Recently, I’ve participated in some discussions around the question of why the issue of Marketing and Sales alignment is still such a prevalent discussion. Carlos Hidalgo, CEO of Annuitas Group has suggested that the lack of alignment is really a symptom of other problems. I agree with him and want to take this thought a bit further.
We are not going to arrive at some point in the future at which we can declare that we have solved all the issues and now have solid alignment between Marketing and Sales. Lack of alignment between Marketing and Sales is not a problem to be solved. Rather, it is pressure on businesses that leads to a less efficient commercial effort. As Carlos has pointed out, the lack of alignment can come from various underlying causes, such as lack of process. However, the underlying causes will vary in their form and severity for different businesses. And, those causes will change over time as business dynamics such as the economy, competitive pressures, industry trends, regulatory pressures, etc. evolve for various firms.
We must plan to treat Marketing and Sales alignment as a goal year-after-year in a cycle of continuous improvement. Just as we drive process improvement in our business operations to be more productive and, thus help offset increasing costs of labor, raw materials, etc. we must also constantly identify and drive improvement for those underlying factors that inhibit the efficiency of our commercial engine.
If we treat Marketing and Sales alignment as a trend, I believe we will miss the point. We must recognize it as a pressure on our business efficiency and set in motion continuous improvement plans that will drive ongoing productivity improvements in the commercial conversation.
(Image Pressure Gauge used under Creative Commons License)