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The Outcome-Centric Selling Blog

Why Sales and Marketing Alignment Really, Really Matters

Posted by Bob Apollo on Mon 9-Jan-2012

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According to a recent Aberdeen Group report, “alignment of marketing and sales goals is a key strategy for many organisations seeking revenue and customer growth amid economic and market challenges”. Poorly aligned organisations are quickly falling behind their best-in-class competitors in the critical areas of revenue growth, sales productivity and return on marketing investment. But how can you tell if your organisation has an alignment problem?

It turns out that the signs are easy to identify. Here are a few of them:

    • You hear Sales saying things like

“The folks in marketing have no idea about the real world”

“Marketing spends so much money, I have no idea what they do with it all”

    • You hear Marketing saying things like

“Sales are asking to go to that trade show again, even though it didn’t work before”

“Sales have no idea of what we are doing for them”

    • Sales people spend hours every week recreating materials because they don’t want to use the stuff marketing has created
    • Every sales win feels like you’ve just been through hand-to-hand combat
    • You’ve got no real idea of your true Return on Marketing Investment
    • Your sales forecasts (and revenue performance) are all over the place
    • You struggle to bring new sales people (and new partners) up to speed
    • Generating revenue just feels like far, far harder work than it ought to be

Does any of that resonate with you? Or maybe make you feel just a little uneasy? It’s easy for some companies to pass these things off as inevitable frustrations, or to justify them by claiming that, after all, “Sales is from Mars, and Marketing is from Venus”, or some other such nonsense.

But these excuses simply won’t wash. There’s absolutely no reason why every organisation should not be able to achieve a high level of sales and marketing alignment and collaboration. All it takes is management willpower and the determination to see the task through. And just in case you feel it might not be worth the effort, just consider these statistics:

  • Aberdeen Group recently reported that highly aligned organisations managed to achieve an average 32% annual revenue growth over the past year compared to an average 7% decline for their less well-aligned competitors
  • The effect holds true over the longer-term, as well: Sirius Decisions found that B2B organisations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations achieved 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth
  • MarketingProfs, in a landmark joint study with MathMarketing, found that organisations with tightly-aligned sales and marketing functions enjoyed 36% higher customer retention rates and achieved 38% higher sales win rates
  • Finally, CSO Insights, in their 2011 Sales Performance Optimisation study, found that companies with dynamic, adaptable sales and marketing processes had an average of 10% more of their sales people on quota

Webinar on Sales and Marketing Alignment

The benefits of alignment are compelling, and far outweigh the effort required. If you feel that you could be doing more to drive alignment inside your sales and marketing organisations, I’m going to be sharing some of the lessons learned from a series of successful client engagements in an upcoming webinar on Tuesday 10th January 2012. I’m sharing the registration link below. If you click on the link after the event, it should take you to a recording.

A BrightTALK Channel

More Resources to Help You Get Aligned

I’d like to share a couple of additional resources I think you might find useful:

Firstly, I’m going to suggest that you invest 10 minutes in benchmarking your sales and marketing organisation against the winning habits of many of today’s best-in-class companies by following this link.

Second, I’m going to suggest that you download a copy of our recent white paper on the “7 Essential Foundations for Achieving Sales and Marketing Alignment”.  I’m confident that you’ll emerge with at least a handful of actionable ideas. You can download your copy here.

This isn’t just about getting Sales and Marketing to play together nicely. It’s about getting your whole organisation aligned around a common understanding of who your best customers are, what really matters to them, how your solutions can help them, and how and why they choose to buy.

The conclusion is simple. If your organisation is not aligned, then it may already be falling behind. Get it right, and you could dramatically accelerate your revenue growth. And maybe - just maybe - spend a little less time worrying about how the next few quarters are going to shape up.

Topics: B2B Marketing, CSO Insights, Sirius Decisions, Sales + Marketing Alignment, Aberdeen Group, Complex Sales