Guest blogger Carlos Nouche from Visualize.
Many companies today grapple with a misalignment between marketing, sales, and the executive staff. This can cause a case of the “mis”- missteps and miscommunication, which lead to lower productivity and, ultimately, lower profits. According to a 2010 report by Aberdeen Research, companies who are “best-in-class” at aligning marketing and sales had 20% average growth in annual revenue as opposed to a 4% decline in “laggard” organizations. It is important for CEOs to lead the charge in aligning marketing and sales (critical aspects in any business) to develop momentum that feeds upon itself and moves your organization forward.
Marketing teams struggle today to maximize marketing dollars spent on lead generation, product positioning, analyst relations, and sales materials. Often these marketing resources are not targeted to reaching the ultimate buyer nor do they use a common framework that allows for sales to take immediate action in the field.
Sales teams struggle to grow revenues by customer, by representative and by product line. Often they lack the connection to marketing to pull out key customer success stories and to loop back to marketing key customer data related to wins and losses.
Most successful companies implement a common framework and process so that marketing is better able to deliver actionable material to the field and sales is better able to react to customer demands and in turn deliver must have customer data back to marketing. This common framework and process should permeate from executive staff to front line customer facing organizations, positioning company strengths in terms of what they mean to the end customer and the impact those strengths have on the customer’s bottom line. This process loop results in a snowball impact that can shift company momentum into overdrive.
The Call to Action:
Are your marketing and sales teams on the same page? Lack of alignment between marketing and sales can hurt the performance of your company, but you can overcome this challenge and get your teams in sync by implementing some key strategies that include:
- Aligning teams to maximize time, resources and budgets
- Developing a common language from the field sales force to marketing to the executive staff to allow for move effective and efficient communication around our company value proposition
- Making sure that marketing is involved in playing a strategic role within the executive staff to become a change agent
- Connecting marketing to the revenue line of the company
- Measuring the success of sales campaigns, leads, average deal size, sales by product offering, by vertical, etc.
Whatever framework you develop it must be aligned to the buying process that decision makers go through in making major purchasing decisions. Once your organization understands the key ingredients of the decision process – marketing and sales can start working together to craft messaging around a better understanding of customer challenges and how your products and services are able to uniquely address these challenges and deliver real results.
When marketing and sales work well together companies experience improvement in key performance metrics including shorter sales cycles, decreased market entry costs and lower cost of sales. Thus, bridging the gap between marketing and sales can really help your company move the needle toward business results that show up in the bottom line.