Sales has no formal role in setting overall market direction other than providing input as the frontline customer facing team. It’s critical that all align with these roles otherwise dysfunction occurs as groups trip over each other and little constructive gets done. If there are issues about who does what, escalate to the highest level in the organization to get resolution.
Develop a detailed marketing plan
The marketing plan must have sufficient granularity for sales to create their sales plan incorporating the strategy focus and priorities they must carry out.
This is often a major issue where the marketing plan lacks the clarity required to define the specific actions sales must take to execute successfully.
Without absolute clear translation for sales they will be forced to make their own interpretation of what marketing expects. This puts sales in a quasi-planning role for which they are not responsible nor ill-equipped to play.
Engage sales in setting the overall revenue target
This does not mean sales has a decision making role in setting the target; this is the responsibility of marketing.
Sales, however, should be looked to provide critical input on the available revenue potential and decide how it should be allocated at the customer level.
In addition, should there be any shortfall between the tops down marketing driven revenue target and bottoms up sales driven quota — and there always is — sales should decide how the difference will be allocated among customer groups and specific customers.
Implement an internal report card
The “report card” is a vehicle that allows marketing and sales to review and rate one another in terms of how well each function supports and meets the needs of the other.
The process is simple: marketing defines their 6 critical needs of sales who, in turn, outline what they expect of marketing. Every 6 months report cards are exchanged and each side rates the other — ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘F’ rating — on each support item. Results are analyzed and actions taken by both sides to address where performance has fallen short of expectations.
I introduced the report card process between my marketing and sales organizations with extremely positive results. When the initial report cards were completed both organizations were in shock; each party was surprised by how they were perceived by the other. But after action planning was done to address their shortfalls, the report card results improved and performance went up — cultural progress was made.
Jointly review revenue results monthly
Joint action planning based on results against monthly revenue objectives will solidify and direct the relationship to enhance performance.
Name calling is reduced and energy directed to resolving issues rather than blaming the other side for any performance glitch.
I mandated that these sessions be formally planned and would drop in unannounced to witness the proceedings and ask questions that challenged how well the team was working together. It became an integral part of “how things were done around here”.
Celebrate achievements together — good or bad
You either make it together or you fail together. There is no finger pointing, only sharing. Remarkable teams are created by jointly owning performance results.
As president of the organization I hosted quarterly performance celebrations between the two groups. We reviewed the successes — and recognized the heroes — and shortcomings — and what was learned through the process.
We tried to recognize groups of individuals with a mix of marketing and sales to further the notion of teamwork.
At the end of the day, aligning marketing and sales is not good enough if you want a culture where the customer-facing engine of the organization functions brilliantly.
Marketing and sales need to be “joined at the hip” in order to deliver the high level of performance every organization expects.
Leadership needs to be engaged to make it happen otherwise nothing will change, mutual distrust will continue and no cultural progress will be made.
Roy Osing is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.