“To most organizations, sales-marketing alignment is the holy grail of closed loop systems.”

That’s what Jason Gelman, who manages Sales Operations here at Percolate told me when I sat him down to decode what “sales-marketing alignment” meant in practice. As a marketer, it’s easy to get caught up with ideas — a lot of it jargon — that explain how sales and marketing can work better together, so spending time with the people on the frontline is often the quickest path to coherence. This report, the 2016 Sales Enablement Checklist, attempts to look past the buzzwords and provide actionable strategies for marketers to equip their sales teams in 2016.

The first observation: it’s not an easy cross-departmental relationship to nurture, with often-skewed perceptions of what the other department does. Neither of these perceptions is helping ease organizations closer to sales-marketing alignment, clearly.

In reality, it’s often challenging to operationalize when your sales and marketing teams sit in different offices, with entirely different objectives, workflows, and performance measures. Sales is measured by revenue-level KPIs like monthly quotas and revenue targets; marketing’s KPIs are brand-level, like share of brand voice, demand creation, and media presence. Ultimately, however, both departments seek a common end: to usher in business, whether that’s through cold calling or content creation.

Here’s three reasons why a smoother sales and marketing partnership can actually grow business — and brand. You can download the full report here for the entire checklist.

1. The customer journey isn’t marketing-first, it’s buyer-first

Buyers now control most of their journey to purchase and their experience with brands, from choosing what they read and research to the final moment of purchase. In this permission-based model of advertising, marketing is responsible for finding the “hooks” to trigger customer interest, nurture them through the initial phases of the customer journey, and finally to “seamlessly pass the buyer to Sales at the most appropriate and helpful time” (Mark Roberge in The Sales Acceleration Formula). It’s important that sales and marketing co-own the customer journey to ensure the customer experience transitions seamlessly from marketing to sales.

sales marketing alignment.001

2. Content costs are on the rise — and your sales team can help control them

Percolate surveyed over 300 enterprise U.S. CMOs, VPs, and Marketing Directors about the costs of producing content, and found that it accounts for 20% of the total marketing budget. (You can see the entirety of our findings in The Hidden Cost of Marketing: The 2016 Non-Working Spend Report.) Almost half of our respondents think better internal workflows and collaboration with other teams can help control these costs. Marketing can get more mileage out of less content by leveraging sales knowledge through better internal communication.


3. Knowledge shared = Time saved

In our recent webinar on centralizing sales and marketing resources, our Integrated Marketing Director Chris Bolman hit on a startling statistic: 40 percent of a seller’s time is spent looking for content or creating it because they can’t find what they need (Salesforce and SAP, 2015). To prevent sellers from losing productivity, there’s a strong business case for centralizing internal knowledge and client-facing resources, as well as for bringing sales and marketing onto the same tech platforms.

As we head into 2016, aligning sales and marketing could be one of the CMO’s most powerful business decisions yet. With two departments that hold the key to the customer’s heart (and wallet) working more closely together, the returns are valuable time and cost savings. Download the 2016 Sales Enablement Checklist for the full picture on how to best equip sales teams with the right resources at the right time.