Up until now, it seems as though most companies (agencies included) separate the roles of sales and marketing. For the past few years, industry experts have been talking & writing about how the alignment of these two teams can drive growth and success. The discussion was largely theory and we didn’t see the realization of it. According to a study by Aberdeen on the collaboration between sales and marketing teams, “highly aligned organizations achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth, while less well-aligned companies reported an average 7% decline in revenue.” Still, Forrester states, “just 8% of companies say they have tight alignment between sales and marketing.”

Why is this, you ask?

  • It takes time to change one person’s mind, let alone an entire industry. Let’s face it: A lot of people still think the sales teams only make the calls and close deals while marketing teams only work to establish and sustain a position within the market. The reality is both teams do much more while contributing to growth & success.
  • Executives & decision makers want solid evidence that it’s going to work. Without it, they’re hesitant (and rightfully so) to implement this collaboration model and rid the organization of siloed marketing and sales departments.
  • There might not be a clear differentiation between sales and marketing responsibilities. Lines get blurred and they go back to operating in parallel.

How can B2B’s adapt to this change?

Well first take an example from us at emagine…the antiquated, siloed model has subsided and these two departments are truly collaborating to propel success for the company. We’ve seen an increased overlap in responsibilities. Each role, however, still has a function independent of the other. Here’s how we’ve worked to align the marketing and sales teams at emagine:

  1. Everyone get social. It’s no longer solely the responsibility of marketing to get emagine’s name out in the Twitterverse, learn more about industry trends & news, and share emagine’s extensive experience and knowledge with its follower base. Our sales team members are becoming increasingly entrenched in social media efforts for business purposes.
  2. Sales is reaching out to prospective clients on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean those contacts can’t hear from marketing too. From the first interaction, marketing can support the sales cycle with insightful, personalized, and relevant content such as webinars, white papers, and infographics.
  3. Deep understanding. Sales understands marketing and marketing understands sales. This is key. Without each team having the knowledge of how the other works, we would never be able to successfully work together. Taking it a step further, both teams understand that the expectation of consumers today demand them to work together.
  4. In addition to each team understanding how the other one works, marketing trusts the ability of sales and vice versa. There is constructive criticism and valid questions, but an overall respect and trust factor.
  5. Constant communication. Sales and marketing should be meeting weekly (at least) and communicating non-stop in the meantime. With the high possibility of overlap, it’s important to be aware of what the other is doing to avoid redundancy.

As technology changes and new opportunities arise, we’ll remain nimble enough to adjust. Now, I’d love to hear from you. Do you see alignment between the sales and marketing teams at your organization? How do you sustain it?

Read about growing pains in B2B sales and marketing.