How to Align Sales and Marketing

  In this episode, Steve Davis explains why aligning your sales and marketing teams is crucial for your business.


I’m Steve Davis and I want to talk about aligning sales and marketing.

Aligning Sales and Marketing Is Key

Having sales and marketing aligned is key to accelerating your revenue growth.

I’ve gone into companies on a consulting basis, 95% of the time marketing and sales aren’t on the same page or there may even be an open warfare between the two groups. How many times have you heard sales say “your marketing leads suck?” How many times have you heard marketing say “I send great sales leads over to the sales department and they just fall into a black hole”? That’s just a symptom of another underlying problem.

When I’ve gone into these companies, what I’ve found, and what studies have shown, is that the average salesperson spends 40 to 60 hours a month doing their own sales material. And that 85% of all marketing material is unused by the sales department.

Salespeople Need to Sell

I’d rather have my salespeople spend time selling and not doing literature or promotional pieces. So the key is, why do they do that?

A study was done by IDC showing that an extra 10 minutes of selling a week, per sales rep, is worth about $57,000 a year in revenue to the average company. So when they’re spending 40 to 60 hours a month doing sales material, that’s a lot of revenue on the table! So why is that the case? How do you get around it?

Companies that are better aligned grow about 5% faster on a year-over-year basis. They’re 38% better at closing business, and they have 36% less customer churn when sales and marketing are aligned. The problem is really basic: marketing and sales have different views of the world. Marketing is asking who is Mr. Right? But sales, because they work on commission, looks for Mr. Right Now. They want to close business because that’s how they get paid. The more they close, the higher their paychecks.

Define Sales-Ready Leads

What you need to do is you need to get them on the same page, you need to put them in a room so they can start arguing and defining what a sales-ready lead is.

So this way, marketing knows that if they have a sales lead, and it meets all the criteria that sales say is a sales-ready lead, then they could hand it over. If not, then what they should do is put it into some sort of nurturing campaign, to bring that prospect along until they become a sales-ready lead.

Define the Buyer Cycle

The other important thing is defining the buyer cycle.

If you understand the buyer cycle, most sales cycles are wrong – 85% of all sales cycles are wrong and not in sync with the buyer. The reason is because sales cycles are developed from the company looking out.

You need to understand what the buyer motivation is, what the buyer is going to go through, for marketing to work with sales to develop specific materials for the buyer to help them get through each of their decision gates.Once you do that, you’re generating material that sales can actually use, as opposed to generating their own material.

Get Marketing and Sales Aligned to Finally Grow Your Company

Find out what the buyer cycle is, identify what a sales-ready lead is, get marketing and sales talking. That’s the only way that you really get sales and marketing aligned. And when they’re aligned, you’ll get into a faster growth mode. Revenue will grow faster, the company will grow faster, and everybody will be happy.

About Steve Davis

Stephen Davis, Principal and Founder of The CXO Advisory Group provides interim COO and VP Sales and Marketing services focused on improving the performance and profitability of emerging and established companies. Steve has worked with companies in North America, Europe and Asia to assist them in establishing US market operations, strategic alliances, joint ventures, business development and sales management. He has assisted clients with due diligence and preparation for venture financing.

Steve has more than 30 years experience as a senior executive, including COO and CMO with P&L responsibility in the computer, software, consumer electronics and Internet industries. Steve has successfully built, managed, and restructured numerous sales and marketing organizations. He has successfully developed new markets and has introduced over 300 new products into various industries.

Steve is an industry pioneer whose visionary marketing and sales strategies were instrumental in two of the PC industry milestone products. Among his many successes he was responsible for introducing ATARI’s home computer and Corvus OMNINET, the PC industry’s first local area network.

In 1989, Steve founded the Davis Management Group, a company whose proprietary sales management and marketing methodology promoted growth in client’s revenue and profitability. He is an executive strategist and problem solver who conceives, plans and implements new business practices to produce measurable improvements in market position, revenues and profits. Previously, Steve spent 15 years in senior level positions at major corporations including Qualogy, Corvus Systems, Atari, IBM and GE.

Steve is active with many groups that support entrepreneurs. He is a frequent speaker and prolific writer on marketing and sales topics. Davis has given speeches at some of the leading business and technology forums and his articles have appeared in a variety of engineering and IT business publications.