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What Is Sales and Marketing Alignment, and Why Does It Matter?

What Is Sales and Marketing Alignment, and Why Does It Matter? Blog Feature

January 12th, 2016 min read

Where would Batman be with out Robin, Lennon without McCartney, or Michael Jordan without Scottie Pippen?

Like those famous dynamic duos, sales and marketing teams are also inexorably linked; one cannot function without the other. The relationship should be approached as a partnership rather than as separate entities. Think of them like the two legs of your organization, powering growth by bringing in customers. That means if they aren't in lock-step, you're going to have a big problem.

But what is sales and marketing alignment really? And why does it matter?

They Help Us Qualify Leads

When you boil it down, marketing's job is to hand qualified leads over to sales. The more leads that sales can close, the better everyone looks. If marketing isn't handing enough leads to sales or the leads they aren't handing over aren't the right ones, nobody wins. So how do we as marketers know what makes a qualified lead?

We ask sales.

They are on the front lines, they know what type of leads are most likely to turn into customers, which leads will take more work and which ones aren't the right fit.

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In order for everyone to win, there needs to be clear and consistent communication between the two departments about what makes a qualified lead. Now, here's where the consistent part comes in: This needs to be a regular conversation. It shouldn't be a "set it and forget it" item that you never revisit.

Lead qualification should be viewed as a living, breathing part of your strategy and regularly reviewed and updated... with input from both the sales and marketing teams.

They Inform Our Content Creation

Why do marketers create content? Inbound marketing strategies are designed to answer common questions or address specific pain points that potential customers are experiencing. Who knows what questions our customers ask better than our sales staff? During the sales process, they have to answer question after question from prospects.

This is an absolute goldmine of knowledge for us as marketers! Don't let it sit unused. Regularly communicate with the sales team to find out what is on the mind of customers. And then talk about it, write about it, create videos about it or even make a snazzy graphic about it. Just make sure you use it.

They Are Our Alignment Soulmates

We are at their mercy. There's no two ways around it, marketing is only successful if sales is.

We hand leads over to sales and hope they can turn them into customers. Our success depends on their abilities. They are at our mercy: sales has nothing to go on if marketing doesn't supply leads - or unqualified leads. Their ability to close deals depends on us handing them leads that they can use. Their success depends on our abilities.

Shouldn't we all be on the same page? So often sales and marketing play like they are on separate teams when should be working hand-in-hand. When sales and marketing are truly aligned and in regular communication everything just works.

We are like the two cops in every buddy cop movie who are paired up against their will, but once forced to work together, find that they are the best of friends. The couple in every romantic comedy that can't stand each other only to find out they love each other in the end. So let's cut straight to the end of the movie and start working together like we should!

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