World war B2B: The misalignment of sales and marketing

In today's consumer-driven economy, there has been an increase in sales and marketing alignment as a stated goal for many B2B businesses. Although this is a great move forward in focusing tactics on addressing the true needs of the customer, there is still much work to be done in understanding how to execute a cohesive sales and marketing alignment strategy. Sales and marketing leaders must understand that the solution can not only be focused on technology but must achieve a fundamental shift in the way that sales and marketing interact with each other. We must help these teams achieve a sense of "togetherness" where all actions are in sync and focused on meeting the needs of the prospect in order to drive revenue growth. 

Companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve 20% annual growth rate. Companies with poor sales and marketing alignment have a 4% revenue decline.          --Aberdeen Group

So why is sales and marketing alignment so important? Because it affects the bottom line. Companies that do it well have been shown to achieve significant growth, while those that don't...see a significant revenue decline.In 2015, I conducted an informal online survey asking sales/marketing/biz dev professionals from very diverse industries their thoughts on why this "disconnect" exists. I wanted to get some insights into what can be done to change this counter-productive and sometimes toxic culture and start an honest conversation. The majority of respondents were B2B or a combination of both B2B and B2C. Key reasons for the "disconnect":   

  • Misalignment of goals between sales and marketing
  • Marketing and sales don't really have an idea of what the other does on a daily basis
  • Management taking a functional approach instead of a system approach to achieve business goals
  • No established feedback loop to allow sales and marketing to iterate strategies based on customer feedback
  • Marketing not understanding the need for sales to maintain long-term relationships with customers
  • Superiority complex of marketing and pride of sales 

 The first steps that need to be taken for any organization to find solutions are determining and recognizing what's broken in the buyer's journey. These findings will help identify where to start in the organization to move toward sales and marketing alignment. It is crucial that the company not only seek out technology-driven solutions but also ensure they are complimented with a commitment to cultural change to ensure the technology is effective. If the leaders of the organization are not able to agree on how the relationship between sales and marketing should change and/or not committed to coach their respective teams on change, then ultimately the move toward alignment will be slow or unsuccessful altogether. Let's end this war together!