Challenges of Sales and Marketing Alignment

Sales and marketing teams have an interesting relationship. In today’s selling environment, where customers expect a personalized interaction every time, sales simply cannot exist without marketing. Cold calls and “naked” emails do not cut it anymore, and sales now relies on the content produced by marketing to make sales conversations more valuable for prospects. And it goes without saying that marketing wouldn’t have much of a job to do without sales; marketing collateral would be lost and lonely without anyone to share it with.

But even though these teams are dependent on each other for success, it doesn’t mean their responsibilities, priorities and processes always align perfectly. In fact, oftentimes sales and marketing find themselves butting heads over these three things, among others.

So how can these two teams set aside their differences and work together to see more collective success? It starts with understanding the challenges and pain points each side experiences. For example, marketing often brings up the following challenge when discussing content processes:

“I have no way of preventing outdated and off-brand collateral from being shared and circulated by sales reps.”

Marketing often feels as if once sales content is shared with sales, it is out in the open with no way of knowing how it is being used. Further, once that collateral is out of date, how is marketing able to corral it back in and make sure it’s not shared externally? Outdated content can be viewed as unprofessional and unreliable.

On the other hand, sales often complains about a similar issue:

“The marketing content available to me is out of date and irrelevant, so I update it myself or use what I already have.”

Sales suffers because of outdated content as well, because if updates aren’t made in a timely manner, sales reps have no choice but to use outdated content or create their own. This is marketing’s worst nightmare, as content can become off-brand or off-message very easily. But if sales needs content quickly, reps aren’t left with much choice.

These are surely two big issues that many organizations experience. But if we take a step back and look at these challenges, it becomes clear that it isn’t necessarily sales’ or marketing’s fault that content may become convoluted, out of date or stale. It is more an issue of process; if marketing had a way to automate data and content updates so that sales always had the most updated version, there would be no need for sales to create its own content.

Sure, sometimes the blame game is the easier and quicker solution. But this only creates an even bigger gap between sales and marketing. By reframing the problem objectively, it is easier to get to the root of the problem and find a solution more efficiently. Read more about the challenges of sales and marketing alignment and how to solve them below.