This guest blog post was written by Aurelien Gohier over at btobmarketingsales.com.
We know that company culture effects alignment between sales and marketing. I discovered Jeff’s writings by reading about the terrible effect that misalignment between sales and marketing could have on a business development - “World War B2B: The misalignment of sales and marketing”. I deeply care about this topic, for the very simple reason that all the companies I have been involved with in the past have suffered, in one way or another, from such type of misalignment, at different levels of severity of course.
I have only been active on the B2B marketing & sales scene since 2009, but there is one aspect that has always challenged me: why does it seem so tremendously complex to end this war between B2B marketing & B2B sales? I mean, I have mostly worked with intelligent people, capable of great things, kind hearted individuals, and despite this I have always seen my top of management struggling to ensure alignment between sales & marketing.
Jamie Shanks, author of “Social Selling Mastery” explains that “alignment between sales and marketing occurs when your team begins to create metrics around the handshake between sales and marketing.” and I cannot agree more with him. Indeed, having people working with the same objectives is a key to success. However, imposing common metrics on sales and marketing cannot be effective in the long run, without a consistent company culture.
Company culture should unify
What I want to highlight in this article is how company culture effects alignment between sales and marketing and most importantly how successful alignment starts with unifying new sales / marketing employees. Indeed, you can judge a successful onboarding process for new marketers when he/she can clearly answer the following questions after his/her first three months in the company:
- What will I do to be able to deliver better leads to our sales team?
- How do I track and calculate the revenue I contributed by those actions?
- At which point will I consider myself a successful marketer?
When I was hired by my current employer, I spent one month shadowing a sales person, physically meeting the client, attending all his internal meetings, talking to partners, attending strategic events and much more. This gave me a clear understanding of the sales reality and sales challenges, which made my first actions as a B2B marketer more accurate. Why? Because after this one month in sales I was able to answer the above three questions and had a clear view of the change I wanted to inspire in this company. This very simple integrative approach had a prospective impact on my credibility and effectiveness in my decision making as a marketer, as well as an impact on the marketing department's credibility collectively.
Of course this principal should be applied the other way around. Make your new sales people work in the marketing team for a couple of weeks, to allow them to understand what the marketing department’s primary challenges are, make sales and marketing informally brainstorm together to make the alignment stronger. Understanding each other’s pain points and challenges is key to a proper B2B sales & B2B marketing alignment.
No Magic Recipe
As Lauren Frye mentions in an article about “Why B2B Marketers Don’t Like Articles on Sales Alignment”, “when articles talk about a proposed solution to sales and marketing alignment, it’s doubtful that one specific solution will work for every team”. There is no magic recipe to making alignment successful, but what we know is that the B2B sales process is generally much more complex that in B2C, so it is even more important to be able to execute a cohesive sales and marketing alignment strategy for your B2B company.