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SELL THE DIFFERENCE: Establishing your Unique Solution Value

is your sales + marketing aligned - or falling behind?

Posted by Bob Apollo on Tue 15-Jun-2010

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CompassIs your sales and marketing aligned?  If not, you are running the risk of falling behind.  Sometimes the signs of a lack of alignment are obvious. Marketing spends money generating leads the sales force never follow up whilst sales people "reinvent the wheel" because they don't want to use the sales tools marketing has created.  The Aberdeen Group concluded that the average sales person spends 40-60 hours a month re-creating sales-ready, customer-relevant material they think marketing could and should have produced better in the first place.

It's strange to observe that these remain such common experiences when CSO Insights’ 2010 Sales Performance Optimization survey of more than 2800 sales leaders identified “achieving better sales and marketing alignment” as one of the most important revenue-driving initiatives for the year ahead.

alignment brings benefits

The Harvard Business Review has confirmed the often dramatic benefits enjoyed by well-aligned organisations - they observe that “When Sales and Marketing work well together, companies see substantial improvement in important performance metrics: Sales cycles are shorter, market entry costs go down, and the cost of sales is lower”.  Hugh Mcfarlane of Mathmarketing found much the same.  He surveyed 1,400 people in 84 countries around the world, and found that well-aligned organisations grew 5.4% faster, closed 38% more proposals and lost 36% fewer customers than their inadequately-aligned rivals.

The evidence seems to be clear - when sales and marketing organisations get aligned, great things happen.  So it ought to be a question of how, not if.  Most of my recent work with clients has been on sales and alignment issues.  I'm pleased to be able to report that we've seen some pretty dramatic benefits along the lines quoted above or better, albeit with a smaller sample size.

the foundations of effective alignment

What's the formula for success?  Naturally the precise approach will vary from one company to the next, but I'm confident that there are at least 7 common factors.  Sales and marketing organisations that are well-aligned:

  • Have agreed "ideal prospect profiles"
  • Involve sales in active market research
  • Craft "messages that matter" to their prospects
  • Manage an integrated revenue cycle
  • Share a common language
  • Establish shared metrics
  • Enjoy executive commitment

download the white paper

I've encapsulated what I've learned about these factors in a new white paper, entitled "are you aligned - or falling behind?".  You can download it here.  It includes a 20-point questionnaire that I think you'll find illuminating.   No registration is required, but I'd love to hear your comments - let me know what you think.

Topics: CSO Insights, Sales + Marketing Alignment, Aberdeen Group, Scalable Systems, Complex Sales