Why Aren’t Marketing and Sales Aligned Today?
by April Williams
Six reasons why; from the perspective of a marketer, a creative director and a salesperson.
I have been in marketing and sales for 25+ years and I remember the first time seeing marketing and sales at odds with each other.
We had a client that hired us to help them drive more revenue, and at SalesAmp that means working with the marketing AND sales teams.
And these two teams not only didn’t communicate with each other or collaborate at all—they also didn’t have anything nice to say about each other either.
I remember realizing that what we wanted to do for them just got a whole lot harder.
As expected, it was a huge challenge. We were able to be successful but it took much longer than it normally would.
And as much as I hoped this was an isolated incident, I ran into clients in this situation over and over and over again.
Hearing one team’s marketers refer to their sales team as “just a bunch of cowboys gone rogue”; and then the team’s salespeople referring to marketing as the “sales killers”.
Or another client who didn’t believe me – asked his head of sales what he thought of their marketing people, and he said “you mean the “pixie dust people”’.
And I could go on and on.
Unfortunately, this back and forth is still a common story today.
Our Sales and Marketing Story
Recently, I asked our leadership team, who works daily with our clients, if they could give me the top one or two reasons why they thought marketing and sales were still not aligned.
And here is what they had to say:
THE MARKETER: Catherine Byerly
Fractured Tech Stacks.
Marketing and sales are in different systems which means they’re looking at different information. So even if we have a benevolent view of both parties, in that we think they’re coming to data-driven conclusions, then they’re still not going to be aligned because they started with a different data set.
And it’s because there’s this utterly terrible thought process that technology is the answer for everything. “Oh just buy this tool, and your problems disappear!” Then, no one thinks through the business process, or the actual users, or if the KPIs and measurements are actually appropriate for their specific business. People think, “oh I have a tool for that,” and move on.
Technology is at once over-relied on, and then under invested in, in terms of actually getting it to provide insights. I have seen it over and over again—garbage in, garbage out. Leaders want to invest their money in tools but think that they don’t have to invest their time when the opposite is true. If you’re spending more money on a higher fidelity tool, you’re going to need to invest more time to get the actual features out of it.
And so you get fractured tech stacks, that are over-promising results and are under-delivering because they’re literally starving to death, because of a lack of time or maybe there’s just not anyone on staff who has the skills to use them alone, muchless integrate tons of systems.
Many Sales People want to have their cake and eat it too.
So often it feels like some sales folks want their cake and eat it too.
They want marketing to know exactly what high quality prospects want to hear, but are too busy to meet regularly and talk to marketers about what they’re hearing from boots on the ground.
They want automations to work magically and be setup for them, but they also want the freedom to do whatever they want whenever they want because they’re trying to get a closed deal.
THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Taylor Preston
Playing on two completely different, often opposing teams.
There’s still the “old sales cowboy” and the “young, fairy pixie dust marketing guru” stereotypes in play.
If you’re a salesperson who’s been in the industry for years or trained by a salesperson who’s been in the industry for years, you’re either not believing marketing does anything for you, or you simply don’t even know the benefit of marketing as a whole because you just don’t know how it works, what it does, etc. because so much of marketing has never truly relied on results, so the sales person believes. Actually measuring marketing? Actually knowing what piece of collateral brought in the latest closed deal? The sales person certainly doesn’t think any of that exists, therefore doesn’t even seek out information to find out what actually worked so they could work with the marketing team to create more.
So there’s some education here, but I wonder sometimes if education would even do anything because I believe there are many salespeople and organizations still out there who are not willing to open their minds.
And because of this attitude, marketing, therefore, develops an attitude thinking that they can’t get anywhere with their salespeople, so why even bother? They’ll just create what they want to create or think will be helpful to the sales team.
What’s really the root of the problem? Little to no communication between sales and marketing teams. By the simple fact that there is a sales team and then there is a marketing team, they don’t have standard recurring meetings to share insight between the two departments. They’re both in silos making up truths for each other and doing their own things.
Lack Internal processes to ensure success.
Let’s just say that marketing and sales do get along and are willing to work together, there is typically no process to ensure that they will succeed.
From a standard process standpoint – there are no scheduled meetings to info share, they don’t have processes in place to share strategies, there is no industry-specific definition for an SQL and they haven’t taken the time to define it for themselves.
Then there’s the tech standpoint that rarely are sales teams retrieving the same data that the marketing team is, or the marketing team has no easy way to pull live sales data, so they continue to create similar content over and over for the sales team or similar ad strategies, etc. that are yielding similar results because the information that was collected during a sales call wasn’t communicated back to the rest of the team.
THE SALESPERSON: Dean Clarke
Different goals AND different sense of urgency.
Sales people live and die by the commission they receive from closing deals. This puts a lot of pressure on them to continually drive new business and close deals, ultimately growing their commissions. Because of this, sales people tend to put extra emphasis and dedicate the majority of their time on the “closest-to-close” and warmest leads.
Marketers should be seen as a sales persons’ best friend. They are constantly searching for and creating “magnets” to draw in new leads allowing sales to focus on those closest to close. It should be a win-win, but instead neither one of them is giving credit where it is due and feel like they have the heaviest load to carry.
A lack of understanding the benefits of technology adoption.
Adopting technology is never easy, but when a salesperson fully understands the importance of utilizing software alongside their marketing counterparts, great things can happen.
Marketers are able to see what is working and what is not working in terms of engaging with leads and prospects, and they learn what sales people are hearing “on-the-ground” and then marketing can ultimately utilize and analyze this data to drive better, more qualified leads to the sales person.
The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” should be forgotten and sales are only helping themselves by staying on top of changing landscapes and growing with the marketing team as they utilize technologies that have been developed to make their job as efficient and effective as possible.
The Common Thread.
So all three SalesAmp leaders – who have years of experience working with marketing and sales teams – can clearly see the biggest challenge is that marketing and sales operate like they are on two completely different teams. And they even agree on the reasons why:
Marketing and sales live in different technologies – not allowing them to see the complete marketing and sales picture. Allowing them to ONLY see what matters to their part of the marketing and sales funnel. And even bigger – is the challenge of a lack of understanding why aligning these technologies and personally adopting the technologies will have a major impact on their revenue goals.
Lack of Internal Processes
Everyone seems to know that marketing and sales don’t get along but no one is doing anything about it. Most assume it is a personality thing – and they just will never get along. That is NOT the truth. It is a process thing – not a people thing. There are processes that must be in place to ensure both teams understand their own value, as well as each other’s value.
When you have one team on a salary with goals driving the right messaging, bringing people into the top of the funnel and ensuring brand awareness and the other relying on commission with only one goal; to close business. There is an instant tension around the pace and goals of campaigns; that left unaddressed will fester and create an insurmountable divide between your two critical teams that should be aligned and driving revenue together.
The Good News: Watch What Happens When Marketing and Sales are Aligned.
This is a conversation as old as time BUT all the research, year over year, shows that it is incredibly powerful when marketing and sales teams act as though they play on the same team. They are able to:
Generate 32% higher revenue;
Retain 36% more customers;
And achieve 38% higher win rates.
Want more revenue, better retention and to increase your close rate?
We can help. For over twenty years we have been working with marketing and sales teams to help them see that they are better together. Contact us