Top Tips For Driving Marketing And Sales Alignment

Michael Brenner writes an interesting blog called B2BMarketingInsider. His ideas converge the best of the marketing ideas: whether it’s a post about best practices for small business marketing, or how to best use social media, he covers the modern marketing field from every angle. You’ll like this, especially for my regular readers who could use a rest from my biased – and I’m sure sometimes exhausting – viewpoints focusing on the buying decision journey. Michael gets to this topic as well, in his unique, engaging, interesting way. Enjoy. You can find Michael at

May 12, 2011 – What is the biggest issue facing Marketers today? Tons of recent reports, the latest coverage of major industry conferences, threads on Twitter and also my own site analytics point to the same issue as the biggest challenge for marketers: Marketing and Sales alignment.

I have spoken and written on this subject a number of times so here I will include all my notes on the subject in one overview post…

According to “The Sales Machine” author Geoffrey James Sales “Hates” Marketing. Don’t worry, he presents a balanced view with Ten Reasons Marketing Hates Sales.

According to James, the main reason Marketing gets annoyed includes when Sales raids Marketing’s budget and when Sales takes all the credit for leads and pipeline (they would never!) But what really interests me is when he explains what we do in Marketing that peeves our Sales colleagues. Geoffrey lists these main items:

  • Marketers focus too much on deliverables (not outcomes).
  • 80% of the Marketing content created for Sales never gets used.
  • Marketing forces technology on Sales people who just want to sell stuff
  • Sales really HATES when Marketing passes bad leads

But I also find that the biggest reasons we lack alignment are:

  • Timing or as (someone?) once said, Marketing wants “Mr. Right” but Sales wants “Mr. Right Now!”
  • The definition of leads
  • The quality and quantity of leads
  • Tools and Content

So here are 5 actions Marketing can take to address all these obstacles to a successful relationship:

  1. Marketing needs to make Sales the customer. That’s why I am more interested in their frustrations with us!
  2. Marketing needs to spend time in the field speaking to customers, listening to sales presentations and watching demos
  3. Marketing and Sales need to define a clear process for lead management based on a common definition.
  4. Marketing needs to accept that there are times when Sales needs higher quantities and sometimes they need higher quality of leads (depends on the health of their pipeline and the proximity to the closing of a fiscal period.)
  5. Marketing and Sales need a process of joint business planning so we share common goals and common reporting. Marketing has to stop creating activity-based marketing plans!
  6. Marketing needs to sit down with Sales to map content needs to personas, buyer journeys and Sales’ needs.
  7. Marketing needs to define a common process before tools are selected or configured.

You can also read “How To Align Marketing With Sales” and “7 Steps To Sales And Marketing Alignment“ or just tell me what you think?

– Michael Brenner

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