In their 1997 book “The Power of Alignment“, Labovitz & Rosansky outlined a number of ideas to help organisations work towards improved alignment. Keep in mind this was back when books were made of paper and weren’t PDF’s that you could download from an iBookstore!
In the closing pages of chapter two “Staying Centred – What is alignment all about?” they summarise with the following questions:
- “How aligned is your company or workgroup?”
- “Is the main thing clear?”
- “Has strategic intent been translated into work that people have been trained or rewarded to do?”
- “Are core processes designed to deliver what customers really want?”
Sixteen years later these principles hold true as a method to validate your attempts at alignment within your organisation. Most recently this has been a conversation I’ve had with customers in the context of the sales and marketing teams.
Perhaps when alignment is achieved between these two groups, an organisation can
reap the greatest benefits. My clients use Eloqua to drive their automated marketing, some in B2C, others B2B and some B2P.
Regardless of how “successful” marketing is with their various campaigns, the real measurement of success generally comes down to sales hitting their number, which is a number that should really be owned by the entire organisation.
What is the “Main Thing”?
To help you uncover the “main thing”, Labovitz & Rosansky provide the following template:
“The main thing for the organisation as a whole must be a unifying and common concept to which every [business] unit can contribute”
“Each Department and team must be able to see a direct relationship between what it does and this overarching goal”
“The Main thing must be clear and easy to understand, consistent with the strategy of the organisation, and actionable by every group and individual”
When I talk alignment between sales and marketing it’s about communication between the two teams. The communication begins with the definition of a lead or more specifically a marketing qualified lead and a sales qualified lead. Two very different things.
When sales provide marketing with a profile of the buyer they know moves through to being a customer and is then married with the research marketing has in place, great things can happen. Better marketing qualified leads are delivered to sales and less leads are rejected by sales.
Through measurement and constant feedback, marketing can “sharpen the saw” (Covey) and constantly improve the leads delivered. With products like Eloqua integrated into the CRM, sales have a level of insight not previously available to them.