What is Sales and Marketing Alignment?

Posted by Leisa Redmon | May 18, 2021


Historically speaking, businesses have often operated their marketing and sales teams in separate silos, with both departments working independently of one another, with their own leadership, goals, strategies, and processes.

Marketing teams usually had their own means of generating leads for their sales team, while the sales team had their own process for identifying qualified leads and trying to turn them into customers. 

While this type of organization might have worked in the past, it’s no longer a recipe for success with today’s climate and customers.

In fact, building an airtight relationship between sales and marketing teams is crucial for the success of many 21st century businesses. 

Defining sales and marketing alignment

Aligning both marketing and sales (a.k.a “smarketing”) within your business allows both teams to share the same goals and objectives, all based around the purpose of generating revenue. 

This mutual participation in accordance with a singular target creates an atmosphere of encouragement and assistance.

Your sales team influences the types of leads marketing works to attract and the content they use to do so. Marketing communicates data and analytics to sales, along with sharing content, resources, and information about qualified leads.

Essentially, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, because the two teams own success and failure, together. 

Benefits of sales and marketing alignment

Sales and marketing alignment is really about the customer.  


When a new customer blends in seamlessly with your sales and marketing cycles, they are left with an extremely valuable experience with your brand, which in turn, can result in repeat growth and a reduced cost of acquisition for your organization.

More benefits of aligning your teams within your organization include: 

  • Fewer missed opportunities. When sales and marketing are not working under a common goal, the potential for valuable leads to fall through the cracks grows dramatically. (For example, a lead can be turned off from your brand if they are handed off to a sales rep who hasn’t been informed about the lead’s status within the sales cycle.) 

By aligning sales and marketing, opportunities are capitalized on instead of lost.

  • Better use of people and resources. Aligning marketing and sales allows you to better use the tools and resources you already have. Instead of paying for separate software, both teams could use a CRM tool like HubSpot or Marketo. You might even find that the two teams can share the value of certain positions, such as a graphic designer or someone who specializes in analyzing data. 
  • Stronger, more confident teams. Let’s just say it: It is virtually impossible to align sales and marketing without creating clear strategies, processes, and a plan for communicating information about leads. Baking in a foundation of trust and accountability amongst your teams results in a stronger more confident organization as a whole. 

3 steps to align sales and marketing

Aligning your sales and marketing teams will not happen overnight. But, here are some ways to begin the process. 

  1. Create and identify buyer personas. We cannot stress this enough. Banding together to create comprehensive buyer personas always pays off dividends for your business. When personas differ between teams, the messaging that could be targeted to your audience weakens and your business immediately loses the power that can be packed in one fell swoop. Bottom line, you’re wasting precious time and resources.

    By aligning your buyer personas between both teams, your:
    • Marketing team knows what to write, who to write to, and where to place that content to deliver the highest ROI
    • Sales team understands the particular pain points the personas have and how to communicate the ways your brand can solve them.
  2. Create shared goals and objectives. Create-shared-goals-and-objectivesAt the end of the day, your marketing and sales teams are working to generate revenue for your business. Make it clear to your teams that they are both working to achieve this goal.
  3. Set up a plan of action between the two teams. After establishing these shared goals, create a plan for the two teams to work together. How will sales influence marketing? How will the marketing team pass on information about leads?
  4. Set up regular meetings and communication. There needs to be a plan and a process in place to discuss goals (and how to progress towards them), create strategies, learn about leads and prospects, and plan the content and resources both teams need to succeed.

    Don’t forget: These meetings also need to serve as a platform for comprehensive post-mortems after losses, as well as a chance to celebrate team and individual victories.

As technology advances and resources grow, customers evolve to become more informed and more empowered than ever before; this means they expect transparency and consistency in their experience with your business.

Aligning your sales and marketing departments is one of the most effective ways to reach today’s customers and grow your business. Without it, your business will have a disjointed customer experience that allows leads to fall through the cracks and results in missed opportunities.

Need help creating buyer personas? Use our free step-by-step tool by clicking the link below.


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