Thursday, July 14, 2011

 

Three keys to successful sales & marketing alignment

The very idea of creating alignment between sales & marketing is part of the problem. The organizations that have best solved this challenge aren't tackling a sales & marketing alignment problem, but have instead prioritized a proactive, cross-functional approach to customer acquisition overall.

They have created an organizational philosophy that makes a common approach to the customer acquisition funnel a fundamental part of doing business, not a quarterly initiative.

But most organizations aren't starting from scratch; they're trying to make existing teams and processes more effective. There are some great recommendations on Focus.com addressing the issue of sales & marketing alignment. Below are the three priorities I believe most quickly & successfully lead to a consistent approach and accelerated results.

1. Gain active executive sponsorship
Ensure someone above sales & marketing has prioritized alignment. It can be a CEO, COO or CFO. But this person needs to not just be a passive "copied on email" supporter. Ideally, they are helping to drive the process and ensure participation from all parties.

Link 2. Create common reporting & success metrics
I'm not talking about a document that has half marketing and half sales objectives. What's required for trust alignment is a common set of metrics that both sales and marketing are measured against. Marketing has to take responsibility for closed business, sales must take responsibility for lead quality and conversion, and so on.

3. Operationalize a single, integrated acquisition team
This is more than just weekly meetings. Sales & marketing team members need to tackle customer acquisition challenges together on a daily basis. This means listening to or attending sales calls, having frank and metrics-driven conversations about lead channel quality, etc.

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