Today's dynamic market environment is forcing businesses of all sizes and types to be able to react quickly and decisively to rapidly changing business and competitive conditions and changing customer demands.

The more agile a company, the faster it can respond to market dynamics and develop new products and processes, recognize new opportunities, and redeploy resources accordingly. The degree of agility may be the difference between being a market leader or being an also-ran.

Agility requires proactive planning, business intelligence, and alignment and collaboration among all the key functions to make the right decisions and turn opportunities into a competitive advantage.

One of the key alignment issues facing many companies is the alignment between marketing and sales.

Marketing and Sales Alignment Remains Elusive

At Red Herring's recent CMO Summit, the results of its CMO survey revealed that marketing and sales alignment is one the study participants' top five strategic issues for 2007: 42% of the respondents gave it a nine or ten as a crucial issue to address.

The issue of marketing and sales alignment isn't new. Most marketing and sales people have been in organizations where marketing has to accused sales of not following up on leads and refusing to track leads through the sales cycle, and sales has accused marketing of not providing viable qualified leads.

This misalignment is often attributed to a variety of factors, such as different goals, different timelines, and different psychologies. Market dynamics such as commoditization, the Internet, mobility and virtualization, and changing business models only compound the problem.

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image of Laura Patterson

Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM