What’s the Deal about Marketing & Sales Alignment?

During the latter part of August, NASSCOM conducted an event, in Chennai, focusing on the most talked about topic within the marketing and sales fraternity – ‘Alignment between Marketing and Sales’. The highlight of the event was a keynote by Apurva Chamaria, Head of Corporate Marketing, at HCL Technologies. In his presentation titled ‘Blueprint for 21st Century Marketing Organization’, Apurva touched upon the challenges faced by marketers in an age characterized by distractions and distrust. He shared some interesting statistics, and insights on how marketers can transform challenges into opportunities by aligning with sales to introduce authenticity in all customer interactions and communication.

Apurva encapsulated his success mantra as a ‘3 Lane Response Needed from Marketers’ to remain competitive and win customer trust. First – Maintain authenticity by being consistent with your brand identity, image, and values. Second – Shift your gears to keep pace with an increasingly digital world and proactively meet your customers’ evolving needs and preferences. Third – Build the future of the industry by reimagining marketing and introducing DevOps culture into marketing.

The second part of the event was a workshop focused on uncovering the ‘What, Why, and How’ of Marketing and Sales alignment. To set the background for the workshop, Sesha Rao, Managing Director, at InsideView Technologies, introduced the concept of SMarketing and shared some noteworthy results from a survey conducted by InsideView to assess the state of alignment between sales and marketing professionals in India. The results indicated that sales as well as marketing leaders are motivated to align, but not ready yet. To discover for themselves the different parameters of readiness the participants were divided into work groups of 7-8 people, and each group was required to work on one company as a case. Each group was required to identify the causes of misalignment faced by its chosen company, come up with possible solutions to address those challenges, and present its case to the audience.

The top challenges to alignment between marketing and sales, identified by the workshop participants, included:

  • Lack of proper / regular communication between marketing and sales teams
  • Absence of common success metrics used to assess the performance of sales and marketing
  • Lack of accurate prospect data and insights
  • Lack of well-defined processes for sales and marketing to collaboratively define their ideal customer profile, total addressable market, go-to market strategy, and lead hand-over and tracking 

The workshop concluded with Sesha giving some actionable recommendations for participants to foster marketing and sales alignment, within their organisations, which included:

  • Agree with your CEO that you have an alignment imperative
  • Measure trust with your sales team and take action
  • Review your funnel definitions
  • Report on the same metrics; Focus on pipeline
  • Bite the bullet and give marketing variable compensation

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