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5 Signs Your B2B Company Needs Better Marketing and Sales Alignment

I’m a soccer dad, to two soccer obsessed sons. From March through October, my weekends start with me packing up the SUV, driving the family to a field somewhere in Colorado, watching games, watching more games, re-packing the car, driving everyone back home, and crashing. Rinse and repeat, again and again. 

I didn’t play the game growing up, but I too have grown to love watching soccer. It’s an amazing game. I love watching my boys compete. I love watching them play on a team. More than anything, I absolutely love watching them win as a team.

Having watched 100’s of games in my soccer dad ‘career’, I know it takes coordination, vision, and a collected effort to win. When everything clicks; when the passes are crisp, the movement is fluid, and the goals are almost an expected byproduct of a team moving as one - it is absolutely awesome.

But there's a flip side to this coin that every team faces at some point. It’s the confusion and frustration that arises when the team doesn't work together, when individualism prevails, when communication falters and the shared strategy falls apart. You see it on the field when a striker goes for the glorious shot in the upper corner, instead of passing to an open teammate, or when a defender misses their mark, not because they lack the skill, but because they weren't working in coordination with their teammates.

In these frustrating moments, the potential of the team remains just that – potential. It's a hard pill to swallow, watching my boys from the sidelines, knowing the talent of the team and knowing that it could deliver so much more if only it worked together. The games that end in defeat, or even a draw, when you know a victory was within reach had the team truly played as one, is completely disheartening.     

My soccer dad analogy isn’t that far off when describing the discord that I see between sales and marketing teams within B2B companies everywhere. When these crucial departments are out of sync, the whole company can feel the impact. 

The good news? Recognizing the signs of misalignment are the first step toward a solution. Let's dive into the five signs I see most often, that suggest your B2B company might need to realign its sales and marketing efforts.

Sign 1: A misunderstanding of who the target customer is

If you ask your sales and marketing teams - independently - who the target customer is, and you get differing answers - you could be in trouble. If these teams aren’t in agreement about who you’re targeting, with what offer, and what their buyers journey is, effective lead management (and a positive buyer experience), is impossible to achieve.  

Sign 2: Marketing and Sales Teams Rarely Communicate

Silos belong on farms (native Nebraskan here), not in companies. When sales and marketing teams operate independently, without regular communication, they miss out on sharing critical insights that could drive growth. The solution is as simple as it sounds – talk more. Set up weekly catch-ups and create shared digital spaces for updates and brainstorming. Communication can turn those silos into bridges.

Sign 3: Unclear or Conflicting Goals

It’s hard to score when sales and marketing are aiming at different goals. This not only leads to a strained work environment but also a scattered approach to achieving company objectives. To aim for the same target, get both teams together for a goal-setting workshop at the start of each quarter. Define how each team's efforts contribute to a common objective, making it a win-win situation for everyone.

Sign 4: Poor Lead Quality and Follow-Up

When marketing hands over leads that sales can’t close, it’s a classic sign of misalignment. A common reason is that each team has a different idea of what qualifies as a ‘good lead’. Solve this by creating a lead scoring system together. Sales should communicate what makes a lead viable, and marketing should tailor their criteria accordingly. This way, only the most promising leads make it to sales, increasing the chances of conversion.

Sign 5: Negative Feedback from Clients and Customers

Lastly, if clients and customers express dissatisfaction with a disjointed experience, it’s a glaring red flag. For instance, if a customer gets repeat calls from sales about a problem that marketing has already addressed, that’s a cue for better alignment. Implementing a shared CRM for unified customer data can help, where notes from both teams can be accessed to provide a seamless customer journey.


Strategies for Better Alignment:

Achieving alignment between marketing and sales is an ongoing effort, one that necessitates consistent and intentional collaboration. Here’s how you can start aligning these teams more effectively:


Conduct Joint Workshops: Organize workshops that bring both teams under one roof not just to share insights but to build a shared language around goals, challenges, and strategies. These sessions should be aimed at understanding and respecting each other's roles in the sales cycle, and establishing common ground.


Analyze Performance Metrics Together: Schedule regular meetings where both teams analyze performance data. This co-analysis not only demystifies each team's contributions but also highlights success stories and areas needing improvement. By doing this, both teams can clearly see how their actions impact the overall business goals and adjust their strategies in harmony.


Collaborative Campaign Planning: Encourage the teams to jointly conceive, execute, and review at least one major campaign. This hands-on collaboration is the crucible in which true alignment is forged. As they work together from conception to execution, they'll better understand the nuances of each other's tactics and strategies.


Shared Success Metrics: Develop shared KPIs that require both teams to work together to achieve success. When both sales and marketing are held accountable for the same outcomes, it reinforces the need for a unified approach.


Cross-Team Mentorship: Implement a mentorship program where sales and marketing professionals pair up to share skills and insights. This cross-pollination of knowledge can break down silos and build mutual respect.


Communication Cadence: Establish a rhythm of communication, be it through regular email updates, shared dashboards, or quick stand-up meetings. Consistency in communication helps prevent misunderstandings and keeps both teams informed of ongoing activities and challenges.

If any of these signs sound familiar, don’t worry – they're simply indicators that there’s room for improvement. By identifying the gaps in alignment, you can start taking steps to bridge them. Remember, when marketing and sales move together as a unified front, the whole company advances towards shared success.

Ready to get your teams on the same track? Reach out, and let’s craft a strategy that syncs your marketing and sales for optimal performance.

Matt Walde
Post by Matt Walde
November 14, 2023

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