Marketing & Sales Alignment

Don’t Forget About Sales (This Is Not A Love Song)

This is not another blog post about how Marketing needs to do a better job supporting Sales.  Don’t get me wrong, I am all about sales and marketing alignment, but I don’t think it can be forced.  You can lead the proverbial horse to water all you want but if he doesn’t want a drink, you won’t be able to make him.  The critical issue is alignment of goals.  Marketing and Sales have different motivations — Sales is coin operated, Marketing is campaign performance focused (at least that’s the prevailing belief).  This disconnect often results in rifts that can sometimes be adversarial.  So what can we do to move past this barrier?  I think it’s by treating Sales as you would any customer.

When we develop marketing programs for our target external audience, we go through a well structured process that is usually conducted at least annually during the business planning process:

    1. Learn the target’s current state and what their motivations are
    2. Determine what our desired end state is for that target
    3. Understand the barriers that prevent your target from achieving that end state
    4. Create content that addresses the barriers uncovered in Step 3 above
    5. Move the target audience towards the desired end state by launching campaigns that utilize our ‘Marketecture’ in concert with the content created in Step 4

This process is tried an tested so I won’t spend any time justifying that it works. What I will spend time on is linked to the title of this blog post. If this process works so well to get external customers engaged and moving progressively closer to our desired end state, why not apply the same thinking to Sales?  I think this is the most important point of Sirius Decisions’ blog post entitled Use Marketing Automation to Communicate More Effectively With Sales (SiriusDecisions Blog  In the post they advocate using the same Marketecture that we direct at our external customers to our internal customer as well. Here is the key excerpt from their post:

” … most marketers lament their lack of mindshare with their quota-carrying counterparts. But is this any surprise? We run tested and optimized multi-touch, multi-channel programs to reach our target prospect audience; however, we never put the same level of effort into the communications we direct to our internal audience. Salespeople are every bit as busy as the prospects we try to reach. Why should we expect their behavior to be different?

So, some words of advice for marketers:

    • Rather than lament the gulf between you and your sales colleagues, write copy that starts with answering the “What’s in it for me?” question you should expect from every sales rep.
    • Stop sending one-offs, and start using your marketing automation tools to support your sales communications programs.
    • Set measurable goals for your internal communications. Test the messages you send. Analyze the results, and optimize the programs.

So that said, how are you doing at developing integrated marketing campaigns that nurture the sales organization to a desired end state where they are fully engaged in your programs and adopt goals that are aligned with your own?