How to Overcome the Five Barriers to Sales & Marketing Alignment

Posted by Larry Kenigsberg on Aug 12, 2020 5:42:00 PM

Photo editor looking at multi colored sticky notes on glass in meeting room at creative officeBuild up ABM success by bringing down the silos

Not all prospects give you the best fit or highest value for your solution - thus, the growing popularity of account-based marketing. Approximately 92 percent of B2B marketers consider ABM a critical component of their marketing efforts; and 87 percent of ROI-measuring marketers say that ABM tops all other marketing investments.

ABM, which replaces broad marketing campaigns with laser-focused efforts on key accounts, cannot happen when there’s daylight between sales and marketing. ABM’s mission to identify and target specific prospects requires coordinating resources. This means replacing traditional sales and marketing silos with sales and marketing alignment and partnership - a task that’s easier said than done.

If you plan to have an ABM program or already have one in place and want your sales and marketing teams more tightly aligned, here are five barriers you must overcome:

  1. Getting sales to agree - Breaking tradition is hard, and getting sales to agree to work with fewer leads is a challenge. The key is to communicate that both marketing and sales need each other to succeed, that they are working toward the same goal. Sales provides the insights to help marketing create the right content for the right prospects to make closing sales easier. Fortunately, by its very nature of driving more qualified leads, ABM can help the two teams move closer together.

  2. Clarifying each team’s responsibilities - Knowing what each team is responsible for promotes accountability, prevents tasks from falling through the cracks, and eases collaboration when performing the basic ABM tasks: identifying key accounts, creating personas, finding the right content, incorporating ABM into overall channel strategies, and measuring ABM performance.

  3. Lack of communication - It’s no surprise that backbiting and other middle-school shenanigans still occur among these traditional corporate rivals. The solution is to foster communication via common business hours and regular joint meetings. It is important that sales and marketing meet, ask questions, and get feedback as a team. What sales knows, marketing needs to know, and vice-versa. Engaging in a continuing conversation makes it easier to keep up with changes in the market, competition, and buyers’ needs.
  1. Different definitions and data - Inconsistency - different definitions, conflicting data, and divergent technologies - is the enemy of sales and marketing alignment. Both should be on the same page as far as the right criteria for target accounts or the ideal customer profile. To facilitate ABM, an account-centric, rather than individual-focused, data infrastructure is critical to connect individuals within target accounts to the correct companies, avoid improper scoring, and maintain productivity.
  1. Different measurements - When each team measures success via different yardsticks - sales with sales closed, marketing with leads generated - it’s no wonder that when targets are not reached one group will blame the other instead of both coming up with a solution. Management should deploy a unified benchmark for measuring success to encourage both teams to tackle problems together, set common goals and mutually beneficial strategies, and boost ABM success.

Get the most out of account-based marketing - improved conversion rates, higher customer retention, and increased lead-to-client shifts - by ensuring sales and marketing alignment. Get valuable help accomplishing this crucial task by partnering with K2 Global Communications, whose experts know the ins and outs of account-based marketing.

Get Your Guide to Synching Sales & Marketing for ABM

Topics: marketing, inbound marketing, messaging, PR, Account-based marketing, sales, ABM