In companies today, the sales, marketing, and technology teams need to be aligned to work together to achieve business goals and a common set of objectives. But traditionally there’s been a big gap between sales and marketing. B2B companies in particular have embraced a sales-led culture where marketing is often viewed simply as a support function for the sales team. But the internet and social media have dramatically shifted power to the buyer, leaving sales struggling to add value and sell to customers who may understand their product better than they do.

So why do as little as 8% of B2B companies say they have achieved this all-important alliance?

The most common reasons that companies lack sales and marketing alignment are threefold:

    1. Marketing is seen as a cost centre and sales as a revenue centre so they are naturally divided by people’s views of the functions.
    2. Companies often wait a long time before hiring anyone in marketing to support the business so by the time they do, marketing is tacked on to the sales function as an afterthought and therefore not clearly defined with respect to its role in the business.
    3. The information stone wall—as companies grow, they often fail to plan for systems that will track and manage data that both functions can use to improve their results. The sales team may not be disciplined in their use of a CRM or sales process data and the marketing team is not measuring their results against the correct metrics.

How to Create Sales and Marketing Team Alignment

There has never been a more important time to address sales and marketing team alignment. Everyone should know how to market and sell a product or service. The marketing team should have a precise picture of how a buyer buys something and the sales team should know precisely who the target audience is and who they are looking for in the sales process. When these two things are identified clearly in a business, magic happens creating alignment. You can’t build lead generation or lead nurturing programs if you have not documented buyer personas and understand intimately what someone needs to short list your company. You can’t improve sales results if you have not documented your sales process and have a clear description of who you want as customers and why.

Table #1: Ingredients for creating alignment

Marketing needs to… Sales needs to…
1. Have a documented value proposition that can be tested that sales agrees resonates with buyers 1. Document the process they need to follow to qualify a prospect and the steps required to close a sale
2. A documented buyer persona that describes the vision and requirements of the economic buyer and how they short list customers 2. Provide a tightly defined description of the ideal prospect profile to the marketing team mapped against the buyer journey
3. A content road map that shows where and how prospective buyers will engage with your company and how to measure whether they are sales ready 3. Identify through social channels and online connections where the ideal prospect hangs out and connects with companies
4. Track and measure on a 30 day cycle which leads moved to the sales team and what worked and what didn’t with inbound marketing 4. Track and measure on a 30 day cycle which leads from marketing moved through the funnel

The Importance of Aligning CRM and Marketing Automation

Like your teams, your software tools will work better when they work together. Since Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and Dynamics 365 for Marketing are built on the same platform, they work seamlessly by sharing data and connecting processes. Integrating marketing automation with your CRM makes viewing and analyzing information faster and easier. Data is less cumbersome to organize and there’s also less chance of anything falling through the cracks. Integration means consistent, unified messaging to forge the optimal customer relationship. When sales and marketing teams work together it allows them to understand and address a customer’s needs through the right channels at the right time.

The technology team plays an important role too, by helping sales and marketing understand the software capabilities, troubleshooting installation and implantation problems, as well as maintaining smooth workflow. Ultimately sales, marketing, and technology must synchronize to gain and retain customers. A unified system is the best way to connect with buyers at the right time, determine what types of messages to send and when to deliver them, and nurture leads to ensure a smooth hand-off from marketing to sales.

The magic ingredients needed today to support the digital transformation of the sales and marketing functions and create alignment to drive long term strategic growth include:

  1. Agreement on business goals and objectives – Get our new guide here to understand how to set better marketing goals
  2. The right people to manage the process –if your sales and marketing team cannot deliver on the items in Table #1, consider recruiting outside support. Marketing and sales are complex functions today and an outside set of eyes and a process to follow will help. Check out the Marketing CoPilot Methodology.
  3. The right systems – If you have not embarked on implementing the right CRM and marketing automation tools for your business you will fall behind quickly. The integrated approach to data management that Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and Dynamics 365 for Marketing provide, is the most efficient way to improve workflow and increase productivity.

Still wondering? Check out this podcast with Marie Wiese and Rick McCutcheon to listen on the new paradigm in sales and marketing and how to create alignment in your business.