The Real World: Marketing & Sales Alignment

By kniemisto

Marketing National Roadshow Promo

This is the true story…of two organizational functions…picked to share an office (work together)…and produce results…to find out what happens…when marketing and sales stop pointing fingers…and start getting aligned…The Real World: Marketing & Sales Alignment

As a marketing (and former sales) professional, I have had the not-so-privileged opportunity to play a starring role in marketing and sales misalignment. What I have learned, and continue to learn, is that alignment does not happen overnight, but is critical to the success of a business.

One of my favorite parts of MTV’s hit show “The Real World” was the ever-so-entertaining “confessional booth” where cast members openly commented/insulted/trashed their roommates, with the freedom of knowing they would be long gone and out of striking distance whenever the episode finally aired on TV. While marketing and sales generally have more than a season together, I thought it would be equally entertaining to reenact marketing and salespeople doing the same thing, perhaps in a secluded conference room, armed only with a video camera and their opinions.

In this blog, I’ll cover three tips to help marketing and sales stop pointing fingers and start getting aligned.

The Real World: Marketing & Sales Alignment Confessional:

The MQL Handoff: Marketing just passed a qualified lead off to sales

Marketing: “Way to go marketing! We just sent another super awesome, totally qualified lead to sales and are one step closer to hitting our MQL goal this quarter!”

Sales: “What does marketing think they are doing? I have absolutely no idea why this lead is qualified. Does marketing even understand who our target market is? Disqualifying this lead.”

How every marketer just felt reading that:

The Real World Confessional Photo

1. Unified Funnel = One View, One Interpretation

One of the key issues with marketing and sales alignment is that each team lives in their own funnel. Marketing has traditionally focused at the top of the funnel with inquiries and qualification, while sales have focused on the pipeline, opportunities, and other bottom-of-the-funnel metrics.

The core issue with siloed funnels is that neither team has any accountability for what the other team delivers before or after their funnel ends, which makes it easy to point fingers and allocate blame.

What do I mean by this? Marketing’s funnel ends at handing a qualified lead to sales, not what happens after the handoff. And sales’ funnel starts at receiving the qualified lead from marketing, yet they typically are not as involved as they should be in defining what “qualified” actually is.

Well-aligned organizations recognize the importance of viewing and measuring their marketing and sales funnel as a single holistic system. This creates equal accountability for both teams.

The Real World: Marketing & Sales Alignment Confessional:

Who Gets the Credit? An opportunity just closed from a demo request

Marketing: “Check out that demo request opportunity that just closed…that was all marketing! Maybe they should start paying us commission?”

Sales: “Why should marketing get any credit for that opportunity when all they did was Go to the full article.

Source:: Marketo

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