Ninety-eight percent (98%) of sales and marketing professionals think that misalignment between sales and marketing teams negatively impacts a business and its customers. That’s literally almost everyone. Ninety percent (90%) of those same people say the reason misalignment exists is due to disconnects across strategy, process, content, and culture.
Sales and marketing misalignment is a huge problem that can impact your bottom line. But it often takes companies way too long to fix the issue. The question is – is it your problem?
Here are five signs that your sales and marketing teams may be misaligned:
Sign 1: You’re measuring different metrics
Traditionally, marketing teams have focused on vanity metrics that reward activity. But sales has always prioritized revenue goals that reward outcomes. This immediately sets the stage for conflict.
At their core, marketing vanity metrics (things like clicks, opens, pageviews, likes, shares, etc) reinforce the idea of quantity over quality. They focus on how many people you can reach and assume that, because you’ve reached so many people, some will convert to opportunities. These metrics disregard whether or not you’re reaching the right people at the right time in their buying process and they give you no actionable data to inform strategy adjustments.
Meanwhile, sales is more interested in measuring outcome-oriented KPIs that are critical to driving revenue and growth like average deal size and customer lifetime value.
If the two teams measure success by different metrics, they have different goals. It’s that simple.
When they have different goals, infighting and friction is almost guaranteed and your business will undoubtedly suffer.
Sign 2: You disagree about the definition of a qualified lead
While it might sound like sales is right and marketing is wrong, often both teams have a hand in the issue. It stems from disagreement around what constitutes a qualified lead in the first place.
Marketing tends to ‘qualify’ a lead after one or two interactions, which results in sales calling leads that are not warm enough to seal the deal.
Meanwhile, salespeople tend to pressure marketing to “open up the pipes”. They expect marketing to generate ready-to-buy leads but ignore the fact that the quality of lead is determined by how many interactions the lead has had with your brand. Rather than beginning their relationship with a warm customer, they jump immediately into sales mode and catch the customer by surprise, resulting in less-than-favorable outcomes.
What ultimately ends up happening is that sales teams feel they can’t count on marketing leads, so they ignore them and begin to source their own leads, thinking they can do it better. Suddenly, neither team is aligned and focused on the same mission. They’re working at odds with one another, resulting in not just a fractured work environment, but wasted resources as well.
Qualification is one of the most overlooked aspects in defining a lead management process. But this step is as important as generating and nurturing leads. If you skip it, you’ll end up wasting time and resources pursuing prospects who are not ready to buy.
Sign 3: Your sources of data don’t match
A huge source of friction between sales and marketing often comes from conflicting data. When the two teams lose a single source of truth, they’re forced to make decisions based on partial information and start to get into fights about whose data is right.
Usually, we see marketing operating out of a MAP and maybe a data visualization tool like Tableau or Data Studio. But sales almost always works out of a CRM like Salesforce. Occasionally, in the worst-case scenario, we see that everyone is relying on spreadsheets.
When systems are disconnected it becomes very difficult for the teams to have a singular view into the entire customer journey and almost impossible for either team to optimize its efforts.
Sales can’t coordinate outreach efforts with marketing or leverage behavioral insights gained throughout the customer journey if it has no visibility into a lead’s pre-opportunity journey. Meanwhile, if marketing’s data doesn’t stay attached to a lead after it’s passed to sales, marketing has no way of knowing which efforts are generating the most sales lift.
Sign 4: Customers report a very disjointed experience
Fifty-four percent (54%) of customers report that it generally feels like sales and marketing aren’t sharing information with one another—but 80% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments.
When sales and marketing are misaligned, inbound prospects receive inconsistent messaging throughout their buying journey. This can cause serious confusion and distrust among potential customers and often results in a prospect abandoning their journey altogether.
If your customers tell you that it feels like they’re being sold to by two different companies, you may have bigger problems on your hands.
Your customer might be having a great experience with your company. But if sales begins to lose trust in marketing’s ability to acquire useful, personalized information and demographic data, it increases the likelihood that salespeople won’t leverage any information captured prior to a first call – making the customer feel like they’re starting over and repeating information they’ve already shared.
Of course, the opposite can also be true: marketing can be providing a very poor customer experience while sales does all the heavy lifting in nurturing the relationship and closing the deal.
In either scenario the customer is the one who feels the pain.
Sign 5: You’re playing the blame game
This is perhaps the most obvious sign of sales and marketing misalignment. The blame game begins when teams can no longer contain their distrust of one another.
Sales blames marketing for not generating enough qualified leads. Marketing blames sales for not working the leads they send over.
Trust breaks down and the bottom line suffers.
If not addressed quickly, this kind of infighting leads to teams trying to control the entire funnel in their favor and distracting from the goals of the company.
(Side note: this is just one of the reasons thinking critically about attribution is so critical for revenue teams.)
So what comes next?
It’s time for a more honest conversation about how sales and marketing can work together.
Generating revenue is the only way to achieve growth goals, and both sales and marketing have to work together in order to succeed.
When they don’t, the entire organization suffers.
If your sales and marketing teams are misaligned, it’s time to get it under control. Not sure how? We’ve got you covered. Check out our guide on how to align your sales and marketing teams.
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