If you sense that your revenue engine is under-performing and believe that aligning Marketing and Sales will lead to the necessary transformation you might next ask when is the best time to launch an alignment initiative.
Fair enough question and I’ll provide some ideas beyond the obvious answer of, “right now”!
Aligning the Marketing function and the Sales function to the buyers’ journey and to a single, measurable revenue-generation plan is frequently the transformation that leads to breakthroughs in revenue growth and revenue-generation efficiency. Here are several events that usually trigger a decision by top management to look for ways to improve the combined performance of Marketing and Sales.
- Revenue growth has been stalled for 2 or more of the past 4 fiscal quarters.
- Margin has been shrinking due to inefficiencies in the lead cycle and sales cycle.
- New CEO, new head of Marketing or new head of Sales comes on board.
- Forecast accuracy has become a joke.
- A mature company in a mature market is running out of ideas to improve organic growth.
- A company is entering a very new market, or launching a major new product line, or forming a new business unit.
- Company embarks on new sales strategy such as adopting a 2-tier channel model versus a direct channel model.
- A significant strategic relationship is formed with another company involving expectations of incremental revenue growth driven by collaborative marketing and sales.
- It’s time for annual planning and budgeting.
- A competitor is eating your lunch.
As I look back on the list it’s clear to me that if one isn’t experiencing at least two of the events on the list right now, you’re probably on sabbatical. Therefore, the point is clear: get the alignment initiative in motion right away. The sooner that you can close the gap between your company’s strategy and revenue results the better.