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How to Align Your Company's Sales and Marketing Efforts in Eight Steps

by Matt Close, Maureen Blandford  |  
October 21, 2014

Sales and marketing alignment means different things to different people.

The obvious goal is to get marketing and sales teams to agree on what constitutes qualified leads and form a relatively friction-free relationship in which everyone speaks the same language; however, the unfortunate reality is that intricacies specific to each effort require dedicated attention, and expected contention between the two divisions can prevent or delay progress.

What often occurs is that the sales team complains that the marketing team isn't generating enough leads, while the marketing team complains that the sales team doesn't follow up with the leads or put in enough effort to qualify them.

Sales teams usually require a little motivation to be more proactive. Although marketing teams must be responsive to the nuances of the sales team's current efforts, it is the job of the marketing team to influence and educate the sales team with insights regarding the business.

Ideally, the sales team would be excited to meet with the marketing team, simply because of the promise and benefit of researched target market perceptions and solid industry foresight.

How can marketing teams influence, educate, and encourage sales teams? How do you align such disparate yet parallel objectives as sales and marketing?

1. Get the priorities right: Alignment starts with a revenue goal

Both the sales and the marketing teams need to be focused on a common goal—revenue.

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Matt Close is EVP of sales at the TAS Group, which provides smart sales transformation in the cloud and on mobile devices. With an extensive background leading sales organizations globally, Matt heads a team of sales professionals across North America and EMEA for the TAS Group.


Maureen Blandford is CMO of the TAS Group, which provides smart sales transformation in the cloud and on mobile devices. Previously, she was founder and CEO of sales enablement consultancy MindTime Group and CEO of the media/communications firm ManaVision.

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  • by Caroline Wed Oct 22, 2014 via web

    Agreed - working the property industry, listening to sales agents comments is crucial. Even off the cuff comments about small design features that could make life easier for the owner is important as that becomes a feature. As in, you really consider the needs of the customer and they can see this in the details.

    Targeting where revenue comes (specifically) from is harder and dependent heavily on the market (and the blasted media). Repeated purchases are not frequent, and often are 2 years +.

    Would love to see some marketing articles on big ticket items one day! Thanks

  • by Stacey Sat Oct 25, 2014 via web

    Great article! I'd go a step further and add that the marketing organization should be rewarded based on their contribution to helping Sales achieve their (Sales/ Revenue) targets. Often marketing is graded on different metrics (website views, social media engagement, # of pieces of 'content' created, etc), which adds to the friction and misalignment between the two organizations.

  • by Katherine Mon Oct 27, 2014 via web

    Great points. Weíve found that being able to accurately measure leads and then optimize marketing ROI is key to both creating strong dialogue between sales and marketing (especially when defining a quality lead) and giving proper attribution for marketing efforts (I agree with Stacey above).

    In terms of marketing technology that can help, my company uses Marketo (track leads from web and email), Ifbyphone (track inbound phone leads back to the marketing source that originated them), and Salesforce CRM (feed lead data in from both Marketo and Ifbyphone to follow leads through to revenue to accurately measure ROI of each source).

  • by Simon Wed Oct 29, 2014 via web

    this article lays out some of the basic building blocks for effective Sales and Marketing mainly focused from a lead generation perspective. This views both functions as having tactical roles. Before and lead generation campaign starts there should be a clear strategic role for sales in providing a regular stream of market intelligence that helps shape value propositions and effective positioning. On the way back out to the customer it should be clear that marketing creating the company 'value proposition' and sales tailor it for their client and to the specific people in the DMU.

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