Sunday, May 6, 2012

KSF Number 4; Alignment Between Marketing and Sales

KSF Number 4, Alignment Between Marketing and Sales. Does the sales team know what the marketing team is doing on a daily basis and on a strategic basis?   Do they know the value proposition, target market and associated messaging? Does the marketing team have a clue about the daily activities of the sales team or their needs, wants, frustrations, likes or dislikes about marketing activities or content?  In many cases, the answer to these questions is typically 'no'.  There is much writing and commiserating about this topic. Check out the Eloqua weblog, 'It's All About Revenue' for some good posts, writing and references about this subject. Alignment between these seemingly disparate functions is very hard to achieve.  However, data shows that the firm that is able to accomplish alignment between sales and marketing will significantly outperform those firms that do not achieve alignment thus it is a KSF for the Modern Marketing Team.

As a manager of both global marketing and regional execution, I experience the difficulty in achieving alignment every day.  Sales is busy and focused on doing everything they can to sell more. Marketing is working hard to generate demand through events, brochures, emails, etc. and never the twain shall meet as they say.  My experience tells me that the critical piece of the alignment puzzle is direction from the top of the chain of command.  Ideally, I would have a senior person leading, let's say, a 'revenue team', which includes field sales, inside sales, field marketers, content developers, etc. The ubiquitous structure where there is a sales team and a separate marketing team with different leaders should be abolished and replaced with the single 'revenue team'.  Once this structure is changed, you are in a much better position to achieve alignment within one team versus struggling to align, what commonly is seen as two disparate 'empires', if you please.

Next and final post of the KSF series, KSF 5, Marketing and the R&D Team