marketing needs to know within the same week if inbound lead conversions are going down, not after months of poor lead performance. And sales needs to know in advance when events are happening, assets are publishing, and when they can expect a flurry of inbound leads.

Digital Silos

In addition to breaking down physical silos, you must also break down digital silos. The leaders of your sales and marketing teams must work together, in at least one technology platform, where you can share dashboards and look at the same reports. For many teams, the place that sales and marketing digitally overlap is in a CRM tool, like Salesforce.

Someone on your marketing team must have an intimate understanding of your CRM. She must be able to create and monitor dashboards in that system to understand what is working and what isn’t from a holistic revenue team perspective. This is typically your Director of Demand Generation or Marketing Operations.

If the marketing team is only looking at reports within their marketing automation software, and the sales team is only looking at reports in their CRM, there is going to be a disconnect

Picture this: your teams walk into a board meeting and marketing says, “we’re doing awesome!!” and sales says, “we haven’t closed anything in two months”.  Marketing is not successful unless the sales team is successful.

Closed deals should be the ultimate measure of when your system is working and when it isn’t. Use joint reporting to keep up on the details.

The first step to overcoming sales and marketing misalignment is identifying the problem. Can you spot any of these symptoms in your organization?Once spotted and assessed, you can start repairing the relationship in order to build a cohesive customer journey that converts!

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