I bet you've all heard about how 'Sales and Marketing Alignment' is highly desirable and how it can benefit business when both functions are working harmoniously together.

I'm sure you've equally familiar with the reality that achieving effective alignment is really not that easy.

Historically, sales and marketing functions in large organisations (I've experienced this first hand!) operated in silos; marketing would generate loads of leads, they would hand them over to sales, who would then respond by saying that the leads were rubbish and not worth following up. And so on.. Pretty frustrating situation for both sides.

However, the buyer journey today is mainly digital (up to 90% is often quoted) in both B2B and B2C. Consequently, we always have to be thinking of ways to attract customers and prospects digitally to our brand and to ourselves as subject matter experts; buyers are self-educating and they're constantly searching for credible sources and people to guide them along the decision making process.

This is where a collaborative sales and marketing relationship is key - sales need to feed back all the relevant customer conversations which can help marketing develop meaningful content which offers real value to prospects. 

Sales need to work with marketing to help define the typical buyer journey and build buyer personas based on real scenarios. So, how does this work practically?

Well, it’s like a game of ping pong. It’s backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards between sales and marketing as they share what buyers are discussing, the content they’re consuming and any gaps where the business could provide value and helpful information to make the buyer’s decision easier.

Essential to all of this is having a customer centric approach to alignment - this highlights how the buyer will flit from your website to a salesperson’s LinkedIn profile, to a piece of video content and then maybe to an event. The point is that buyers will not take a linear journey but one that ping pongs between sales and marketing.

Just in case anyone if doubting the impact of sales and marketing alignment, LinkedIn research shows  a pretty clear picture of why it's so important:

Clearly sales and marketing alignment is not just a 'nice to have'!