According to our benchmark study of 1,400 businesses, one in three of them places alignment between the sales department and the marketing department as the No. 1 priority. Measurement makes a surprising contribution.

The study, conducted by in co-operation with United States-based online publishing company, showed that those businesses which had achieved marketing-sales alignment were significantly more successful than their competitors.

Those businesses with the greatest degree of alignment were:

  • Growing 5.4 per cent faster than their less-aligned counterparts when compared with businesses within the same industry.

  • Closing 38 per cent more proposals than non-aligned businesses.

  • Losing 36 per cent fewer customers to competitors. Customer churn is a problem for many businesses. The best-aligned businesses are better at keeping their customers than their laggard counterparts.

The study identifies some “dos” and “don’ts”:

  1. Do measure the sales department on how well it uses leads. There’s nothing more frustrating for marketers than leads that leak before they even begin their journey through the funnel. Aligned businesses are measuring (and rewarding) salespeople on the proportion of leads that result in a first meeting. They are also measuring how many of those meetings result in a proposal being put to the prospect. It’s all about progression.

  2. Do measure the marketing department on the quality of its leads. In winning companies, marketing people get measured on the conversion of leads to meetings. If the leads that Marketing generates for Sales are of a poor quality, they both lose.

Marketing also gets measured by these aligned businesses on the conversion of proposals to sales. I can hear you asking, “But surely Marketing has limited influence on how many proposals get accepted?”

Not really. Marketing needs to be identifying leads from high-yield areas of the market. If the marketing experts are generating leads from a low-yield market, or setting up meetings from prospects not ready or able to buy, then the salespeople are wasting their time.

  1. Don’t measure salespeople on proposals closed. Marketing is more likely to get measured on propose-to-close in well-aligned businesses than in poorly aligned ones. This is because salespeople dont need to be told (or measured on) how to close, but Marketing needs to be generating leads from markets with the highest closure rate.

The benchmarking data collected from 60 detailed questions asked of 1,400 businesses will undoubtedly inform many of our future Funnel Vision articles. The full findings from this benchmarking study into alignment are available to clients of