The #1 Cause of Sales & Marketing Misalignment (and How to Get Back on Track)

Picture this: Marketing sends a campaign email to a prospect sales has already engaged. Meanwhile, sales begins using a talk track that’s completely off-the-mark because they didn’t have the right information on hand. We’ve all been there, and it doesn’t end well.

The age-old cliche of sales and marketing butting heads is all too real. It shows up in almost every organization in some form or another, regardless of how well-integrated the two teams are and how much they actually respect one another.

The Truth About Sales & Marketing Misalignment

The truth is, misalignment can exist in any organization. It starts to creep up when people’s goals and personal motivations differ, even in the slightest. And it gets exacerbated when their activities and day-to-day tasks become completely different.

Unfortunately, this type of misalignment across sales and marketing results in far more than eye-rolls and frustrated comments coming from one department toward the other. It can have real consequences that affect the health of the company, including a negative impact on revenue growth. According to HubSpot, sales and marketing misalignment can lead to decreased productivity and wasted effort, costing companies as much as $1 trillion a year.

Conversely, getting the sales and marketing relationship back on track can remedy those losses and then some. HBR finds that “when sales and marketing work well together, companies see substantial improvement on performance metrics: Sales cycles are shorter, market-entry costs go down and the cost of sales is lower.”

What Causes Sales & Marketing Misalignment?

From our own experience and conversations with sales and marketing leaders, we’ve found that misalignment between sales and marketing mainly comes down to blindspots driven by bad data living in the variety of tools each team uses.

With the situation framed in this way, it’s easy to see why sales and marketing misalignment occurs so often. Each team works in entirely different tools -- a CRM system for sales reps, an outbound cadence tool for SDRs and a marketing automation program for marketing users -- and each of those tools pulls on data from different sources and creates data in different ways. All those differences are bound to create errors and disparities in data, which can lead even the most well-integrated teams off track.

What’s the Solution to Repairing Sales & Marketing Alignment?

Given that the cause of sales and marketing misalignment is bad data across a variety of toolsets, the solution to this problem is to unify the tech stack.

Unifying the tech stack allows the applications that both teams use to “talk to each other” in a programmatic, automated way to eliminate differences across systems.

The best way to accomplish this goal is to create a single source of truth by implementing a customer data platform__ like Hull, and allowing the rules you set in the CDP to guide both marketing programs and sales outreach efforts.

Consider how a CDP can help alleviate issues in the following scenario:

Matty the Marketer wants to send a webinar invite to his company’s prospect database, so he creates a segment in his marketing automation tool that pulls all current prospects into a list. He wants to personalize the email, so he decides to send it with the account owner or sales rep as the sender. The email goes to prospects and Matty is pleased.

Five minutes later, Sammy the Sales Rep storms over to Matty’s desk to tell Matty that one of her engaged prospects received the personalized webinar invite only minutes after Sammy sent an email about contract negotiations. Sammy is upset because the webinar invite with her name on it seems out of place.

While it’s unlikely that the webinar invite would have derailed the deal entirely, those types of communication mishaps don’t need to happen. By taking the data that normally sits in CRM, outbound cadence and marketing automation tools and unifying it in a CDP, Matty could have easily seen that Sammy’s prospect was (a) indeed in a sales pipeline opportunity and (b) emailed by Sammy mere minutes ago. Armed with this complete information, Matty would have suppressed the prospect (and other, similar prospects) from the webinar invite, avoiding the problem altogether.

It’s Time to Get Sales & Marketing Back on Track

Sales and marketing misalignment can have severe consequences on revenue and operating costs. Most often, bad (or a lack of) data in the disparate tools each team uses is the major culprit of this misalignment.

Fortunately, there is a solution. The answer lies in unifying the tech stack to ensure everyone has the same data and can access the most up-to-date information at any time. Tools like CDPs accomplish this goal in a scalable, flexible way without creating an IT headache; they put the power of data directly in the hands of even the most non-technical users to help the relationship between sales and marketing get back on track.

Stefan Koenig

Stefan is the Co-Founder and COO of Hull.