Much is written these days about demand generation alignment and what sales needs from marketing to be successful.  But there is actually a very important third side to that relationship, the chief executive officer.  What CEO’s need from sales and marketing represents the company’s needs as a whole: quite simply the revenues to continue operating and growing the firm.

Imagine the disappointing results companies would see at the end of a year if these three areas were not in alignment?  It’s how companies missing this critical connection actually try to function!

  • Sales sells to sectors, markets and companies they arbitrarily chose on their own.
  • Marketing creates campaigns and delivers messaging to audiences sales isn’t interested in.
  • The CEO keeps the company’s strategic plan in a filing drawer, hidden from the functional leaders responsible for executing it.

We find keeping it simple helps the CEO’s, Sales Leaders and Marketing Executives we work with achieve this critical alignment.  Here’s a checklist we use to help them get started.

What CEO’s should expect from sales leadership:

  • Mange their sales team to consistently “make the number
  • Define and execute a sales strategy aligned with company goals
  • Commitment to a sales process that the C-Team understands, trusts and can measure
  • Alignment with marketing on lead creation responsibility and goals
  • A “sales investment plan” to ensure continued improvement in win rates, sale revenue growth and individual productivity

What Sales Leaders need to make the number:

  • Properly structured, market competitive sales team and incentive plan that motivates the right behaviors
  • Defined sales process, supported across the organization
  • Clearly defined expectations and leadership cadence
  • Consistent, qualified lead flow to sustain targeted win rates

What marketing leaders must do to help sales:

  • Total alignment with company and sales strategy, selling process, and pipeline goals
  • Connect marketing bonuses and incentives to sales’ lead requirements
  • Apply lead generation and nurturing best practices to creating qualified opportunities for the sales pipeline
  • Feed the sales intelligence / knowledge management system with actionable information

In this three sided relationship, each role’s unique needs define the deliverables of the next.  CEO’s, by setting company strategy and revenue requirements, establish the financial goals and growth areas for sales.  Sales leaders translate those goals and expectations into tactical sales plans and quotas, which in turn define the results marketing must achieve from their campaigns and programs.  Finally, marketing provides market insight and information back to the CEO and sales leadership – to help them adjust their go-to-market strategy.