The most important partnership driving growth for B2B enterprises is the one between sales and marketing. Partnerships with Customer Success and Product are critical as well for a subscription business (SAAS for example).  But if sales and marketing do not align, the friction can torpedo a company’s growth trajectory.

Part two of this series, I’m focused on what marketers need to understand about sales to better align and execute. Part one was for sales leaders to understand common misconceptions about marketing.

#1 – Sales is laser focused on closing business. Speak their language.

Sales speaks pipeline and forecast

Marketing creates and manages many  programs, campaigns, and details. The shared questions for sales and marketing are:

#2 – Closing deals is challenging. Be empathetic and helpful.

Buyers drive the process. Help sellers help buyers.

  • You need buyer attention around an urgent need without aggravating them.
  • You need to navigate their legal and security processes.
  • Sellers need to help their customers make the case, internally, to buy your offering.

The future of buying is the empathetic sell. Marketers are experts in emotional language and can support sellers with useful resources for buyers to synthesize information and solve the problems the buyers face in the buying process.

#3 – Territory and comp plans are complicated and emotionally charged:


  • It’s not enough to understand the math.
  • You need to know the sellers and strategy to effectively navigate people puzzles.
  • Provide objective data and clear analysis to inform sales operations, revops and sales leaders

#4 – Titles don’t equal alignment

Head of sales + head of marketing = Chief Revenue Officer (“CRO”).  Or maybe Head of sales + head of customer success = Chief Revenue Officer.  Or sometimes Head of sales = Chief Revenue Officer.

  • Currently 85% of “CROs” are heads of sales with bigger titles.
  • It’s not enough. A good CRO should understand both areas.
  • As most companies will have a Head of Sales and a Head of Marketing, prioritizing communication and alignment is paramount. These two leaders need a weekly 1:1 reviewing people, data and trends.

After sales & marketing achieve initial alignment, it will take at least a month before you start to see go-to-market flow. Do the work to ensure sales, marketing and customer success are focused on the same customers and goals.

Check out what Sales Leaders need to know about Marketing.