An interim CEO, CMO or CSO charged with transforming a company’s revenue performance is going to assess how well aligned the marketing and sales functions are to each other and to the market. Misalignment between Sales and Marketing is a common cause of under-performance and inefficiency, after all.
Identifying that misalignment exists within the organization is relatively easy and even can be measured via an Alignment Index . However, solving the problem long term has proven very difficult. An interim executive with revenue responsibility is likely on point to “fix it” and fix it quick.
The results of a poll on this topic are enlightening even though the poll is not statistically representative. Responses in the poll suggest that the lack of B2B marketing skills within the Marketing department are the leading obstacle to achieving long-lasting alignment with Sales.
The poll asked the question, “What is the biggest obstacle to successfully aligning Marketing and Sales long term?” The choices given are:
- Culture–lack of commitment and trust
- Technology–lack of CRM, etc.
- Process–lack of a shared action plan
- Funnel–lack of funnel definitions, roles
- Skills–lack of the right skills in Marketing
Lack of the right skills within the Marketing organization has received 50% of the responses thus far. Lack of commitment and trust within Marketing and Sales is second most popular choice having been selected by 35% of the respondents. Lack of agreement to funnel stage definitions and roles is third most common obstacle to alignment with 14% of respondents.
My experience as consultant and interim executive in scores of B2B companies over past nine years validates this finding. The talented, eager, creative people in Marketing lack critical know-how to be strong strategic and tactical partners with Sales. The type of B2B marketing skills necessary for success in today’s companies are not taught in most Universities.
The required skills and best practices don’t always come to Marketers from years on the job if careers are spent in unsophisticated companies without strong marketing leadership.
The poll results suggest that companies wishing to align Marketing and Sales are smart to first invest in black-belt level of B2B marketing training for their Marketing teams.