5 Myths About Sales and Marketing Alignment Debunked

sales and marketing alignment myths debunked

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Posted: February 7, 2017 | Sales Marketing Alignment

When it comes to sales and marketing, there are plenty of misconceptions due to lack of understanding and collaboration.

sales misconceptions

marketing misconceptions

(Shout-out to Mani Sandhu, our resident MOPS expert, for these awesome memes!)

As a field marketing professional, I have the pleasure of working with sales team members on a daily basis. And yes, I do mean that it’s a pleasure! It’s one of my favorite parts of the job. Let’s get a myth out of the way right off the bat: we don’t hate each other! I promise.

To strengthen marketing and sales relationships so both teams can more effectively and efficiently work together to drive revenue, we consistently need to squash any negative myths in the universe that exist. Here are five sales and marketing alignment myths that you should stop believing right now:

Myth #1: Sales and Marketing Work Independently

Sure, they CAN, but they SHOULDN’T. When sales and marketing aren’t aligned, you’ll run into inconsistent messaging, battles over lead quality, and an “us vs. them” mentality.

Sales teammates are out in the field speaking with prospects and customers more often, so it’s important for them to share their learnings with the marketing team: what content is resonating? What message isn’t getting a response? What are prospects’ top concerns? Gathering pertinent data will help everyone engage with prospects better and improve the customer experience. Breed cohesive outreach by coordinating efforts, and ensure that you have a mechanism for closed-loop feedback.

Myth #2: Face-to-Face Encounters Are Dead; All Selling Happens Online

Yes, the digital experience will get you far since prospects engage with your marketing content on the company website, through a Facebook ad, or in their inbox. But, relationships are still the most important part of the selling process. 

Whether you’re selling B2C or B2B, you’re still selling to a person. So both teams need to be working together to engage prospects and customers both online and offline. While sales reps might be the ones outbound prospecting, marketing can help create opportunities to drive in-person experiences. Think: field events, customer on-sites, calling campaigns, etc.

Myth #3: Sales and Marketing Have Different Goals

While marketing and sales may focus on different objectives, we all have one goal: drive revenue. We have a motto here at Marketo, “ONE TEAM.” Our marketing team even has goals tied to ROI like opportunities created, pipeline generated, and revenue won. But with an engagement platform, we can prove our marketing program ROI to track exactly how we’re helping sales influence and close deals.

Myth #4: It’s Hard to Coordinate Due to Lack of Transparency

Information may live in multiple locations that both teams don’t have access to, or teams may not have processes in place for sharing information regularly. However, tools abound to help sales and marketing collaborate. With sales enablement tools, marketing can disseminate new product messaging or updated go-to-market playbooks en masse. You can even give sales a direct view into how their prospects are engaging with your company with lead and account scoring, plus visibility into email sends, web activity, event attendance, and more. And regularly scheduled communication will help bridge any gaps that technology leaves in collaboration.

Myth #5: Sales and marketing are like cats and dogs; they’ll just never get along.

First of all, YouTube has proven that cats and dogs CAN get along. Which means that sales and marketing should be able to as well! The key: getting on the same page.

The first step to this is to dismiss all of the myths that these teams are meant to disagree rather than agree. Set up agreed-upon service-level agreements (SLAs) that everyone respects and fulfills, and align leadership to remove disparate goals. Bring both teams together regularly, and expand sales kickoff to be a REVENUE kickoff by including marketing and encouraging both teams to meet in person and establish stronger bonds.

The best companies succeed when their revenue-driving teams of sales and marketing work in tandem to create more pipeline and opportunities. No (wo)man is an island, so we should all work together to take our companies to the next level of greatness!

We work hard at Marketo to make these dreams a reality. You may be in a situation where it’s more challenging and feels like you’re constantly battling the other team. Here are some small ways that you can work towards peace:

  • Recognize contributions from all sides
  • Be outwardly grateful for small acts of teamwork
  • Establish common goals for your collaborative programs
  • Communicate openly and honestly, and on a regular connection
  • Remember that we’re all human; forge meaningful relationships with your counterparts

Hopefully, small steps will take you closer to winning the longer battle to ultimately work better together. Teamwork makes the dream work!

What are some sales and marketing alignment challenges you’ve faced that others may benefit from conquering? Share them in the comments below!

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Stacey Thornberry is Sr. Manager, Field Marketing at Marketo. In her role, she partners with the enterprise sales team to create effective marketing programs to reach prospects and accelerate deals. A UC Santa Barbara graduate, Stacey previously worked at Actuate, Smart Meetings Magazine and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

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