Throughout my career, I have never seen a company with sales and marketing on the same page, in total alignment. Listening to a webinar by Bright Talk, they claim 70% of brochures marketing develops are not used. Sales people re-create the wheel 90% of the time by customizing to a customer. Yet, these two disciplines have the same overall objective: DRIVING REVENUE.

Consider, also, that the businesslandscape has changed from 20 years ago. More and more buyers take advantage of the increasing availability of information and choose to engage with sales people later in the decision process. Cold calling is still alive, yet 50% of sales time is spent on unproductive prospecting.

It’s never been more important for sales and marketing to work together seamlessly to ensure leads are generated, nurtured and handed over with optimum effectiveness. However, in many companies, the relationship between these two functions remains highly inefficient and problematic.

Companies generally assign marketing to generate the leads. One statistic from Marketo says that 80% of the marketing leads are ignored by sales. Does that make sense? Why does it happen?

Biggest Mistakes When Forming a Sales and Marketing Campaign

  1. Not using a formal process to develop marketing strategies and campaigns.
  2. Marketing team not collaborating with Sales team to create marketing programs or materials.
  3. Not spending the time to understand the competition and articulate the company’s unique selling proposition.
  4. Lack of respect and understanding of the respective skill sets needed to be in Sales or Marketing.
  5. Thinking prospects want to read or hear as much as the Sales & Marketing teams want to share.
  6. Neither sales or marketing team(s) aligning their goal to the overall company’s business goal(s).
  7. Sales either not using or not understanding tools created by marketing.
  8. Neither sales nor marketing communicates about potential trends or challenges observed within the industry.
  9. Call-to-action statements either do not align with current marketing messages or are absent.

How to Change the Mindset and Get Marketing and Sales to Work Together

  1. Train Marketing to think of Sales as their customers.
  2. Clearly define market segments and target accounts in each segment.
  3. Compensate both Sales and Marketing teams based on ROI and revenue generated.
  4. Ensure Marketing understands the whole sales process, not just how to generate leads.
  5. Ensure Sales communicates with Marketing when leads are not closing to ensure the right leads are being attracted to the message.
  6. 6. Train and involve the Sales people to communicate and build relationships using social media. Ask Marketing for help by providing the right sales messages and other quality, shareable content.
  7. 7. Jointly develop an e-mail marketing strategy that combines Marketing and Sales communication. Marketing may send it out, and the follow-up is done by Sales. Both teams should meet regularly to review these communication efforts.
  8. 8. Share data information on a regular basis. This means that sales must provide market intelligence on a regular basis, and marketing must provide trend information.
  9. Cross-train Sales and Marketing people, for better understanding and respect.

In conclusion, maximum profit potential will be achieved when the roles of Sales and Marketing well understood, plans are aligned, and communication and coordination are ongoing. A good alignment is when the targets are the same, the compensation package has a mutual reliance, and when marketing participates in the whole process NOT just lead generation.

Co-contributed by: Allan Himmelstein,; and Patty Hughes,