Bridging the Gap: How to improve your Sales and Marketing Alignment

This week we held our final event of 2018 at the London Stock Exchange. Titled ‘Bridge the Gap: Using Marketing Technology to improve Sales and Marketing alignment’, we were joined by some of our fantastic customers and peers to explore how businesses can better align their sales and marketing departments. As technology continues to reinvent the roles and remits of sales and marketing, a gap has opened up between the two departments: bridging that gap and realigning the two has become a major issue for businesses today.

Our co-founder, Adam Sharp kicked off the morning’s proceedings by outlining the importance of aligning marketing and sales for business success. In our pre-event survey taken by attendees, over 90% viewed alignment as ‘vital’ to business success. However, 88% revealed that they had only some or very little sales and marketing alignment within their business. It is clear that there is a significant gap to be bridged in many businesses today.

Next, we heard from CleverTouch’s Jamie Burrell, Senior Technical Consultant, who shared his expert insight into how to review alignment by embedding analytics within marketing and sales operations. Jamie stressed the importance of changing and aligning the language used by the departments so, when discussing the analytics, everyone is on the same page. For example, both departments work with a single marketing funnel and, instead of talking about MQLs, some talk about MQAs (Marketing Qualifies Accounts).

Aligning the language used by sales and marketing is an easy step to bringing the departments closer together. At CleverTouch, all analytics are presented on one board, accessible by the whole company, and this aligns the goals for both sales and marketing. This brings the functions closer together, enabling them to collaborate more effectively.

Following Jamie’s presentation, Matt Cheeseman (he’s not just a chatbot on our website!), took to the stage to share more information on how it’s done at CleverTouch – in particular, our Project WTF! Project ‘What’s The Future?’ and ‘What’s The Forecast?’ ensures that companies as a whole have access to their analytics and forecasts, and that all departments are aligned with their goals for the future.

During the latter half of the event, we heard from CleverTouch customers about how they approach sales and marketing alignment within their organisations. Merinda Hillier, Marketing Director from Salesforce, discussed how the development of technology has changed the roles of sales and marketing functions. Merinda explained that we are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution today and this has been powered by analytics, AI, data and Account-Based Marketing. Merinda also outlined how aligning the sales and marketing departments is akin to lifting the lid off of the black box so that sales can have a greater insight into the process leading up to their making a sale.

For example, sales tend to bombard leads with requests for information when all they need is an email—further information can be gathered later in the process. Additionally, marketing can learn to prepare to answer critical questions that sales face all the time: with great analytics comes great responsibility! Merinda’s top tips for sales and marketing alignment include:

  • Having one platform and one language
  • Ensuring there is time to value
  • Using powerful marketing analytics
  • Sales activation
  • Mutual respect between the departments

To close the event, Jamie and Phil Ball, joint Managing Director at CleverTouch, were joined on stage by Deborah Taylor, Director of Global Marketing at Colorcon, and Tracy Ryan, Global Marketing Director at Natterbox, who provided a summary of the issues discussed during throughout the event. The panel discussed how it’s vital to do what works for your organisation, as every business varies dependant on size and culture. For example. Natterbox has regular conversations between sales and marketing to ensure they have aligned goals, however, Colorcon finds this difficult as a large multinational organisation with employees spread around the world. Yet all agreed that the importance of cultural alignment cannot be underestimated: marketing should ultimately treat sales as an internal customer when working alongside and aligning their goals.

Our final event of 2018 was a resounding success, with some great insights to take into the new year. We’re looking forward to seeing what 2019 holds—will we see you at our next event?