Sales and Marketing Functions Must Align for Business Growth

Image credit: Tashatuvango / Shutterstock.com

Ask any veteran in business and you’ll hear stories about the ongoing warbetween the marketing function and the sales department. Many relationshipsbetween sales and marketing departments often resemble an efficient andeffective circular firing squad. Marketing blames sales for not executing onits plan and sales complains that marketing has failed to listen to the salesteam or customer and therefore put forth a failed plan.

It seems so simple. The functions performed by a company’smarketing department should be coordinated and aligned with the revenue goalsand objectives of the company’s sales department. After all, the ultimate goalof each department is to cultivate combined efforts into sales, right? Well,often the seemingly most obvious pronouncement escapes reality. Studies have revealed that organizations with strong sales and marketing alignmentachieve a 20% annual growth rate as opposed to a 4% decline in revenue for thosecompanies who do not. The most telling Forrester research statistic indicatesthat only 8% of companies have a strong coordinated relationship between theirmarketing department and sales professionals.

The apparent disconnect appears to be founded in theinherently different approaches of each department’s functions. Marketing campaigns tend to bemore focused on promoting brand recognition, generating a high quantity of salesleads and tend to be measured by marketing metrics that are longer term.  Sales organizations are driven by creatingquality versus quantity of personal relationships with potential customers inan effort to solve consumer problems. Sales efforts are faster paced andmeasured by shorter term metrics. This difference in approach has resulted inmany companies structuring their marketing and sales departments separate fromone another. Such structures are proving detrimental in an era where digitalcommunications are disrupting traditional relationship building efforts betweensales and consumers.

As customers increasingly connect with service providers through websites, emails, texts, social media posts,print and TV ads, the dynamics of the traditional revenue generating processare changing. When the customer initiates a buying decision it is often throughpurchasing portals, internet chat reps, and call centers as much as through salespeople.It is predicted that by 2020,B2B buyers won’t contact sellers until 80% of the purchasing decision isalready made. In this environment where consumers are influenced in advancethrough information displayed on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social mediaoutlets, is cold calling really cold? The time for a change in traditionalorganizational structures is at hand.

The process of aligning marketing and sales efforts begins with integrating the organization’s datacollection and management systems. Data should be evaluated to identify themost promising leads in order to enhance and directly influence sales revenueby focusing on the prospective customer’s needs. Sales efforts should moreclosely align with marketing campaigns, coordinating messages that promotecustomer understanding and that deliver on the brand’s promise. Where a strong,effective facilitator between the two departments is absent, combining salesand marketing functions is required to achieve the overall objective of increasing productivity, saving money and increasing revenue. Whensales and marketing functions focus on coordinating their efforts, a company will realize 36% higher customer retention and a 38% increase in sales success.

To learn more about how Junction Creative Solutions can help you bridge the gap between sales and marketing teams,call 678-686-1125.