During the ‘70s and ‘80s, Hershey ran a series of commercials for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with the tagline “Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together.” As part of the campaign, serendipitous accidents mixed peanut butter and chocolate. The accidents were silly, but the premise was simple – the combination was better than the parts.

Sales and marketing are similar. They often operate in different worlds, but in the end, they both have the same mandate: growing top-line revenue. In fact, sales and marketing are the only corporate functions with the specific objective of growing top-line revenue.

In last month’s blog, I called for B2B sales and marketing alignment as a competitive necessity. I noted that the two departments operate in “separate universes” with different goals, compensation metrics, and platforms. At the operational level, they don’t even manage to the same core datum. While marketing focuses on leads (people), sales focus on accounts (companies).

Sales and marketing departments are often at loggerheads, pointing fingers at each other’s inability to grow revenue. But if the two departments cannot agree on what constitutes a quality lead, what kind of content is useful, or how to measure success, then they will continue to be in conflict.And product launches will be underwhelming.

And sales reps will struggle to make quota.

And revenue will be flat.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are a set of process ideas around aligning the two departments and growing the top line. For ideas around cultural alignment, I would refer you to a March Forbes article titled “The Balancing Act: Should Marketing And Sales Teams Coexist?

Michael Levy
About the Author
Michael R. Levy, former Manager of Strategy and Competitive Intelligence of Infogroup, is the principal of GZ Consulting, a US market research and competitive intelligence consulting firm. He focuses on information services including sales intelligence, CRM, data hygiene, and marketing automation. Michael is also the author of "2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors".

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