Marketing and Sales Alignment – Easier Than You Think

Posted: Updated:
Richardson is a senior manager with Centric Consulting. Richardson is a senior manager with Centric Consulting.

There was a time, and perhaps you’re still living in it, where marketing is expected to drive sales leads, conversations, magically help close deals, and all sorts of expectations a marketing team can never meet. This period exists because there is a misalignment in those expectations of what marketing should do and what sales should do.

I like to start with the basics. Is your company providing a product or service? Is it easy to sell? Is it cheap? Do your customers buy once? Do you call your buyers customers or clients? How big is your market? What level of “touch” does your buyer want?

Marketing has a side that best aligns with where it can be the most effective. When a product or service is less expensive, has a huge market of buyers, has a short and/or very easy buying process, doesn’t care about the relationship with the customer (as much) and does not need to have multiple touches with the buyer to close the deal, marketing can and should play a huge role in your organization. This is where marketing can shine all on its own.

When your service is expensive, has a limited audience, has a complex conversation around the buying process, isn’t a fit for a huge market, worries about growing a relationship and needs (and wants!) a lot of touches in the buying process, sales shines best.

I usually get a lot of head nods here and everyone at the business table starts to appreciate where their buyer is on the opposing spectrums. And then each person at the table starts to look around because the main thing that is ultimately in each person’s head is this:  “How does marketing support sales, then?” or when they realize, “How does sales support marketing?” (yes, that’s a thing)

Regardless of which you line up with, the other must align with you. Start by being honest with yourself on which truly should take the lead in your organization. If you pick more items from the marketing examples above; your marketing takes the lead and you can perfect and automate it with big success. If you see more opportunity on the sales side, sales take the lead.

In this example, sales will take the lead and we’ll start with the sales process. Write down your sales process, line it up, explain how it works; make sure every sales and marketing person in your company agrees with where you land. Then map your marketing ideas to that process. Let’s say your second step in the sales process is to have a conversation that qualifies your buyer. Marketing supports this process with items like a conversation guide, qualifying questions that each person on the sales team can use to help qualify the buyer, mini case studies for follow up once the buyer has been qualified, steps to setting up an assessment or proof of concept as a next step once qualified, etc. Perfect, beautiful alignment. Do this for each step in your process, including closing the deal and after the sale.

If necessary, take each product you offer and repeat this process – maybe one or two products need more of a marketing lead and a few need sales to lead? Maybe the marketing lead products bridge into the sales lead portion of your offering(s) to grow an account and build on relationships? Alignment between your sales and marketing teams on where each best performs for the buyer is what’s at stake and what is most important.

When your marketing and sales team are in sync and move together everyone wins. Teams that work against each other, try to compete for the buyer, or cause friction in the buying process will not only fail, they will be missing out on revenue and company growth goals. When I have helped facilitate this process, the teams often start as divided and unsure, so don’t expect rainbows and smiles at the start. That said, once the hours roll into the day and this process has come full circle, the teams are engaged, excited and ready to move forward because they know, with confidence, how they need to go to market and they’re all clear on which seat on the bus they’re in to build revenue together.

  • Perspectives

    • Planning For Expansion or Relocation in 2019?

      Given the strength of today’s economy, business relocations and expansions that were once few and far between are now much more common. Businesses considering significant investments or relocations in 2019 will consider the cost and availability of workforce, logistics, cost of short- and long-term occupancy, and much more when looking for the ideal project site. There needs to be a good community fit as well. While these are all critically important factors to the success of a...
    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Indy Airport to Introduce New Airline

      Indianapolis International Airport will today host an event to welcome a new airline. Airport officials say the provider will add more routes to IND's growing roster of options. Earlier this month, the airport reported record-breaking traffic in the third quarter. IND said the more than 2.4 million passengers that passed through the airport in the third quarter of 2018 marked an 8 percent year-to-date increase over last year and the best third quarter in the facility's history.

    • IND Adds New Airline, Nonstop Routes

      A Florida-based airline, billing itself as an "ultra low-cost carrier," is coming to Indianapolis International Airport. Spirit Airlines Inc. (NYSE: SAVE) will begin daily, nonstop service to Las Vegas and Orlando in March, and add summer seasonal nonstop service to Myrtle Beach in May. Vice President For Capacity Planning Mark Kopczak says the airline sees "real potential for growth" in those routes, adding IND has done a good job "selling Indy as a place...

    • Stellar Communities Winners Unveiled

      Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch has unveiled the two winners of the 2018 Stellar Community designation. The regions selected for the designation will receive state funding to implement the revitalization plans submitted for their communities. This is the first year the designation has been awarded on a regional basis. Each region will receive $4.5 million from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, $2 million from the Indiana Department of Transportation and...

    • National FFA Convention to Stay in Indy

      One of the state's largest conventions will remain in Indianapolis. The National FFA Organization has announced Indy will continue to host the National FFA Convention & Expo through 2031. The announcement comes two months after the organization set a new attendance record at the 2018 convention, which drew 69,944 people. The event had an estimated economic impact of $39.8 million for the city. The organization has previously committed to hold the event...

    • Indiana Companies Among 'Just 100'

      Three Indiana-based companies are including in Forbes' 2019 "Just 100" list. The ranking, according to the publication, features companies that are "taking the public interest into their own hands and generating better returns for themselves and society in the process."