Bits o' Brian

Continuing the quest to align Marketing and Sales

Marketing and Sales Alignment Is Not a Problem


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)

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3 Responses

  1. Brian, I enjoy reading your blog and am glad you brought up the subject of Marketing and Sales alignment. According to Aberdeen 79% of best-in-class companies report having strong Marketing and Sales alignment. The question is how can they prove it? And, is alignment having any real quantifiable business impact? That’s why we’ve invited Philips, Aberdeen, Beyond ROI and Corporate Visions to have a panel discussion on the topic. Philips and Beyond ROI will share a case study of how Philips aligned Marketing and Sales and how they’re measuring the outcomes and business impact. Tim Riesterer will moderate the panel. Anyone interested can register to attend: http://win.corporatevisions.com/Roundtables-Microsite_About-the-Topic.html

    • Brian McGuire says:

      Thanks for the comment Lillia. I agree that we need to dig deeper into the factors that prevent or create Marketing and Sales alignment. These root causes must the be drivers for continuous improvement. If 79% of companies report having strong alignment, it is important for them to understand how they achieved it so they can continue to improve the drivers that got them there. Without this, they certainly won’t be able to maintain alignment as the business climate evolves.

      The Philips case study will be very interesting as I know they have purposefully identified and improved those areas with drive alignment in their business. Thanks for sharing this learning opportunity.

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