The 3 most typical mistakes that prevent Sales and Marketing from working together

by Michael Ghezzo



Leahanne Hobson, Managing Director of ALINEA Partners Consulting has directed go-to-market strategies and new business development programs for global companies of all sizes. According to her recent research, less than 10 percent of B2B companies say they have tight alignment between sales and marketing. That means that there are a serious number of companies with a marketing and sales alignment problem. And an alignment problem is a business problem. Without alignment, a company cannot effectively execute. In her session at the Confare event »Marketing & Vertrieb 2.0« on June 6th in Vienna, Leahanne will talk about the research her company conducted, give examples of common areas where sales and marketing fail to align and provides practical ideas for improving this relationship. In this interview Leahanne explains why Marketing & Sales alignment is so important and what the major mistakes are that prevent Sales and Marketing from working together.

What is the meaning of Marketing & Sales alignment?


Leahanne Hobson: In the business-to business sector, a well-known source of tension is the relationship between many sales and marketing executives.  Evidence of this can be heard with comments such as, ‘Marketing only does advertising in our company’ or ‘These are not leads.  Sales doesn’t know how to close leads.’  Or even, ‘I have no idea what marketing does for us.’  Whether or not these complaints are legitimate or simply the result of frustration at not meeting corporate revenue or customer satisfaction goals, the end result is the same – reduced productivity, lack of focus, poor communications, work dissatisfaction and a failure to meet targets.


When Sales and Marketing teams are aligned within a company, they work cooperatively to meet a set of agreed upon goals. 

Areas where cooperation should be seen:

  • The Buyer’s Journey – It is more important than ever that companies understand how, where and why their customers buy.  Joined-up Sales and Marketing teams will align their strategy, approach, process and activity.
  • Campaign Structures – An agreed view on nomenclature, lead definitions, Service Level Agreements (SLAs), owners, targets and ‘what success looks like.’
  • Integrated Campaigns – Successful marketing campaigns are integrated in approach and execution.  Well thought-out campaigns that incorporate input from Sales during inception improve chances for success.
  • Planning and Measurement – A cooperative, communicative process for planning and agreed targets will stimulate dialogue verses finger-pointing.

Why do many companies have major Sales and Marketing alignment issues?

Leahanne Hobson: There could be a variety of reasons, but three of my favorites that tend to solve a significant part of the problem if fixed are:


  1. Management doesn’t understand Marketing.  The top decision-makers do not understand the full contribution that marketing can make and should make to the Business.
  2. Marketers are not adequately trained to be true partners with Sales in the revenue generation process.  Many come from communications or advertising backgrounds and do not understand or take into account the required commercial elements.
  3. Companies lack an integrated planning process to enable (or force) Marketing and Sales to craft joined strategies and tactics.

What are the 3 most typical mistakes that prevent Sales and Marketing from working together?
Leahanne Hobson:

1. Lack of agreed Goals.

2. Different vocabularies.
3. Not having a full view – or having too many different views – of data.


 What can be achieved by optimizing Sales and Marketing alignment?


Leahanne Hobson: Oh!  The world looks a lot different:  to customers, buyers and to Sales and Marketing professionals inside the company. 


Revenue can increase, customer satisfaction can improve and the overall work environment inside the company can go from abusive in the worst cases or counterproductive in the best to communicative, successful and even enjoyable.
To hear more about Leahannes research and how to achieve better understanding between divisions we suggest you visit http://www.confare.at/10357_DE-7210_4._Jahresforum_Marketing_Vertrieb_2.0-Einfuehrung.htm

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