Last month I made the very spontaneous acquaintance of Jeff Davis, founder of The Alignment Blog. We very quickly found that we have a lot in common, in particular our concern on how complex sales & marketing alignment can be, especially in a B2B context. I am delighted to welcome Jeff as a guest writer today, on a topic I deeply care about: B2B Marketing & Sales Alignment.
Many B2B organizations will be paying more attention to whether their sales and marketing teams are aligned in 2017. With new business books like “Aligned to Achieve” by Tracy Eiler and Andrea Austin, the conversation about alignment is increasing in intensity and business leaders are slowly trying to figure out how this methodology might positively impact their bottom line. The authors make a valid point about collaboration when saying “there needs to be an environment where people are not only encouraged to work together, but they also want to work together.” This clearly illustrates that achieving alignment is not about the best B2B marketing stack or sales enablement tools. No. It’s about people. Until the leaders of the organization truly understand that alignment is about a fundamental shift in the way that Sales and Marketing see each other, they will not make any significant progress in aligning these two functions.
The people “disconnect”
I did an informal online survey some years ago to start to put my arms around what were the major roadblocks to Sales and Marketing working together effectively. I had my own thoughts having worked in both Sales and Marketing for many years throughout my career, however I wanted some unbiased opinions from other professionals. What I found was very telling of how deep rooted this problem is. Some of key reasons identified of why sales and marketing don’t get along were:
- Misalignment of goals between Sales and Marketing
- Marketing and Sales don’t really have an idea of what the other does on a daily basis
- Management taking a functional approach instead of a system approach to achieve business goals
- No established feedback loop to allow Sales and Marketing to iterate strategies based on customer feedback
- Marketing not understanding the need for Sales to establish and maintain long-term relationships with customers
- Superiority complex of the Marketing team and pride of the Sales team