Most of the recommendations for improving Marketing and Sales alignment revolve around how these two organizations need to work together. Misalignment is often attributed to a variety of factors, such as different goals, different timelines, and different psychologies. Market dynamics such as commoditization, the Internet, mobility and virtualization, and changing business models only compound the problem.
Trying to tighten the alignment of marketing program activities within the sales cycle, improving coordination around lead generation, creating service level agreements, and increasing Sales force participation in the Marketing process are approaches many organizations take to improve alignment of the functions. Regardless of various approaches taken by companies to address this issue, the lack of alignment and collaboration between Marketing and Sales persists, which is why you need a Marketing and Sales playbook.
While no one can offer any guarantees, aligning Marketing and Sales makes good business sense and ultimately has an impact on the bottom line. The alignment of those two organizations determines how well a company attracts buyers and sells to them. The relationship is more than just a simple hand-off at the point a lead is generated; it is the foundation for profitable revenue growth.
The conversation about aligning Sales and Marketing is most often around lead management. But Sales and Marketing need to be aligned in at least these four areas:
One of the most critical enablement and alignment tools is the Marketing AND Sales playbook.
A Marketing and Sales playbook is a collection of tactics or methods that characterize the roles and responsibilities for both functions. The operative word here is “AND”. The playbook lays out clear objectives, identifies metrics for measurement, and provides a common framework and approach for finding and acquiring customers that is deployed and used by both organizations.
The playbook helps you implement a common marketing and selling methodology that leverages the processes used by high performers. The outcome? You can more effectively anticipate and address different selling scenarios, position against a particular competitor, or communicate the value proposition to each person in the buying process.
In the sports world, a “play” is an action designed to achieve a specific purpose in specific conditions. When you design your Marketing and Sales playbook you need to define the conditions.
A good Marketing and Sales playbook should:
At a minimum, the following knowledge needs to be integrated into the Marketing and Sales playbook:
While developing a Marketing and Sales playbook is an extensive investment of your time, it has a big payoff in that it surfaces customer pains and preferences, improves selling effectiveness and productivity, and exposes and corrects weaknesses in the way you currently operate.
When completed, your playbook becomes a living document of your SELLING methodology and provides tactical guidelines and instructions that enable you to discover important ways to address the vulnerabilities of both your company and competitors.
With a practical playbook, you can leverage strengths, differentiate offers, prove business value, and ultimately improve your win/loss ratio. More importantly, a SELLING playbook serves as a powerful alignment tool for the Marketing and Sales functions with everyone operating from the same page.
A working session is a valuable and efficient way to begin crafting your playbook. Reach out for specific guidance and help in crafting your playbook.
The original version of this article was first published on VisionEdge Marketing.