Yet Another Post on B2B Sales/Marketing Alignment and How to Improve

mrketing-alignmentSales and Marketing alignment is a hot topic in B2B circles because in the digital age, the roles for each have evolved tremendously and some are still struggling with what it means to work as one (yet separate).

In the old days, Marketing controlled advertising and branding while Sales found leads and figured out on their own how to nurture them to the point of sale. In addition, B2B buyers once relied heavily on their account executive for education and content in the early stages of the buying process. Those days have been gone for awhile now, yet many companies still carry philosophies and organization models from “ancient times”.

The digital landscape has changed not just the opportunity to talk to prospects and help bring them to Sales, but the buyer’s process has changed too. The Internet provides an enormous amount of content that enables B2B buyers to research and learn on their own. According to DemandGen Report, as many as 41% of buyers said they waited longer to initiate contact with B2B vendors than they did a year ago.

I talked about Sales/Marketing alignment a few months ago in a blog post called Dear B2B Sales Team: Does Your Marketing Department Not “Get It”?, citing that there has been much progress to integrate sales and marketing activities but that more needs to be done “at the top” to ensure shared accountability toward sales goals.

Since then there have been some great posts and presentations on the reasons why a strong Sales/Marketing partnership is good for business. If you are a B2B and want to improve in this area, here are some good nuggets to check out.

5 Keys to Sales and Marketing Alignment
In this article from ClickZ, Sales/Marketing integration is discussed in the context of marketing automation. They also give campaign ideas such as the “Thought Leadership Drip”.  A while back I wrote a post on How to Organize a B2B Marketing Department which suggests that a dedicated team member focus on campaigns such as these.

A Sales and Marketing Love Story
This is an interesting take from HubSpot. It highlights anecdotes about what marketing and sales folks really think, and reviews responses from a HubSpot/LinkedIn survey about how teams are (and should be) working together.

The Case for Enterprise Sales and Marketing Alignment
This is another Hubspot presentation highlighting examples of things B2Bs can do to improve, e.g. low-hanging-fruit like agreeing on terminology and the definition of a lead.

Why Should B2B Companies Strive for Sales and Marketing Alignment?
Pipeliner writes about business reasons to shore up gaps. For example, to reduce the cost of sale or increase pipeline velocity and closure rate. Exactly.

Why The VP Of Sales Should Care About Marketing and Sales Alignment
This article by Matt Heinz looks at the fact that sometimes the head of Sales doesn’t buy into or support the programs Marketing is planning. While this may not always be the case, it certainly is one of the realities and a barrier that should be broken down if true.

Image credit: kioan via photopin cc

By : Lydia Vogtner

Lydia Vogtner is an independent B2B marketing and communications consultant specializing in marketing, messaging and content strategy.

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