The terms ‘sales’ and ‘marketing’ are often used in conjunction with one another, whether in terms of job advertisements, department titles or conceptual discussions. However, this use of the terms together does not necessarily translate into a carefully aligned and symbiotic relationship between the two functions. How does your sales strategy align with your marketing efforts? How does your marketing feed and drive sales to meet your targets? Do your sales and marketing teams complement one another, or do they sit apart and rarely communicate?
These are all questions you need to ask when aligning sales and marketing divisions, and here are three reasons you should make the necessary alignments.
The question of why bother to spend time and effort aligning your sales and marketing strategies is a valid one.
According to Harvard Business Review (HBR) ‘marketing and sales departments often set their strategies, and goals, separately from each other,’ which leads to a ‘lack of alignment around product pricing and sales force compensation strategies.’ The key problem with this lack of alignment is that it ‘both demotivates salespeople and inadvertently encourages them to sacrifice company profits to meet their own goals.’
This creates an unnecessary level of difficulty for all team members involved and hampers organisational efficiency. Given that, as HBR points out, ‘companies today face stiff competition from rivals and complex demands from customers,’ this is one difficulty that brands could do without.
For Marketing Tech News, aligning sales and marketing is a must if you are going to craft a successful ecommerce strategy. Like HBR, Marketing Tech’s article argues that, traditionally, many brands relied on separate sales and marketing divisions. It emphasises that:
‘Marketing teams need to reach the right customer at the right moment and are measured by brand awareness and reach metrics. Sales teams need to meet sell-through targets and are assessed on percentage of added value acquired in a deal or incremental sales driven in a short time period.’
This difference in time-scales is a challenge in the context of modern ecommerce. This is because the customer journey between awareness and purchase can range from extremely short, for example when using Instagram shoppable, or complex and conducted across multiple channels. The case for alignment becomes clear when, as Marketing Tech explains, ‘unless a brand is managing ecommerce directly, there will be a gap of transactional data when trying to understand the true commercial return on marketing investment and there is a major disconnect from the sales being driven through retailers.’ By reducing the gap between sales and marketing, brands will be able ‘to maximise the revenue opportunities from ecommerce’ and drive growth.
The old adage ‘many hands make light work’ can be used to understand the case for better alignment between sales and marketing. Rather than dividing the labour between two siloed teams, combining resources, manpower and effort to drive results is often a fruitful exercise.
Some statistics on how fruitful this combination can be have been provided by Business2Community.com. Pointing to a study by Marketo about the sales and marketing alignment practices of 500 companies, Business2Community showed that greater alignment led to:
Other surveys cited by Business2Community demonstrate that ‘70% of respondents said sales and marketing collaboration delivers a better buying experience for the customer.’ With so many measurable benefits to combining the resources of sales and marketing divisions, the case for alignment is clear. For a streamlined, efficient and profitable strategy, collaboration and communication is best.