Aligning your Sales and Marketing Teams for Growth

Aligning your Sales and Marketing Teams for Growth

“Okay, but how do you qualify your leads? I get a lot of leads,
but most of them don’t go anywhere.” Danté shook his head. 

“Same here,” echoed Kim and Ryan, almost in unison. 

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had a good lead from marketing,”
Buddy said matter-of-factly. 

As if the floodgates had opened, all four account executives
started dissing on marketing’s ability to generate leads with
any value. They all seemed to share the same opinion. They
were taking sides against marketing. 

 Sound familiar? 

This excerpt from Ignite Topline Growth: How RevOps and Go-To-Market Alignment Spark Success has played out in many forms across countless organizations. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review, sales-marketing misalignment is estimated to cost businesses more than one trillion dollars each year!*  

All too often, sales doesn’t value the leads generated by marketing. Consequently, they don’t follow-up in a timely fashion and the value of those leads diminishes with each passing day.  

As a result, the marketing team gets frustrated by the way the sales team undervalues their work and gets away with it. 

In addition to the poor morale and lack of understanding about the value each commercial team brings to the table, your lead gen budget is not having the ROI intended, so time and money are essentially going down the drain. 

There is another way. 

The more your sales and marketing teams understand each other’s roles and how they complement each other, the better. Sometimes this comes from conversations, but often it is not enough. In the past, I’ve encouraged team members from marketing to shadow a sales team member for a day or more. This increases the understanding of the challenges of the role. Likewise, sales team members can shadow a marketing colleague. As they spend the day together and discuss the “Why?” behind what they do, appreciation grows. 

Another super effective way to build bridges between sales and marketing is to have them collaborate on the definitions, tools, and triggers used to move a “suspect” to a “prospect” to a “customer”. In other words, coming to a mutual understanding of: 

  • What is a lead?  
  • What is a marketing qualified lead? 
  • What is a sales qualified lead? 
  • What is an opportunity? 

For each of the stages listed, what is marketing’s role vs. sale's role? What can they expect from each other? And how can they hold each other accountable for delivering on the plan? 

Another thing … it is important for sales and marketing to share goals. This seems trivial, but too often each commercial function has its own set of goals, and sometimes they can be at odds. Goals need to drive collaboration, so that both teams succeed together. One team should not “win” while the other “loses”.  

Lastly, common technology platforms – a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system supported by an integrated digital marketing application – will help drive alignment. If configured properly, each team will have visibility to leads, accounts, contacts, and opportunities. They will also have insight into what the other go-to-market teams are doing and how effective their work is. 

If you’d like to learn more about driving alignment for sales and marketing, please reach out to TopLine Results. We help clients overcome those challenges every day. You can contact us at +1-800-880-1960 or You can also learn more by reading Ignite Topline Growth: How RevOps and Go-To-Market Alignment Spark Success. You can find it here or anywhere eBooks are sold. 

Alignment sparks growth, and we are in the business of helping our clients grow. Please join us!  

* Raymond, Kelsey. 2021. “Are Your Marketing and Sales Teams on the Same Page?sales marke hbr (blog), Harvard Business Review, December 09, 2021.  


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