Sales And Marketing Leaders: Wake Up, It's Almost 2022!

There is no magical fix or certain path to creating a true sense of alignment between sales and marketing departments, and it requires consistent effort and dedication

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It should come as no surprise that the ultimate goal of any forward-thinking organization is to ensure that their sales and marketing teams find a way to achieve alignment between the two crucial departments. Although this is a highly sought-after goal of many operations, few achieve it, and even more, struggle to keep their departments aligned after the initial change.

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There is no magical fix or certain path to creating a true sense of alignment between sales and marketing departments, and it requires consistent effort and dedication. After all, these two departments and their functions have been functioning separately for a long time. However, there are a few things that organizations need to know as they approach this undertaking.

What Is This Alignment About?

Sales and marketing alignment describes a shared system of strategy, communication, and goals that empower sales and marketing teams and departments to operate as a single, unified entity. As they work together, aligned teams deliver high-impact marketing activities, boost their organization’s sales effectiveness, and grow the company’s revenue.

In today’s environment, customers spend much more time exploring and engaging with brands before making a purchase decision. Duplicate communications and half-hearted handoffs will only serve to sour a buyer’s perception and potentially result in lost revenue. While this is an outcome that neither sales nor marketing leaders desire, far too often, they fail to take the initiative and align the efforts and goals of their teams and departments.

The Importance Of Taking the Initiative

Over 85 per cent of sales and marketing leaders agree that collaboration between the two departments enables critical business growth. Even with an understanding of its importance, one of the most significant contributors to a lack of alignment between sales and marketing lies in the failure to get the ball rolling.

Unfortunately, few sales and marketing leaders take it upon themselves to create alignment between the sales and marketing teams. This may seem like a task that should be executed by an organization’s CEO, but the truth is that it is not their top priority. Their focus is on increased revenue and company-wide growth.

Without sales and marketing alignment, sometimes referred to as smarketing, organizations of all sizes fail to recognize their true earning potential. So, whose responsibility is it to change the tide? Unfortunately, it is likely to fall into the hands of sales leaders, and here is why!

Why CMOs Won’t Take the Initiative

While there are certainly marketing leaders that realize the importance of aligning with the sales department, few will take the first step in joining the two departments. After all, marketing leaders and their teams already generate and provide leads for the sales teams to convert. Even though a joint effort would result in much more successful results regarding the conversion of qualified leads, the fact is that marketers are more focused on the volumes of leads provided to the sales department.

Another reason marketing leaders are racing to contact sales leaders and discuss alignment strategies is that their responsibilities already extend far beyond the functions and operations associated with marketing. Over the years, CMOs have become responsible for many other duties related to communications, branding, and managing the customer experience. Quite honestly, aligning their goals and functions with the sales department does little to serve any of the additional responsibilities that have become an integral part of their portfolio.

In short, it is not that marketing leaders or CMOs are too lazy or uninvested to take on the task. Their plates are usually already overfilled with many other tasks that are, in some ways, completely unrelated to passing on leads to sales leaders and their teams.

Sales Leaders Have More to Gain 

At this point in the article, it should be clear that marketing and sales leaders need to realize the absolutely crucial move towards sales and marketing alignment. Although leaders from both departments must understand the benefits of this approach, it essentially is the sales department that benefits more from the move, which is why sales leaders are much more likely to initiate the start of this task.

Sales and marketing alignment can help organizations become 67 per cent better at closing deals, which is, traditionally, a responsibility and function of the sales department. Because sales teams are often evaluated on their ability to successfully close deals, it is safe to say that they have a bit more skin in the game.

Most sales leaders and CSOs will agree that pipeline and lead generation are absolutely crucial to their success. Both marketing and sales leaders can agree that every organization requires a large volume of leads, but the quality of each lead is just as important. By reaching out to the marketing head, sales leaders can increase the value within their pipeline by ensuring that the marketing department is not just sending many leads, rather they are providing the ‘right’ leads.

Sales culture revolves around revenue growth. Sure, this is often a main concern for the CEO, but there is no denying that the sales teams and their leaders must deliver when it comes to generating revenue for the organization. By working more closely and in sync with the marketing department, sales leaders will have more success in driving growth and increasing revenue.

The Bottom Line

While sales leaders may have more to gain (or lose) regarding the success of their relationship with the marketing department and its leadership, sales and marketing alignment is a strategy and a system that only stands to significantly benefit both departments. Both sides of this organizational coin need to wake up and realize the potential that they are letting slip by because of a failure to align their goals.

If you are a marketing leader and haven’t approached this topic with your CSO, take this as a sign to start the conversation. You need to be including your sales leaders in decisions and goal creation regarding lead qualification, technology, outreach, content, and most importantly, how marketing creates and qualifies target account lists. After all, the most significant thing every organization stands to lose from misaligned sales and marketing teams is revenue. Where are you?

Sayantan Dasgupta

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Sayantan is a Director at Gramener, a data science and analytics company that helps organizations identify insights and convert them into compelling stories. With over 14+ years of experience across B2B SaaS-based companies, Venture Capital, Higher Ed, and the Music Industry, Sayantan helps teams with their GTM strategies, Product-market fit, and Demand Generation activities. In his previous stint, he fulfilled two titles; Vice President of Marketing, North America for a US-based ERP/CRM/SIS/AI company, and Partner at a Chicago-based Venture Capital firm focused on tech investments.

Being the great-grandson of Bipin Chandra Pal, who was one of the freedom fighters of India and the 'Father of Revolutionary Thoughts', Sayantan believes in supporting entrepreneurial ideas that are solving real problems in the society. Beyond his corporate life, Sayantan is a professional guitarist and is best known for his work as a session guitarist for the superhit movie Rang De Basanti where he worked for A. R. Rahman back in 2005. During his leisure, he teaches music at his studio, speaks at events and summits, and loves traveling.