Are Your Sales And Marketing Strategies Aligned?

“Why would you even pose that question Dave? Of course our sales strategy is aligned with our marketing strategy!” Then immediately following this statement, we start talking about the “silo’s.” Or we talk about lead quality, or it’s something else. All the signs that sales and marketing may be aligned-but not in sync. But there are changes that put even more stress in the already difficult task of aligning sales and marketing.

Buying is changing so quickly that it stresses all our strategies-both sales and marketing. Keeping the strategies in alignment is a challenge. We used to think of marketing and sales as sequential-marketing focused on the front end, sales focused on closing the deal. All those rules are changing. Better informed customers force us to change our sales and marketing strategies. Marketing and sales now have to work more closely through the entire customer engagement process.

In the new world of buying, sales must get engaged earlier than traditionally. Sales must engage customers in thinking about their businesses differently, getting them to imagine new possibilities. The customer may not have a defined need, but sales can help the customer think of new ways to grow. Marketing has to be involved in that process, working hand in hand with sales-with new materials to support sales in these discussions with customers. Marketing must continue nurturing the customer as they consider these new opportunities.

Marketing will be involved longer in the process. It’s no longer “provide the lead to sales, now it’s their responsibility.” Marketing must provide the tools to help sales better qualify and quantify the customer’s needs and requirements. Sales must have tools to help develop, communicate, and deliver differentiated value. Things like questioning guides, interview guides, justification guides-along with case studies and other materials.

In the future, marketing and sales will look like a basketball team. There will be defined roles and “plays,” but the organizations will need to be nimble in responding to changing situations-both in the markets and in individual sales situations.

Are your sales and marketing strategies aligned. Can your sales and marketing teams work closely together, adapting rapidly to changes from markets, competition, and customers? Sales and marketing alignment is always difficult, but never more important!