Core Process to Align Sales and Marketing

Nancy Anderson
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Occasionally we read a report that sums things up so well that its whole core context bears repeating. In a white paper published by a firm called Inflexion Point, a process of coordinating Sales and Marketing is broken down into seven basic steps:

1. Develop a single unified plan for sales and marketing

Regardless of whether you’ve chosen to manage sales and marketing as two separate teams or as one integrated organization, creating a single, unified plan for sales and marketing brings tremendous advantages in ensuring that everyone is on the same page and facing in the same direction.

2. Insist on an integrated approach to managing the revenue creation cycle It’s becoming increasingly important to manage marketing and sales activities as integrated steps in a revenue creation cycle that spans every stage in the relationship between the vendor and their target markets – from initial research and targeting through prospecting, qualifying, closing and subsequent account development.

3. Agree on a clear service level agreement between sales and marketing Your marketing and sales teams will benefit from agreeing and documenting a clear service level agreement that establishes common definitions for the key stages in the revenue creation cycle, as well as establishing how the two functions commit to work together to move prospects from stage to stage in the process.

4. Establish a common consensus about your “ideal customer profiles” Ensuring that sales and marketing agree about the characteristics of an “ideal prospect” in each of your chosen target markets can help ensure that marketing efforts are targeted at finding more of the right sort of prospects, that sales people qualify accurately and early in the sales cycle, and that every action adds value to the prospect’s buying process.

5. Pursue a relentless focus on data quality across the organization Poor quality data is a key contributor to many underperforming sales and marketing functions. You simply cannot afford incomplete, inaccurate or out of date information - and yet few organizations have developed consistent data quality measures, or have a program for continuous data quality improvement. Data quality must become a critical initiative.

6. Establish performance metrics that span the revenue creation cycle

If they are to accurately predict future revenues, and diagnose and deal with the constraints that may be affecting performance; organizations need accurate visibility of the true state of their sales and marketing pipelines, including typical conversion rates from stage to stage and time-based metrics about how long opportunities take to move through the process.

7. Implement consistent goals, incentives and reward systems Last, but by no means least, every member of the sales and marketing function must be focused and rewarded on the actions and behaviors that will create the greatest value in the revenue creation cycle. This requires a move away from activity-based incentives and towards outcome-based incentives that reflect the true contribution to the greater good.

Well there you go! Sound ideas in easy steps; better get started right away!

You can do this! By K.B. Elliott K. B. Elliott is a freelance writer for Working both sides of sales desks in the Detroit area for over 30 years gives him a unique perspective on the process. To read more of his blogs, please go to, and be sure to check out the postings for jobs in nearly any industry at Nexxt Are you ready for that next job in Professional Services Sales? Find your niche position at

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