We began with a hypothesis – alignment is about the buyer

The Leaky Funnel is a book about sales and marketing alignment authored by align.me’s CEO Hugh Macfarlane.

This is written as a business novel, and is packed with key arguments for a major change in the way businesses align their combined Sales and Marketing functions.

The central argument, that the way businesses should align around the buyers’ process – not the seller’s – is based on Hugh’s 20 years-plus experience in working with and advising investors, Boards, CEOs, Directors of Sales or Marketing, and other senior managers with products or services that are complex to sell.

The new sales and marketing framework proposed in this book has now been well proven by leading businesses as a means of accelerating the effectiveness of their efforts to earn more customers.

Leaky Funnel - A book for sales and marketing professionals

Validated in 2004. Alignment = growth

Sales and marketing alignment is one of the main issues faced by business-to-business (B2B) companies worldwide. In 2005 we published our first report into alignment, produced in 2004 in partnership with Eloqua. In align.me a study of 1400 professionals from 84 countries we found that businesses which enjoy strong Sales and Marketing alignment are:

  • Outgrowing their competitors by 5.4%
  • 38% better at closing proposals
  • Churning 36% fewer customers each year

Sales and Marketing are often on different planets. Sales asks Marketing to do more advertising and run more events. Marketing thinks that Sales is out to lunch and fails to capitalise on all their hard work. Senior management says they have to align; so they swap staff and try to be friends. Unfortunately, simply being nice to each other is not the solution to gaining Sales and Marketing alignment.

So what do you align them to, and how do you do it? You need an approach to alignment which:

  • Aligns Sales and Marketing to the buyer (not each other);
  • Creates an agreed and end-to-end process that outlines how each will operate; and
  • Builds a common language and shared outcomes, strategies, processes and measures.

Alignment requires a complete sales and marketing planning solution. In 2013 we updated our research and found many new twists in the tale published in a new report in 2014.

Updated in 2014

In late 2013, we teamed up with Marketo to study the Sales and Marketing alignment practices of over 500 companies. Our 2005 research shaped the alignment debate around the world. What we learned in 2013 rocked us all again! We reveal unexpected findings and employ you with techniques that deliver:

  • 67% higher probability that marketing-generated leads will close,
  • 108% better lead acceptance, and
  • 209% stronger contribution to revenue from marketing-generated leads.
2014 Sales and Marketing Alignment Report

Top 10 Findings from the 2014 Sales and Marketing Alignment Webinar

In this webinar, align.me founder, Hugh Macfarlane, shares the ten most compelling and statistically valid findings from this exciting study.

Produced with Marketo, in this webinar Hugh reveals the key insights from the 2013 research in to Sales and Marketing Alignment. Based on data from more than 420 sales and marketing leaders from 28 countries, the findings reveal why and how aligned companies are outperforming their non-aligned competitors by more than 200%.

Sales funnel management resources - Webinar