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Problems With Marketing and Sales Alignment

Marketing and sales alignment is important for any company, but it’s not always as easy as it seems. Here’s our take on some of the most common challenges you might face with alignment and the best advice we’ve heard on how to combat them:

Competition

Even though marketing and sales teams are ultimately working towards the same goal, increasing sales and growing their shared company, it’s not always that simple. It’s easy for teams to feel competitive towards other teams and departments. After all, everyone wants to be known as the best. It’s extremely common for competition between marketing and sales teams, but this inhibits the full potential of both teams.

What You Can Do:

The best way to handle marketing and sales team competition is to sit both teams together, not separate, and remind them that they share the same goals to benefit the company. This would be a good time to applaud both teams (make sure to do it equally!) for a job well done on tasks that benefit both the marketing and sales teams.

Different Motivations

It’s likely that your sales and marketing teams already have some understanding that they are working towards the same goal; however, what may be harder to recognize is the different motivations and pressures each team has as they work towards that goal. Sales teams are often driven by meeting quotas whereas marketing teams are often more project focused. These differences in motivation can lead to tensions when both teams are led to believe that neither team understands the situation of the other.

What You Can Do:

Open communication is critical in marketing and sales alignment. By guiding a dialogue between your marketing and sales teams, you can help each team understand the work style and pressures of the other. Use this dialogue as a chance to encourage your teams to use each other to help meet goals rather than pointing out the differences in how they work.

Blurry Boundaries

Team alignment is not as easy as just assigning and splitting up roles and tasks to your teams. In today’s modern era of marketing and sales, it can be easy to cross borders and share responsibilities. Marketing and sales are a paired couple now. Both teams need each other.

Marketing is as crucial as ever and the often interact with potential buyers before the sales team does; however, with strategies such as social selling or account based strategies, your sales reps are reaching out to clients in new and different ways.

What Can You Do:

This would be a great time to introduce a marketing and sales service level agreement, or SLA. In your SLA you should create clear and defined goals for each team as well as which teams have which responsibilities and tasks. Defined jobs for each team clears up a lot of the confusion your marketing and sales teams may have with overlap.

Development Speed

The sales team may seem like they are constantly working on a deadline to meet quota while the marketing team may seem more relaxed with fluid deadlines. Both teams are in a fast paced environment that constantly has new changes and trends. It can be easy for the two teams to seem like they are headed in two different directions.

What Can You Do:

Know what your teams are up to and know what each industry is up to. Is your marketing team constantly trying new and innovative methods? Is your sales team still using tried-and-true methods? If you have a team not trying anything new you may need to meet with them and push them to experiment with different strategies and methods. On the other hand, if you have a team that consistently jumps the gun on a new technique you may need to tell them to slow down and run new strategies by you. Knowing the speed and direction each team is moving allows you to keep them on the straight and narrow towards your high level company goals.

Communication

All of the previous stated problems lead back to one common factor: communication. Isolated teams lead to information being left unshared. When you keep your marketing and sales teams separated from each other, it can result in your teams becoming unwilling to work together simply because there is no connection.

What Can You Do:

Everything boils down to how serious your teams take alignment. Alignment won’t happen simply because, as a manager, you decide you want it to. Communication starts from the top and trickles down. Leadership should help create an atmosphere that is positive and supports team collaboration.

Want more insight on how to tackle different marketing and sales challenges? Subscribe to our newsletter here!

April 23, 2017
by
Caitlin Glasscock
CultureTips

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