5 Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Sales And Marketing Alignment
Any good business leader knows that sales and marketing teams are the driving forces of growth. When these work in alignment, they are capable of much more than they are alone. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” as Aristotle said.
The repercussions of being misaligned is massive, costing businesses over $1 trillion each year worldwide, according to SuperOffice. As such, sales and marketing alignment is a top priority for many organizations. But knowing how alignment works is one thing; achieving it is another thing entirely.
In this article, we’ll explore five key mistakes that are hurting your sales and marketing alignment. By pinpointing these and offering solutions, we’ll show you how to align these key teams to increase growth.
The Benefits of Sales and Marketing Alignment
Sales and marketing alignment isn’t new. When SuperOffice focused on aligning its sales and marketing teams back in 2016, it recorded a 34% increase in revenue in 12 months.
In fact, for 32% of businesses surveyed by Hubspot, an increase in revenue was the biggest benefit of sales and marketing alignment. This is especially true for businesses with small target markets, making sales and marketing alignment one of the nonnegotiable best practices for niche businesses.
The benefits aren’t just in revenue. When sales and marketing teams work in synergy, the customer experience improves throughout each of the sales funnel stages, from beginning to end. This is because you understand what they’re looking for.
Ultimately, the lead quality is better, and you close more deals, thus allowing you to have a shorter sales cycle, as mentioned in Dialpad’s sales cycle guide..
Though the benefits are clear, improving alignment isn’t always straightforward. Many business owners know the importance of working together. Still, they struggle to achieve the improvements others are seeing. Let’s look at the five most common mistakes and their solutions.
Mistake 1: Lack of Clear Communication
Without clear communication, there’s bound to be some misalignment between sales and marketing. This could lead to missed opportunities as well as wasted resources.
Let’s say a marketing team launches a new campaign involving a product aimed at a specific audience. If the sales team doesn’t know about the campaign, they will be unable to capitalize on any leads it generates. Missing out on potential sales is an obvious result but the lack of communication can also be damaging to customer experience too.
Thankfully, we’re in an age where there are tools that businesses can leverage to aid communication between teams. One valuable ally in this is Artificial Intelligence (AI). Communication tools that use AI allow information to flow smoothly among teams.
For instance, an AI-driven communication platform could be integrated with both the sales team’s CRM and the marketing automation system. This would allow for real-time insights as well as automatic notifications between teams. For example, new leads generated, upcoming marketing campaigns, and customer interactions with marketing.
When it comes to communication, people are fallible whereas AI isn’t. Artificial intelligence and customer experience go hand in hand. By leveraging AI communication tools, companies can enhance the customer experience and achieve improved marketing and sales alignment.
Mistake 2: Misaligned Goals and Objectives
Besides great communication, effective alignment also hinges on shared goals and objectives. With common outcomes, both teams move in the same direction, which fosters a sense of collaboration.
The increase in hybrid working we see nowadays adds another challenge. Less face-to-face interaction means that it’s harder for employees to be aware of what other colleagues and teams are working towards.
If goals are misaligned, impacts can be seen throughout the organization. One example is resource allocation. Imagine that the sales team is working towards improving short-term revenue. The marketing team, on the other hand, is concentrating on building long-term brand loyalty. It may seem fine on the surface, but this misalignment can lead to conflicts over budget allocations. Extreme misalignment could even affect payroll opportunities.
Sales and marketing alignment can be improved by structuring payroll to support both teams’ collaborative goals. For instance, if their aim is to increase market share, payroll structures could reward teams for their contributions. This might be in the form of incentives such as commissions or bonuses. Paylocity’s payroll processing can help with this.
Technology can also help solve the problem of misaligned goals with remote workers. Alongside good communication, harnessing the power of technology, such as remote device monitoring, can help bridge the gap between employees, their teams, and others.
One example of this being successful is Cisco Systems, Inc. This networking technology leader uses remote device monitoring to enhance customer support and align marketing and sales efforts.
Mistake 3: Neglecting Data Sharing and Analysis
For most, if not all, sales and marketing departments, data is the lifeblood. All strategies, decisions, and processes revolve around data. But if there is no unified data strategy in an organization, sales and marketing processes may end up operating in silos.
97% of professionals report issues with sales-marketing process alignment—most notably, a lack of integrated systems. As a result, businesses can miss out on valuable insights and opportunities.
Data analytics are powerful in many areas of a business. Understanding data means you can gain insights into your customers and their behavior. A business that understands its customers can shape its marketing strategies to suit them.
With a data-driven approach, organizations can identify areas for improvement. As such, they can tailor retention strategies and deliver a personalized experience.
For example, analyzing call center data might highlight a common issue with a service or product. With this information, key teams can address the issue. This might involve developing call center customer retention strategies specifically for the problem.
Mistake 4: Inconsistent Messaging and Branding
A strong customer experience is based upon consistency in product branding and messaging. Whether it’s your website, social media, or even the domain names used, a coherent message matters. Without it, customers can be confused, which can lead to lost opportunities.
Both the sales and marketing teams need to be on the same page with branding and messaging. It would be a mistake for a marketing team to promote one product feature when the sales team focuses on another during their interactions. This can come across as confusing, which might deter potential customers.
Being consistent with messaging and branding means that marketing and sales teams are better aligned. A business should focus on developing a unified strategy. This should also align with its identity and values. The strategy should highlight the target audience, value propositions, and key messages. Consider changing domain names using Only Domains to get the alignment needed here.
It’s also important for all channels to use the same messaging and branding. When you’re generating leads online, and you use a unified strategy, the brand identity is reinforced. This creates trust with potential customers and maximizes lead-generation opportunities.
Mistake 5: Failure to Establish a Feedback Loop
The final mistake to be aware of is failing to establish a feedback loop. This means marketing and sales teams exchanging insights, observations, and experiences. When this doesn’t happen, there’s a disconnect that can result in missed opportunities and hindered growth.
Without feedback, the weaknesses of each team go unchallenged, and they’re likely to repeat mistakes like ineffective messaging or failing to select an appropriate target audience. And if the feedback from customers isn’t relayed back to sales and marketing teams, it becomes difficult for them to adjust and provide solutions. All in all, customers may become wary and hesitate to make decisions about purchases.
Establishing a feedback loop allows you to shorten your sales cycle as well as improve alignment. However, the teams need to be provided with a structured way of closing the feedback loop if it’s to be a success.
Here are some things that could be implemented:
- Have clear objectives for your feedback loop.
- Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will measure progress. For alignment purposes, these need to be relevant to both the sales and marketing teams.
- Create a plan of communication that outlines when and how feedback will be exchanged.
- Designate responsibilities for the gathering and sharing of feedback.
- Establish a channel for the sole purpose of feedback.
- Standardize the format to ensure clarity and consistency.
Final Thoughts on Mistakes That Hurt Sales and Marketing Alignment
Sales and marketing alignment is more than good practice; it’s strategic. From examining these common mistakes, it’s clear that success lies in communication, collaboration, and a shared commitment from both teams.
We’re in a time when customers wield more information and choice than at any time in the past. As such, competition is high. The most successful organizations will ensure that their sales and marketing teams work in synergy. This will be through every touchpoint, campaign, and interaction. The customer experience needs to be seamless too. Potential customers will see a unified approach right from brand awareness through to sales conversion.
Finally, it’s crucial to note that when sales and marketing alignment is achieved, it is not static. Maintaining alignment requires reflection and adaptability. Only through regular reviewing and learning will a business achieve sustainable growth.