An Executive’s Guide to Sales and Marketing Alignment

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As we learned in part one of our podcast with Rom LaPointe, founder and CEO of Capricorn Leadership, cultivating a healthy company culture is critical for any C-suite leader seeking consistent company success. But there’s another important piece of the success puzzle executives must focus on as well: sales and marketing alignment.

While it’s an often thrown around phrase, it’s not one that consistently finds its place in most companies. According to a recent LinkedIn study, 87% of sales and marketing leaders believe in the importance of sales and marketing collaboration, i.e., sales and marketing alignment. In fact, they even claim that sales and marketing alignment is required for critical growth. But, here’s where it gets interesting: 90% of the very same group of people further responded that their sales and marketing teams are misaligned.

So, what is the best way to align sales and marketing?

It may come as a surprise, but the best way to align sales and marketing isn’t forcing them to focus on each other. Rather, it’s to have both departments align around your customer. When sales and marketing are both focused around the needs of the buyer, they not only provide more value to your clients, but they also naturally align.

Sales and marketing alignment also leads to a company being more efficient. It's important for executives to remember that even though the two departments are meant to be connected, they serve very different functions from a structural perspective. Sales teams are typically focused on more of the short-term goals, striving to reach specific sales quotas. Marketing teams are focused more on long-term goals and investments into the brand and nurturing the potential buyer group. On this note, marketing is often misunderstood at the executive level. As LaPointe shares, marketing is often viewed as simply tactical when, in fact, it touches every aspect of the brand and its message:

Everything we do in our business is marketing. Our brand is everything we do: how we build the product or service, how we deliver it, how we talk about it. I think of marketing in that sense. Usually what’s thought of as marketing are the tactical things: the way we get some of our messages out to the universe and tracking those things.

A common misconception about sales and marketing alignment is that it should come with what LaPointe refers to as structural alignment with the same person leading both groups. Yet, this scenario doesn’t work. According to LaPointe, when one person holds both the marketing and the sales seat, “usually that becomes more of a sales organization with some support from marketing.” To achieve real results, each department requires its own leader. LaPointe suggests doing so with smaller, autonomous teams that focus on both sales and marketing, which ensures the teams will stay interconnected.

In working hand-in-hand with the sales team, the CMO’s role also includes communicating financial and strategic value to the executive leadership team. Often, CFOs are very transactional, solely looking at the financial aspect of the company versus strategic expenses that are crucial for long-term growth. There’s perhaps no better person at the table to bring that to the attention of the executive team than the CMO, who is equipped with the insight and data to illustrate the value marketing can deliver. Marketing’s value extends well beyond the software being used or the number of posts made each day; its worth is measurable, and it’s a metric that the CMO should keep in front of the executive team that values dollars in hand and instant gratification. 


Our podcast, The Centricity Podcast, is dedicated to helping small and mid-market businesses thrive and develop the sales and marketing acumen to move the needle. Tune into part two of our episode with Rom LaPointe to learn more about aligning sales and marketing.




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