The Importance of Aligning Sales with Marketing

Hazel Butters: Sales CoachFor 18 years I’ve worked with businesses of all sizes to help them realize their key objectives and entrepreneurial goals.  From one-person startups searching for funding to global leaders that want to maximize sales, shorten the sales cycle and have a bigger impact; I’ve worked the full spectrum. No matter the size of the business, though, companies may be on the brink of marketing-self-sabotage — where marketing initiatives undermine or delay sales — and they don’t even know it.

A common misconception is that the ‘Sales and Marketing’ team is just that – one team. The false-combining of these two departments into one has always baffled me. The skillsets held by the sales team differs drastically from those leading the marketing efforts. While there is a mutual responsibility between the two groups to grow revenue and boost sales; their approaches won’t look the same and, sadly, sometimes their goals aren’t aligned.

In the worst-case scenario these miscommunications delay company growth, waste valuable budget dollars – and can even create animosity between the two departments.

During April, I’ll be sharing a series of blog posts on some of the best-practices I’ve worked to implement with businesses to maximize – and align – sales and marketing goals.

Gleeful challenges of running a business

Running a business has its challenges.Running a business

What’s interesting is how – and when – other people point them out to you. When I started my first business, people would tell me “the first year is the hardest.” Then, when we opened offices on the other side of the Atlantic, others said, “Running a trans-Atlantic team is hard.” Then we changed our business model. Some shook their heads and said, “You can’t just change your business, you should stick with what has worked so far.”

The fact is that running a business is always a challenge, but that’s why we do it. We want to see what we can do and how we can do things differently. I admit to having a total sense of glee over working for myself – even on days that do bring challenges. One of the elements that fascinates me about running my own company is seeing how I will react to new situations; I’ve learned so much about myself, how I react to challenges, and how resourceful I can be when pressed.

We’re not all perfect. When the economic downturn hit in 2009-2010, our business specialized in early-stage technology companies with a roster that almost disappeared overnight. We signed a lease for a San Francisco office just as Lehman Brothers was packing up at its location. “Why didn’t I act quicker?” was my lament. For a number of months, I blamed myself – you’d swear that I was single-handedly responsible for the credit crunch. Meanwhile, friends would simply ask: “Can’t you get a job?” as if the reason I didn’t seek employment was due to a lack of skills or job openings, instead of a steadfast refusal to consider such a move.

I feel blessed to work for myself – and I love business, helping people and what I do. If I didn’t, I can change it – because I can. Like I said, gleeful challenges – I wouldn’t have it any other way.