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Six Best-Practices to Improve Sales and Marketing Alignment

by Laura Patterson  |  
November 2, 2010
  |  8,927 views

In this article, learn...

  • Six opportunity-management best-practices
  • The differences between a sales-oriented pipeline and a customer buying-oriented pipeline
  • Seven steps you can use to create a customer-centric pipeline that helps align Sales and Marketing

Your sales and marketing organizations are the most critical links to customers. Having well-oiled sales and marketing machines that work well together can make all the difference in successfully addressing revenue and growth.

The alignment of those two organizations determines how well a company attracts buyers and sells to them. The relationship is more than just a simple handoff at the point a lead is generated; it is the foundation for profitable revenue growth.

Research firm IDC calls marketing and sales alignment one of the greatest opportunities to improve the revenue cycle.

Aligning Sales and Marketing in Four Key Areas

There's plenty of talk about aligning Sales and Marketing, and most often that conversation is around lead management. But Sales and Marketing need to be aligned in at least these four areas:

  1. Market and customer segmentation
  2. Go-to-market strategy, process, and planning
  3. Sales enablement
  4. Opportunity management

That fourth area, opportunity management, is one of the first places any organization can address to see relatively fast improvements and value.

What is opportunity management? It's the complete process of tracking and managing new revenue opportunities (prospective and current customer business)—from the generation of the opportunity to its conversion into a customer relationship.

When well defined and properly implemented, the opportunity-management process provides insight into both the effectiveness and the efficiency of your marketing and sales efforts.


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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

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