Symptoms of Sales and Marketing Misalignment

Sales and Marketing Misalignment Symptoms

Symptoms of Sales and Marketing Misalignment

When Sales and Marketing align, they become the ultimate power couple. Their alignment increases revenue, shortens the sales cycle, and conversion rates improve. While sales and marketing teams have similar objectives, the way they achieve them can look very different. Regardless of these differences, ensuring these two groups work together is vital to business growth.

Since a lack of alignment can hinder a business’s success, it’s crucial to get the teams moving successfully in the same direction. We know identifying the problems between departments can be complicated.

Take a look at 3 common symptoms – and solutions – to misalignment.

Symptom: Marketing Sends Leads to a Black Hole in Sales

Misalignments can develop quickly when an imbalance in skill sets occurs

We’ve seen sales and marketing departments so unbalanced that Marketing was sending qualified leads to Sales, but those leads may as well have been going into a black hole. They weren’t prioritized. They weren’t triaged. They weren’t assigned properly, and there wasn’t any accountability to report back to marketing on the quality of the lead.

Sound familiar? Create balance with training and handoffs

Consider pushing more resources into sales training and development to create a stronger balance. You should also think about leaning on Marketing to handle some of the follow-ups. This move keeps Sales’s plate clear to handle only the highest quality, bottom-of-the-funnel leads.

In this scenario, the marketing-to-sales handoff can be adjusted so that a lead is only handed to Sales if very specific qualification guidelines are met. Guarantee balance by documenting exactly what those qualifications are and clarifying who owns the lead. These precautions will keep Marketing from overstepping into the realm of Sales.

Remember, this is a living relationship. You should constantly check your marketing-to-sales handoff qualifications and make adjustments.

Symptom: Sales Isn’t Using the CRM

CRM only works when it is used and used correctly

If adopted and used correctly, CRM can boost the performance of sales teams. More often than not, however, it’s not used correctly. CRM is a nice piece of software and is cool in theory, but it’s typically useless. Sales tend to see CRM as another tool, pointless labor, and just another way for their bosses to keep track of their work. Many sales teams simply don’t use their CRM. We can’t say we blame them; it’s usually full of garbage data that can’t be trusted anyway.

Is Sales using CRM? Here are a few signs to look for:

  • Salespeople having separate excel sheets sitting on their desktops.
  • Marketing making decisions based on what leads are converting into sales.
  • Marketing using the same tactics and getting the same results.

Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Under his definition, Marketing is insane – no wonder they get frustrated. When Marketing doesn’t know what happens to the lead once it’s handed off to Sales, they begin making blindfolded decisions. Without visibility into whether the leads coming in are good or bad, Marketing ends up spinning their wheels.

Find the right CRM for your team

Consider asking Sales why the CRM isn’t working for them. Remember, a CRM is only useful if everyone uses it. If the software simply isn’t compatible with your team, find another. There are a lot of CRM solutions on the market and it is not a one-size-fits-all. Complete a needs analysis in terms of what you actually need the CRM to do and then find one that works with your existing sales process. If the CRM isn’t being used, you’re wasting your money.

Symptom: Sales Gets Annoyed with Marketing but Isn’t Empowered to Say Anything

Less communication equals more misalignment

With little or no communication between departments, misalignments are bound to arise. We see it all too often. Sales becomes frustrated with Marketing and quietly complains to themselves about Marketing not doing their jobs. Maybe they grumble about bad leads or ask under their breath, “What the hell is marketing even doing?”.

This scenario is challenging for both departments. Marketing wants to hear these complaints directly from Sales. They want to know what’s resonating with prospects and what isn’t. This information is gold! Without it, Marketing is shooting from the hip.

Open the dialogue between departments

This symptom usually rears its ugly head because Sales and Marketing aren’t encouraged to talk to each other. Sometimes they don’t even know the names of the people in the other department! Eliminate this symptom by opening the dialogue and lowering the gate between the departments. The more interaction between departments, the more receptive to feedback they will be.

Opening communication between Sales and Marketing starts at the top. Leadership must understand what a healthy sales/marketing relationship looks like and then put systems in place to nurture it. Take a look at some ideas we’ve seen work well to keep communication lines open:

  • A weekly or monthly note to Sales about campaigns Marketing is launching
  • Mixers and chat groups with both departments
  • Monthly 15-minute lunchtime presentations from a sales or marketing person in their area of expertise
  • Slack channels for both departments for fun posts, memes, links to marketing campaigns, and announcements of new clients
  • Company-wide celebration emails when a new customer closes with highlights of how marketing got the lead, and who in sales closed it

Recognizing and correcting symptoms of misalignment can make a huge impact on your business’s success. By opening the lines of communication and focusing on alignment, Sales and Marketing can thrive together as the ultimate power couple.

Cindy Skach

Cindy Skach brings more than 20 years of delivering measurable results through strategic marketing to clients. Her sales experience allows her to appreciate the value of digital marketing and build a team accordingly, while her marketing experience enables her to understand and relate to a sales team’s needs. Collaborating with many agencies over the years equipped Cindy with the insight and business savvy to launch Skach Marketing Group.