How to Drive Sales and Marketing Alignment in an Enablement Role

The COVID crisis has shown us that everything has to do with everything: how we conduct our business, how we interact with potential customers and clients, how we respond to changes, how we live our lives.

And to overcome connection-level alignment, this is necessary.

For example, each measure we take to neutralize the pandemic must be consistent with all other measures to ensure that they all adapt and support each other.

If we look at the global responses to the COVID crisis, we can see that measures in different countries are out of alignment or disproportionate to the challenges that accompany them. The objectives seem to range from not overburdening national health systems to simply controlling the number of infections and various interim responses.

What does this have to do with sales and marketing?

Errors, combined with moving targets, occur every day in the business world

Measuring what we can measure, instead of what we should measure, is a challenge that every sales leader knows.

The marketing actions do not always correspond to the actions carried out in the sale. Sometimes, these different actions are even counterproductive: they block each other and create no value other than to keep everyone busy.

We got used to lowing sales productivity, inefficient lead generation, and below-average winning rates for Las Vegas players. But in the pre-pandemic, these symptoms are covered by a good economy that has enabled organizations to reach their highest numbers without even facing the biggest problems. But even now that companies have reached or increased their first number, how those numbers have been reached has not improved.

One of the main causes of productivity and performance problems is the lack of alignment in terms of vision, strategy, and objectives. This leads to ineffective marketing automation, inconsistent messages throughout the buyer’s journey, interrupted sales processes, and poor process integration between sales and marketing.

Whether you participate in your sales, marketing, or another training initiative, a strategic sales training function, effectively aligned with your business goals and challenges and enhanced by the latest technology, is the foundation for solving your business challenges alignment over time.

Two alignment dimensions: horizontal and vertical

Horizontal alignment

Horizontal alignment refers to the alignment of teams, functions, and processes at a multifunctional level, a prerequisite for effective collaboration. This is the form of attunement that I expected training leaders to focus on because it sounds like child’s play. “Nothing new, I always do.” I hear you.

So why do so many empowerment leaders have a hard time getting it right? Because they are just trying to fix the problem at the operational level.

Horizontal alignment requires vertical alignment to be effective. In other words, horizontal alignment only fails if there is no shared vision of success that all teams can agree on during the buyer’s journey.

Vertical alignment

Vertical alignment means adapting training based on the buyer’s journey, business strategy, stakeholders, and executive sponsors.

This form of attunement is often underestimated and much more difficult to achieve because it requires different skills and is time-consuming.

But vertical alignment, from marketing to sales and services, is critical if you want your training initiative to put your performance needle on the buyer’s journey.

Three Crucial Adjustments for Successful Capacity Building

Let’s take a look at the top three success factors through alignment lenses.

  1. Effective training requires adapting the buyer’s journey

The alignment of the buyer’s journey refers to how your internal sales processes, from marketing to sales and customer success, are coordinated and connected to the buyer’s journey (vertical alignment) and each other (horizontal alignment).

The buyer’s journey to the most relevant sales and purchasing scenarios must be mapped together with customers and supported by customer experience, marketing, sales, and customer success.

These levels of compliance require the training of sponsors and senior management stakeholders to make them a priority and, according to the sales training advisory board or management committee.

This takes us directly to the second critical factor above

  1. Combining business strategy and other strategic initiatives is the key to successful sales training

Alignment with the business and sales strategy (vertical alignment) is the work to be carried out during the creation phase of the qualification period or business plan.

Participation in other strategic initiatives is equally important. One way to do this is to place sales training under a strategic initiative (vertical alignment).

But this method is only useful if the comprehensive initiative is a leading initiative, such as digital transformation. I don’t recommend it if the umbrella is just a CRM initiative. So, it is important to align horizontally with the CRM program.

  1. Effective sales activation requires coordination from senior management and stakeholders

This type of vertical alignment is critical; it means that managers fully understand their role, their goals, and the problems they are trying to solve.

Adjusting and meeting the expectations of senior executives is not the biggest challenge in executive training; is to have access to these drivers. And it requires specific skills – professional sales skills to be precise.

As a training leader, focus on clear and relevant business messages (instead of the programs you want to run) and the difference your strategy makes to your managers’ goals. This is the way to get on the supervisor’s agenda, have meaningful conversations, and adjust to your expectations.