Sales and Marketing are two sides of the same coin. In the simplest of terms, while marketing focuses on creating awareness and evoking a desire to buy a particular product/service or brand, sales focuses on converting a potential customer into an actual one. That being said, it’s pretty obvious that their ultimate goal is the same: business growth. Coming together with a common goal of increasing revenue, these two pillars of a successful business can drastically increase marketing ROI, sales productivity, and profits.
There is immense scope for improving business performance by aligning sales and marketing functions; an idea that is often overlooked due to deep-rooted misunderstandings.
Why is it then that marketing and sales teams view each other as competitors, as opposed to collaborators?
A difference in their approach is one reason. Marketing strategies are created for the long haul: building brand awareness, recognition, and retention, developing a solid foundation, nurturing leads etc. Sales strategies tend to be short-term, dealing with meeting monthly, quarterly, and yearly quotas. They need aid from the marketing team that will help them close a sale today.
Another reason for discord between sales and marketing teams is the difficulty in measuring the results of marketing activities, unlike the quantifiable outcomes of sales efforts. This often leads to marketing efforts not being taken seriously or considered important by the sales team.
Demand Gen & Inside View conducted a survey amongst sales and marketing professionals to understand the main issues faced in aligning marketing and sales. The results provide proof of the problems stated above. 49% of those surveyed cited communication as the main challenge, followed by broken or flawed processes (42%), use of different metrics (40%), lack of accurate data on target accounts (39%) and reporting challenges (27%).
Acknowledging the problem is the first step in solving it.
Benefits of aligning marketing and sales
Before stating the measurable benefits of aligning sales and marketing, let’s go over the real and potential losses that arise out of non-alignment. As per
- Companies are losing closing to $ 1 trillion per year due to lost sales and wasted marketing expenditure.
- 79% of marketing leads don’t close.
- Only 27% of leads given by B2B marketers are pursued by the sales team.
The advantages on the other hand are:
- According to Wheelhouse Advisors companies that ran sales and marketing strategies in tandem achieved 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher win rates.
- A report by Aberdeen Research states that companies that have aligned sales and marketing saw an average of 20% increase in annual revenue, as opposed to a 4% decrease in companies that didn’t.
As per Sirius Decisions research B2B organizations having well-aligned sales and marketing functions saw 24% more rapid growth and 27% more rapid profit increase over a period of three years.
The good news
There is an increasing desire to work in collaboration, especially being voiced by Sales. A survey of 300 Sales heads by Sirius Decisions states, “The top third of the sales cycle has gone away. Salespeople believe that the beginning of the traditional sales process has evaporated and that buyers are self-servicing their needs instead of engaging with salespeople.” This shift in buying behavior has Sales all the more dependent on Marketing.
Time to get onboard
Given the real and quantifiable benefits of aligning your sales and marketing strategy, especially in today’s digital era where consumers are well informed and knowledgeable, it is imperative to implement policies and create an environment that brings these two vital functions together. A well thought out integrated Sales-Marketing plan is what will make the difference between growth and sustainable growth.