Creating harmony between sales and marketing

We see too many companies where Sales and Marketing are on opposing teams—fighting for resources, internal mindshare and credit for the bottom line. Sales may claim they have quantifiable data to support their efforts, while marketing often claims they’re the gate keepers of the brand. In my 30 years in this business I still witness issues and tensions between the two camps. Is there a better way to work? 

A better aligned Sales and Marketing function can help your company or organization if you experience the following:

  • A marketplace that has become commoditized
  • A mature marketplace where there is an exchange of points but no break out of share
  • A long and complex sales cycle
  • Desire to move into new products, geographical areas or each new customer segments
  • A situation where Sales and Marketing are not building off or sharing data

So what’s typical and what’s desirable? We start our strategic marketing planning with plotting business objectives into a Consumer Behavioral Model that demonstrates the quantity of leads needed to support sales goals. All consumers, regardless if you are a consumer good company customer or business-to-business customer, goes through this cycle. For some purchases this might take a matter of minutes to more complicated purchases or decisions that might take years. Here is a typical model:

If your company has a more fragmented sales and marketing function, the hand off is usually here:

An aligned function has sales and marketing working together further up in the process by identifying goals, objectives, strategies and tactics that will feed the entire funnel. Both sides also have exposure to data throughout the entire process, so everyone is on the same page when it comes to identifying and nurturing qualified leads. That alignment looks something closer to this:

We’ve lived the result of this new relationship and it’s powerful. Ownership and management of the funnel is shared, resources are more properly allocated and goals are better met with shared data throughout the cycle. We know the results of an aligned team. Do you know the cost of not being in alignment?