What does Sales & Marketing Alignment Really Mean?

Sales & Marketing Alignment I’ve spent this week at the ExactTarget Connections Conference in Indianapolis, and it’s been quite an event! They’ve announced some strong products and shared powerful stories about how companies are using Salesforce + ExactTarget Marketing Cloud to grow faster and connect better with customers.

While I haven’t heard the actual phrase “sales and marketing alignment” thrown around too much, a common theme is that there are now powerful ways to get sales and marketing working more closely together on a common system. In reality, this means messaging can be easily tailored and customized across mediums like email, web, social and mobile with greater consistency. It also means that your people – salespeople and customer service people – can have improved visibility into the context and triggers that prospects and customers are interested in, and better solve their problems.

One thing that I still feel is missing is detail on exactly how to drive sales and marketing alignment. A session I sat in on today cited that 38% of CMOs say aligning sales and marketing is their top priority, and that companies with strong sales and marketing alignment have 67% higher close rates than those who don’t. Amazing data that validates its importance, and we finally have the technology to build the bridge connecting sales and marketing.

But I do think some are still wondering how to do this at a very granular level — and fundamentally, you need two things:

  1. CMO and VP of Sales Working Together: In the modern organization, sales and marketing need to work in absolute lockstep. They are still different functions, but these two people especially need to be joined at the hip for how to drive their organization forward.
  2. Agreement On Sales Ready Leads: 67% of the buying process happens before the prospect even talks to a salesperson, which means marketing is now more important than ever. But you still have to answer the question: when is a lead ready to pass to sales? The criteria for every company will be a little different, but there should be total agreement on this, and measurement to know how it’s going.

So that’s where to start, but then things seem to get fuzzy because the modern company needs to be nimble and react quickly to market needs. Salespeople are focused on closing as much as they can as fast as they can. But what happens if marketing sees that a certain type of lead is closing faster, or at a higher deal size? How do you align the sales team to react accordingly? What about a big conference you just sponsored – how do you make sure salespeople follow-up on those leads quickly enough and while your company is still top of mind? Got new messaging or a new product you want to take to market? How do you get salespeople to embrace and test that new messaging and start pitching that new product to customers?

That’s where the rubber meets the road at a high growth company. The ability to execute on the day-to-day realities and quickly rally and redirect your team to fully optimize their performance.

We’d love to have a quick chat to continue the discussion, and help you really take aligning these initiatives to the next level!

Crank it up

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