COVID-19 disrupted marketing schedules, customer communications, priorities, and supply chains. Marketing plans have got pushed off the shelves, along with 2020 marketing forecasts.
Even under the best of times, marketing and sales alignment is not simple. Forrester Research suggests that only 8% of companies achieve strong enough sales-marketing alignment. Marketo has claimed that sales-marketing alignment empowers companies to be 67% better at closing deals and generating 209% more revenue from marketing.
In a current Market Connections poll on the COVID-19 impact, 45% of surveyed federal respondents confirmed they’re using webinars frequently to learn about the latest technologies or services. This is followed by 35% of people who are utilizing websites from research firms more heavily. The survey showed substantial increases in the consumption of social media channels and other marketing-led content as well.
By contrast, only 16% have increased their dependence on vendor sales reps. One in three is relying much less frequently on direct communications with designated sales personnel.
In such a situation, sales and marketing alignment is playing a dominant part in ensuring that marketers are creating and distributing content through the relevant channels. Unfortunately, marketing remains one of the first areas to face operating expense cuts in the current economic distress. If sales teams struggle to achieve their target, more marketers will find their jobs at risk, in case they fail to perform at this crucial time when their support is required the most.
In times of unprecedented change, it’s crucial for marketing and sales leaders to set correct expectations and strive for transparent, open, and ongoing communications.
Marketers should understand what’s precisely happening in sales and how it can impact their go-to-market strategies. Everything from territory realignments, channel ecosystem changes delayed product launches, revised sales targets, and adjustments to compensation plans – should be well-discussed between both departments.
Likewise, marketers need to update their sales counterparts on adjustments within the marketing landscape – especially when almost all marketing events have moved online. Sharing real-time updates on digital traffic patterns and customer behaviors have become even more critical than ever.
Alignment requires patience, work, and persistence. But like the COVID-19 face masks, social distancing norms, and infinite personal sacrifices made by all, such alignment will help everyone get through these trying times.
It is important for businesses to make time on the calendar to brainstorm on how organizations can more set realistic expectations, effectively communicate, introduce the latest sales enablement initiatives, and strive to find new opportunities together.