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Are You Out of Alignment?

Updated: Feb 26, 2020

Check all that apply:

  • Our sales team doesn’t understand/can’t articulate our value proposition

  • Marketing doesn’t understand our customers and creates materials that don’t resonate with prospects

  • Sales doesn’t use what we (marketing) provide

  • Marketing is just adding to the marketplace noise

  • Sales doesn’t stick to the strategy

  • Marketing materials don’t work with our sales model

If you’ve checked a few boxes, chances are your sales and marketing teams are not in alignment. When these two groups are out of sync, resources are squandered, opportunities are missed and the competition thrives. In fact, lost sales productivity and wasted marketing budget costs companies at least $1 trillion a year.* Ouch. reports that when marketing and sales are aligned, the results include 38% higher sales closes and 35% higher customer retention rates. So how can you create greater alignment? Here are three places to focus to sharpen alignment:


It’s not about Marketing and Sales: It’s about The Customer

Which companies excel at putting customers at the center of their business model? Amazon, USAA, Chick-fil-A come to mind. These companies understand the specific challenges and unique needs of their targeted markets. With intimate knowledge and deep compassion for these target markets, customer centric organizations tailor every message so that they resonate.

What does this mean for sales? Every sales activity must be based on what the target audience needs, and each interaction must occur in a manner that matches the way that they prefer to buy. The specific sales model must be tailored to fit with the target audience.

And what does this mean for marketing? The customer value proposition must be

  • based on quantifiable market research

  • vetted with the target market

  • crystal clear to everyone in the company

  • tirelessly communicated

  • tailored to fit perfectly with what you sell and how you sell it

Collaborate on sales model selection and tool development

A well-oiled sales machine requires a proven sales model. This model must have a consistent process, provide process and results measures, and work well in the company’s target markets. It must also be understood and embraced by marketing which will provide the appropriate processes and tools for each stage of the sales journey. Marketing must be field-savvy, spending time with the sales team in front of customers. Without direct customer contact it will not be possible to develop appropriate, timely content.

Align from the top down

Alignment starts at the top. It must be expected by the C suite, modeled by the respective leaders and demanded of all within the company. Leadership must hold everyone in each department accountable for pursuing a customer-centric alignment strategy. Provide visible, desired rewards for positive actions and appropriate consequences for those who miss the mark.

The rewards for strong alignment are significant. Marketo reports that highly aligned sales and marketing teams are 67% better at closing deals and driving revenue. Start with a commitment from the top of the organization to pursue alignment. Hold people accountable for optimizing the sales model. And execute specific programs to become customer centric. Then, watch the results roll in.

*Source: 101 B2B Marketing and Sales Tips from The B2B Lead

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