Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Profits: How and Why to Align Marketing with Sales



If marketing isn’t synchronized with sales, a company doesn’t enjoy optimized profits.

So why is it so many companies don’t align their marketing with sales?

A seemingly timeless report, a 2010 study by Northern Illinois University and consulting firm Miller Heiman reveals some noteworthy data.

ID-10078323 watcharakunCompanies that strategically align marketing with sales are more successful.

That was true, too, during the Great Recession.

Among 2,000 responding companies surveyed in Asia, Europe and the United States, about 33 percent orchestrated marketing and sales.

However, another 33 percent says their two departments are in a “state of neutrality.”

The remaining third did not align the two functions.

Profits from cohesion

In comparing 2oo9 results to 2008, the results are eye-opening for aligned companies:

— 12 percent stronger sales and 5 percent more qualified leads.

— 8 percent higher probability of conversion rates of 40 percent-plus.

— 29 percent conversion rate compared to only 24 percent for “low-aligned sales teams.”

— Aligned firms had a higher probability of success – 19 percent and at least a 5 percent sales increase. They also enjoyed a 3 percent growth in new business. But poorly aligned companies suffered from a .5 percent decrease in new business.

— In retention of customers, aligned firms were 11 percent more likely to enjoy 5 percent or higher success for highly aligned companies.

— In billing, their odds were eight percent higher for an increase and at least 5 percent higher than poorly aligned firms, which experienced a 3.5 percent decrease. Sales for aligned companies dropped 1.2 percent.

— In revenue, aligned firms were 4 percent more likely increase 5 percent. Lowly aligned companies had a 2.9 percent revenue decrease. Highly aligned firms decreased 1.2 percent in revenue.

… there are often turf battles. Marketing people often think they’re the only ones who are strategic thinkers … Salespeople feel marketers aren’t carrying their own weight in generating sales leads.

Marketing examples

But it isn’t necessary to examine financials to see missed opportunities.

Here are three examples:

  • Many marketing campaigns are perceived as ostentatious. The copy is clever but doesn’t appeal to the five value-buying perceptions that motivate people to buy. (The value perceptions are explained in this article, The Seven Steps to Higher Sales)
  • Marketing collateral boasts of professional salespeople, but salespeople fail to match the message in the marketing. When customers call to buy, the salesperson doesn’t fully understand the product, doesn’t develop a rapport, and is not enthusiastic. The salesperson fails to treat the occasion like it’s an event for the customer. If the customer doesn’t have a change of heart, in the end the salesperson fails to say thank you or to prevent buyer’s remorse.
  • Or note the lack of enthusiasm when marketing campaigns are introduced to sales staff – the salespeople appear bored or they’re superficially attentive.

Marketing and sales teamwork

In the three scenarios, profits aren’t optimized. Sometimes, it’s because the wrong people are on the sales staff or the marketing creates images that can’t be met by sales. But, it’s also safe to assume the marketing and salespeople aren’t on the same page. They often don’t speak the same language.

That’s ironic for professionals who are supposed to be good communicators. Instead, there are often turf battles. Marketing people think they’re the only ones who are strategic thinkers.

They think salespeople can only see to the end of their noses and are only concerned about their monthly sales quotas. Salespeople feel marketers aren’t carrying their own weight in generating sales leads. And so on.

The solutions:

  1. Everyone needs to get on the same page. Starting with the senior executive, there needs to be a commitment for collaboration. The chief marketing officer and sales managers need to meet regularly, especially over lunch. Good things happen when people break bread together. The philosophy must filter down both staffs.
  2. The two sides should continually work on talking the same language.
  3. They should proactively look for weaknesses and breakdowns in communication.
  4. Everything should be tested. There should be an agreement about prospect leads and quality.
  5. Establish an ongoing reporting dialogue – input and feedback between marketing and sales.
  6. Review and develop metrics for efficient accountability for both functions.

Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, for the above reasons by design, this Biz Coach portal combines marketing and sales into one category, where you’ll find hundreds of business-coaching columns, for example:

6 Rules to Keep Your Pipeline Full for Continuous Sales — It doesn’t matter what type of business you have. Even if your sales are great today, there will come a time when sales will crawl to a halt unless you take precautionary measures to keep your sales pipeline full.

5 Critical Fundamentals to Build the Best Sales Staff — The crucial question: How can a company develop a top sales crew? Short answer: Start with a premise — if it were so easy then everybody would be doing it. Long answer: Some companies are achieving stellar sales results in complex global situations by adopting best practices.

Checklist – Top 18 Attributes of the Best Salespeople — What’s needed to be effective in sales? Merely having a gregarious personality will no longer cut it in the 21st century. As a manager, if you want to improve your company’s sales performance, become a winning sales organization and review your recruitment techniques in hiring salespeople.

Critical Essentials to Develop the Best Marketing Formula — There are critical essentials for marketing, which includes the right channels and developing the right message. That includes the right branding slogan and logo. Unless your targeting upscale consumers, many consumers prefer value marketing — not cute, which doesn’t necessarily mean selling at a lower price than your competitors. Hyper-consumerism is history. Humor is great, but more importantly, traditional values with a purpose are in vogue. Why? Consumer attitudes are changing.

B2B Telemarketing: Building Trust Should Be Your Goal…Here’s How — Telemarketing is, of course, a challenge. You must create a favorable first impression in your initial approach. This means building trust should be your primary goal. Sure, it’s a nerve-wracking process, especially because you have just a few fleeting moments to engage your prospects. Yes, you’re calling to make sales. Again, you’ll greatly enhance your chances if you focus on building trust.

There’s no job too simple for me to complicate.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of watcharakun at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.