Why You Should Combine Sales and Marketing Right Now

A unified growth team with one leader will be more efficient and produce better work.

Written by Jarron Vosburg
Published on Jul. 08, 2024
Why You Should Combine Sales and Marketing Right Now
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Aligned sales and marketing teams are up to 67 percent more efficient at closing deals. Yet a staggering 80 percent of companies still operate with these departments in silos. The teams struggle to communicate. They are at odds. They sometimes even become rivals. 

3 Reasons to Combine Sales and Marketing Teams

  1. Both share the goal of increasing sales.
  2. Sharing growth KPIs will create efficiencies.
  3. Combining the teams will result in better communication.

This setup is not just outdated. It’s harmful. Fragmentation hampers collaboration and can damage financial performance. So, if integration is so critical to business success, why do so many companies resist solving this problem?

The answer lies in complacency — the ease of doing things the way they’ve always been done and an unwillingness to adapt to modern business realities. Making a change though, doesn’t need to be hard. It simply starts with replacing the traditional marketing and sales dichotomy with a holistic focus on growth. Here’s why companies need to make a change and how they can do so.

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Why Siloing Sales and Marketing Kills Growth

Traditionally, marketing teams focus on generating leads while sales teams concentrate on closing deals. This division creates a disconnect in which marketing may generate leads that sales deems unqualified and sales may struggle to convert leads that marketing believes are promising. 

Statistics paint a stark picture: Only 19 percent of organizations have achieved true sales and marketing alignment, according to Strava Technology Group research. This misalignment translates to poor communication, wasted resources and a suboptimal customer experience. When departments are not working toward common goals, the company’s growth suffers. The stubbornness to maintain the status quo is costing businesses more than they realize.


How to Unify Sales and Marketing

To drive business growth effectively, companies should dismantle sales and marketing department labels and create a unified growth team led by a growth leader. 

This team should focus on shared growth key performance indicators (KPIs) rather than separate marketing and sales metrics. This unified approach streamlines efforts and maximizes ROI. Here are key growth KPIs to focus on.

MQL to SAO Conversion Rate

This measures the effectiveness of converting marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to sales accepted opportunities (SAOs). Tracking this metric ensures that your new growth team is aligned in identifying and pursuing high-quality leads.

Qualifying Call to Closed Deal Sales Cycle

This tracks the time it takes to move from an initial qualifying call to closing a deal. Monitoring this cycle helps identify bottlenecks and streamline the process to close deals faster.

Lead Generation Payback Period

A lead generation payback period measures the time it takes for the revenue from new customers to cover the cost of acquiring them. A shorter payback period indicates more efficient and effective lead generation efforts driven by higher average value new customers.

Qualified Opportunity Pipeline

This tracks the number and value of opportunities in the pipeline. This helps forecast future revenue and ensures a steady flow of opportunities to pursue.

Opportunity to Closed Won Conversion Rate

This measures the percentage of opportunities that result in closed deals. Focusing on this metric helps identify and replicate successful strategies to improve conversion rates.


Why Leadership Must Champion This Change

To be successful, alignment on a new, integrated growth strategy absolutely has to start with a clear directive from the CEO and leadership, outlining the strategy and assigning roles. 

Leadership must emphasize that aligned strategies for sales and marketing are efficient and lead to more opportunities. This top-down approach ensures everyone is on the same page. Sales teams need to understand marketing’s role in the sales funnel and the key metrics for success, while marketing teams must adopt sales KPIs and recognize what constitutes a qualified lead. 

Further ReadingClient Acquisition vs. Client Retention: Which Should You Focus On?


Why Teams Must Share Incentives

Companies can also change the way they reward team members. Traditionally, sales teams receive commissions for closed deals while marketing teams look on, wondering how they can share in the success. A bonus pool tied to the ongoing profitability of the growth team ensures that all contributors, regardless of their specific role, share in the team’s success. This bonus pool applies to all support roles that drive growth efficiency, such as operations, for total growth alignment.

A bonus pool tied to the ongoing profitability of the growth team ensures that all contributors, regardless of their specific role, share in the team’s success.

Aligning incentives fosters a culture of fairness, unity, collaboration and mutual support.  Marketing teams become motivated to generate high-quality leads that sales can convert and sales teams are incentivized to provide feedback that helps marketing refine their strategies. This synergy improves performance and enhances job satisfaction and morale across the board.

The benefits of aligning sales and marketing, or eliminating those designations entirely, are clear. Companies that break down the barriers between these departments and adopt a unified growth approach are better positioned to help a business reach its goals. This model improves efficiency and financial performance and creates a more cohesive and motivated team.

The old silos and battleground of sales vs. marketing no longer meet the demands of today’s market. Reorganizing under a single growth leader and focusing on shared growth KPIs lets companies unlock new levels of performance and achieve sustainable growth.

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