Aligning Marketing and Sales Teams

Angeline Rast
20 December 2019

Misalignment of sales and marketing teams has plagued many organizations. So many fractured relationships, lost leads and sales, lowered revenues, and inefficient processes have become the daily bread for many organizations. Organizations marred with poor communication, flawed processes, inconsistent and weak follow-ups tend to lose up to 10% of their annual revenues or even more. 

Aligning Sales and Marketing would improve chances of closing leads and boosting teamwork by about 67% while gaining an additional value of about 209% through marketing. According to The Aberdeen Group, organizations with strong alignment between marketing and sales teams realize a 20% increase in revenue upon addressing critical areas.

Modern buyers prefer evaluating solutions and products on their own from the various online channels, and only get to involve sales people when they are 50-70% into their decision-making processes. During this period, modern buyers need to be guided and engaged by the various marketing strategies in place. Any inconsistent experiences in their purchasing processes leaves 2/3 of consumers extremely frustrated.

Collaboration and alignment of the sales and marketing teams bring value to conversations, increase sales force productivity, reduce ineffective prospecting strategies, and increase delivery of the right content (at the right time and to the right networks).

Aligning Marketing and Sales Teams

Align right from the C-Suite

A survey conducted by the Aberdeen Group revealed that almost 2/3 of sales and marketing teams and functions reported to different senior executives within the same organization. This operational separation marks the beginning of disconnection between the two teams.

Other factors that widen this gap include failure to have commonly shared definitions, failure to establish workflow processes between the sales and marketing teams, and failure to create common goals for measuring success.

An executive commitment should therefore flow in a top down manner, engaging everyone in the sales and marketing chain. Let everyone join the commitment bandwagon. Additionally, the alignment process would only become a reality if accorded the necessary budgetary allocations.  

Understand the uniqueness of each team and seek to align

The uniqueness of the two teams and departments is formed by their distinct goals and objectives, hence the need to appreciate their vision, mission, and activities, before you start with the alignment process. Less talk and more actions should characterize the following areas:

  1. Tightly seek to align marketing activities to specific sales objectives and goals.

  2. Have a formal and shared business plan or marketing strategy for execution by the two teams.

  3. Establish and refine the lead management process.

  4. Increase levels of customer input when it comes to product development and marketing plans.

Together as a team, identify the weak points in the alignment process and work together to eliminate such points. Individuals working at the intersections of the sales and marketing functions may best be placed to recognize particular areas where alignment of the two teams can boost performance. Let them be consulted as such.

Knowledge management: Communicate and build collaborations

Just like in a marriage, communication is fundamentally important for the union between sales and marketing teams. Formal and informal sessions with the aim of building alignment, integration, and friendship should be encouraged. For instance, sales should be allowed access to marketing plans and campaign strategies. Fewer secrets dispel suspicion and build trust.

Workflows between the marketing and sales teams should be well defined and well understood by both teams. This discipline ensures that in the face of heat, everyone sticks to their roles while relying on each other to confront whatever challenges, for the common good of all. Being data driven and identifying a lead administrator to oversee the entire process is recommended. The teams should remain together in debriefing once a common lead is disposed of.

Performance management

In aligning sales and marketing, there is need to have a keen understanding of both fundamental and innovative metrics for performance. No entity can win if they are not aware of the score, hence the need to:

  1. Monitor the cost of a particular marketing program to drive better synergy between the two groups. Given the importance of determining the rate of ROI on marketing, the lens of an active revenue generating function should be used.

  2. Align marketing compensation to sales’ metrics and indicators. While sales have had their compensation tied to the performance indicators, top performing companies are now tying marketing compensation to sales deliverables.  

  3. Employ lead scoring. Lead scoring is a component of marketing that helps prioritize your leads according to their levels of engagement with your inbound marketing content and ultimately help you figure out who is ready to buy.

Review and align technology usage

  • At all cost ensure data and lead integrity, to safeguard sufficient data in support of initiative and segmentation.
  • Ensure technology processes are working seamlessly for effective communication between marketing and sales.


The need for aligning marketing and sales is critical for every company. This process comes with a host of benefits, and companies should not shy away from embracing, adopting, and implementing the measures discussed herein.

Inbound Marketing and Sales


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