Marketing and Sales Misalignment: 3 principles for effective change

In an interview earlier this year, Lori Wizdo , a B2B marketing analyst at Forrester Research, claimed that in large global companies, only 5 to 15 percent of the sales pipeline comes from marketing. On average, Wizdo claims, the number is around 50 percent.
Sales and marketing misalignment is not a new topic. What’s changed is the way customers buy – sophistication level is up, and the customer now gets through a substantial part of the sales cycle without engaging with a sales person, receiving most of the information from 3rd parties.

What also changed is marketing technologies and the way companies can now generate leads, qualify and nurture them. The marketing discipline is changing, but there is still way to go.

What can you do to align sales and marketing in your organization? If you are a decision maker, whether in marketing, sales, or another executive position, here are 3 principles you can start implement in your organization:

Principle #1: Collaboration
Encouraging collaboration between sales and marketing involves active steps that managers of both teams can define, among them –
– Weekly meetings
– Structured, consistent sales feedback to the marketing team about marketing content, tools, and campaigns
– Have marketing sit on sales calls and attend some sales meetings to better understand needs and hear the client
– Develop a library of sales materials for everyone to use and ensure sales are updated with new materials
– Involve sales in messaging and content development

Principle #2: Accountability
Both teams should be able to discuss openly alignment issues and use data to support their cases. Marketing and sales goals should also be discussed openly, while each team understands the way they support the company’s business goals.
Topics to be discussed should include –
– Leads flow
– Leads quality
– Close rate

Principle #3: Integration
To be able to support collaboration and accountability, it is recommended to integrate sales and marketing software. It is easily said than done, especially in smaller companies, but the benefits are substantial. This kind of integration helps everyone invested in the company’s sales goals see the entire lifecycle from lead to  customer. It helps both sides – marketing and sales – to better allocate time and resources to optimize results.

Do you have any other principles you go by to better align sales and marketing in your organization?