The Gist

  • Siloed struggles. Sales and marketing operating in silos hinders their ability to fully execute their jobs, resulting in tension and misalignment.
  • Collaboration crucial. Aligning sales and marketing is particularly important in the B2B market, requiring collaboration and orchestration of customer learning across channels.
  • Unified technology. Utilizing a common technology stack for both sales and marketing can lead to more efficient and effective collaboration.

Once upon a time, in a bustling city of commerce, two renowned departments excelled in their exceptional skills for generating wealth for their thriving businesses. One was sales, adept at persuading and closing deals, while the other was marketing, masters of crafting captivating messages that engaged audiences. Despite their prowess, these two departments often found themselves at odds, arguing over their tactics and approaches, oblivious to the fact that their ultimate goal was the same: to bolster their businesses' fortunes.

Sales and marketing have traditionally operated in silos, resulting in tension and preventing each team from fully executing its jobs, according to Jeffrey L. Cohen, Gartner director analyst in the research firm’s marketing practice, who discusses the issue in a research note. He recommends that CSOs and CMOs view alignment as the ongoing collaboration on several fundamental revenue-generating activities.

The importance of aligning marketing and sales becomes particularly important in the B2B market, Gartner said in Building a Unified Commercial Strategy research note: “Sales and marketing must work together to orchestrate customer learning across channels and ensure buyers pause to reflect on their own goals as part of the purchase."

But the alignment of sales and marketing doesn’t just happen.

Communication Critical for Aligning Sales and Marketing

To align sales and marketing, both teams must collaborate, communicate and make data-driven decisions, said Lyndie Dragomir, KPMG senior head of global sector marketing and communications.

A shared understanding of the customer journey is an excellent way to align sales with marketing to drive this communication, according to Dragomir. “This process requires mapping out prospects' stages from awareness to purchase and identifying touchpoints where sales and marketing can collaborate. For example, marketing can create educational content that addresses the prospect's pain points, while sales can provide personalized messaging based on their specific needs.”

Doing this enables the two teams to make more informed decisions and communicate more effectively by collecting and sharing customer behavior and preferences information, Dragomir added. “For instance, marketing can provide sales with insights about the content and channels that resonate most with prospects.

Additionally sales can provide feedback on the quality and relevance of leads generated by marketing. When marketing and sales teams align their strategies, messaging and tactics, prospects will experience a consistent and personalized experience that will result in higher conversion rates, Dragomir said.

Related Article: The Secret to Sales and Marketing Alignment: School of Rock

Align Sales and Marketing Through Common Technology

Communication and developing buyer personas and journey maps are critical to aligning marketing and sales, agreed Ashley Carty, Carty Media CEO, adding that organizations must also use a common sales and marketing technology stack.

“Many companies use separate technology stacks for marketing and sales, which can lead to disjointed data and processes,” Carty explained. “By utilizing a common technology stack, both teams can have a unified view of customer interactions and activities. This can include using a shared CRM system, marketing automation platform and analytics tools. By leveraging a common technology stack, marketing and sales can work together more efficiently and effectively, ensuring a seamless customer experience.”

Learning Opportunities

Carty said disparate systems can often be integrated application programming interfaces (APIs) and workflow, with information shared across key applications.

Related Article: Flying Blind in Your Sales and Marketing? Account Intelligence to the Rescue

Get Sales and Marketing to Focus on Shared Goals

"The key to aligning marketing with sales is both focusing on shared goals and outcomes and reducing friction points where leads and prospects become deals and clients, said Allen Bonde, TreviPay CMO. “Frameworks can be super helpful in terms of prioritizing corporate and functional objectives, and then structuring and monitoring progress towards shared key results like monthly meetings with prospects in a target industry and new pipeline added per quarter.

It also helps having a shared dashboard, Bonde added. “In online commerce, it’s up to the go-to-market ‘squad’ to know which digital touchpoints, hand-offs, and services like payments are necessary to streamline the purchase process and set up the right conditions for larger purchases and ultimately lifetime value.”

Final Thoughts on Aligning Marketing and Sales

Aligning marketing and sales helps members of both teams work toward common goals, rather than at cross purposes, which ultimately helps not only members of both teams, but also the organization as a whole. Organizations with high levels of alignment across customer-facing functions like marketing, CX, sales and digital report a 2.4 times higher revenue growth and two times higher profitability growth than those with no alignment, according to a Forrester survey.

Businesses today must strive to align these crucial teams. By focusing on effective communication, leveraging common technology and prioritizing shared goals, organizations can bridge the gap between these departments and create a unified front.

Ultimately, this alignment leads to higher revenue growth, increased profitability and a harmonious environment that benefits not only the teams but the entire organization. It is through embracing these principles that companies can write their own "happily ever after" and thrive in today's competitive marketplace.