3 Dangers of Sales and Marketing Misalignment

3 Dangers of Sales and Marketing Misalignment

When sales and marketing misalignment plagues your organization, it can have motivational and financial consequences.

Imagine your business spending millions of dollars trying to fix one perceived problem — and it wasn’t even the problem, after all.

Too often, B2B companies fall victim to the dangers of sales and marketing misalignment, often without even being aware that it’s an issue. In fact, a recent study by HubSpot found that only 22% of companies report that their sales and marketing relationship is tightly aligned.

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That’s a big problem. And, recently, four business and marketing professors set out to explore just how bad it is for companies when sales and marketing don’t line up. In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Wendy Ritz, Michelle D. Stewart, Felicia N. Morgan, and Joseph F. Hair, Jr., described their findings from an experiment and interviews, designed to tackle the issue of sales and marketing misalignment, specifically in regard to the pricing of products and sales initiatives.

What’s wrong with sales and marketing misalignment?

The researchers identified three major dangers for businesses when sales and marketing don’t share goals.

Danger 1: Demotivation

A key part of motivation is the belief that a team can achieve its goal. When goals are misaligned, “it reduces the sales force’s perception that they can achieve either goal.”

In turn, the researchers point out that this demoralizing effect can reduce commitment to the organization, in addition to specific goals. In their experiment, they found that “the effect of misaligned goals reduced hope of the salespeople and created a defeatist climate.”

Danger 2: Goals seem insurmountable

Again, the perception that goals can be achieved is crucial. When sales and marketing are misaligned, people are much more likely to view goals as more difficult or even impossible to achieve.

The researchers point out that “while difficult goals are not necessarily problematic, the challenge is when the sales force believes that the misalignment of goals is simply unnecessary, or that the goal combination makes it impossible to be successful.” In other words, if goals don’t line up, you wind up with a sales force who feels defeated immediately.

Danger 3: It’s going to cost you

Remember the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for?” When it comes to sales and marketing misalignment, the highest cost often comes when goals are met.

“To compensate for the mismatch between pricing and sales force compensation goals,” the researchers found, “salespeople may offer additional resources such as free training, free freight, and customized products.” When goals seem insurmountable or counterproductive, sales teams find themselves resorting to desperate measures to get the job done — which can unnecessarily erode profits.

When things go right

According to a recent study by Data Room and Marketo, “Sales and marketing alignment can improve sales efforts at closing deals by 67% and help marketing generate 209% more value from their efforts.”

The survey found that sales teams closely aligned with their marketing counterparts ranked the quality of marketing-sourced leads much higher than those that were rarely aligned or misaligned. The bottom line: sales and marketing teams that are aligned perform better.

Thinking about getting your sales and marketing on the same page? Consider these six ways to boost sales and marketing alignment.

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