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Posted by Jeff Ernst on January 27, 2011
As I watched the coverage of the president's State of the Union Address this week, I was thinking about how our two political parties present a good analogy to the challenges that marketing and sales teams have in aligning. Democrats and Republicans have deeply-rooted differences . . . they have strong opinions . . . they stand their ground . . . they point fingers across the aisle and blame the other side for everything that's wrong with our country. And occasionally one of them switches to the other side if it advances their career. Sound familiar?
Forrester's CMO Group members have been working with the research team to dig into this age-old issue of misalignment. They told us that they have a hard time applying the traditional guidance and wanted us to find the real obstacles to alignment as well as gather examples of things people have done that have been effective in bringing the two teams closer together.
So we surveyed sales and marketing leaders and were not surprised at all to find that companies are still struggling with this chasm. But the biggest surprise we got is that the current efforts to align the two teams mostly center around having sales and marketing people attend each other's meetings. While this is good for increasing information flow between the teams, it is not enough to gain alignment. Sales and marketing teams need a common design point. They need to align their efforts around the customer's needs and the problem-solving process they go through to address those needs.
Learn more about our Buyer-Led Alignment Framework by reading my latest report, "B2B Sales And Marketing Alignment Starts With The Customer."
I fully recognize that it is extremely difficult to focus on the customer, given the constant sales pressure to bring in revenue in the current quarter at any cost. How are you dealing with this need to balance doing the right thing when the sales team demands immediacy?
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