Sales & Marketing – the Third Key to Growth
This seems like the obvious choice for the third key to growth, however, it can be a problem for many organizations. The key point is alignment between Sales and Marketing. Alignment seems to be missing in action in many of the organizations that we have seen.
A common theme is – there is the Sales Department and there is the Marketing Department – and they take this split to be meaningful. That’s the biggest mistake an organization can have within its walls! Sales and Marketing should be an integrated unit – both speaking from the same book.
Here are the pitfalls for non-alignment and reasons for alignment for sales and marketing.
First, the pitfalls for non-alignment between the two teams. The customers can get confused as to who they are dealing with. This is the most common issue. When customers are confused – they slow down their decision process; research for more and clear options; delay or make no decisions; or seek more concessions if they feel there is greater risk.
There is a lack of information flow between the sales team in the field and the marketing team. This leads to the marketing team focusing on the wrong problems or presenting the solution in a less effective manner. This continues to keep the split in place due to the sales team feeling the marketing team is out of touch with the customer.
Then there is the issue of respect between the two teams. When alignment is missing or damaged, respect for each team’s work is lowered. Leading to free lancing by the sales team, which leads to multiple messages being placed in the market. Brand awareness and loyalty is reduced and sales expectations naturally drop.
The next point is Alignment and the benefits are huge for the company and the customers. Alignment is the goal for consistent, steady and profitable growth. The reasons are numerous, yet, I will present the top three reason that lead to success.
First, the Customer gets a consistent message about the company, products and services. Confusion is reduced and benefits are clarified. Customers develop a top of mind awareness for your company whenever an issue comes up. This builds repeat business – the most profitable type of business!
Second, the Sales and Marketing team are working closely together. Sharing information and field insight with the people responsible for coordinating the message, creates new lead generation opportunities. Opportunities increase and sales efforts deliver a consistent message or vision.
Finally, positioning and brand strategies become concrete for both the company and the customers. Repeat business and increased new opportunities come to companies that establish a clear identity in the marketplace. Sales people and marketing people are showing the customer exactly what problems or issues they solve. Success is accelerated.
In conclusion, sales and marketing alignment is the critical third key for growth. You need to view how your sales and marketing teams align. Sometimes the structure reflects the answer – especially when the senior position is split – one for sales and one for marketing. This is a sign of non-alignment. Check out the flow of information between the field and marketing. How many times are marketing people included in making very important presentations or winning major account relationships? If you need an objective analysis of the alignment between these key teams, call us at 901-757-4434.
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