Alignment of Marketing and Sales

Written by: Nimish Danani
About the author: Director at Hitachi Vantara



Sales v/s Marketing?

By industry definition; sales has to sell and getting numbers is their KRA; getting more profitable business is Sales KRA. Marketing on the other side is responsible to create that demand, the hype and the pull for enabling sales. So who calls the final shots? Who is more powerful? Marketing or Sales?

An Expectation of sorts

Marketing expects sales will give them all the credit for their success viz. improved revenue and profitability to Marketing and the reason for failure as “their inability” to sell effectively. Sales expects marketing will build the brand so strong that customers will queue up to buy the product.  Marketing will ensure that we get 100% “qualified leads” that will help sales guys to close more deals. This is true in every situation whether its BFSI, FMCG, Automotive, IT or Consulting.

Marketing is supposed to be the more glamorous role of sorts with “corporate” location and functions; while sales is the classical “feet on street” role where you meet real people and real consumers.

To align or not?

Sales is typically looking for qualified lead gen and which is just one of the objective of marketing. It is essential to align on the objectives between the team. Overall branding may not help sales to get short term increase in leads or deals, but tactical marketing or promotions do help sales team drive the spurt in lead gen. If sales has to deliver the numbers, we definitely need marketing to support the journey. Marketing could support by ensuring right communication is sent out via the right channel to the right customer. Traditionally ATL/BTL channels have paved the way for branding the lead gen; in today’s time and more so post Covid the trend is more towards “hyper-personalised” marketing using digital tools. Today we tend to target a specific consumer based on his past, present and future aspirations and hit the advertisement just when he is thinking about his next purchase where it’s a shirt or a car or a watch or a mobile phone or a house.  Advances in technology have changed the complete game of marketing.

One cannot live without the other if we want to win in the marketplace. To sell successfully, marketing needs to help you create your brand, the pitch, the differentiator and the storyline to create the pull.

Key take away

Alignment at the top is a must. All marketing team members should have met customer, done some profiling heard some cold calls to really understand what the sales guys conversation is about. How does a sales guy go about meeting new prospects, what does he communicate, follow up and the kind of questions they encounter? All of this is essential for a marketeer to bear in mind while preparing a promotion, branding, marketing plan. In my own career, I started at marketing and when I went on my first sales meeting that gave me a different perspective, facing a customer and especially a “dis-satisfied one”. Then, when we go back to a marketing hat, we tweak our approach and communication to factor those experiences. When you are in front of the customer what you say speaks for the organisation – you could either make the deal or push away the customer.  One side the deal closure pressure and on one side “be careful” of what you agree to and this all is in real-time thinking on foot.

Try marketing a product with a sales guy’s hat and with an objective which is aligned; you will succeed.  On the other side, try selling in the marketing lingo; you will impress more and succeed more.

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