Aligning sales and marketing is an imperative in today’s world of the empowered buyer. There has been much written about aligning around leads…but this is only part of the issue and will lead to trouble down the road if you don’t address the whole issue. These five steps will help marketers get on the road to success in the relationship with sales. Step 1: Tell ‘Em What You’re Going To Do Sales needs to understand marketing plans and forecast so expectations are set correctly on the type of marketing activities you will be conducting and the target audiences being selected to pursue. There needs to be a common understanding of the volume of activity and how they can participate and even initiate marketing activities to drive business and opportunities at outlet or branch level. Without an understanding of your marketing goals and plans, sales will not be able to put together meaningful territory plans. We all know that marketing doesn’t initiate all sales opportunities. Without the forecast and plans, sales will not know how much is expected from their own direct and partner efforts. Step 2: Make Sales a Part of Marketing The roles are blurring as marketing communicates deep into the prospect pipeline and sales should be returning prospects for further nurturing campaigns. This can be a disaster if sales and marketing collide and fall over each other, or it can be a powerful combination if your sales team is empowered to work within the bounds of the marketing plans. This starts with collaborative planning by involving sales personnel in your go-to-market campaign development process. Then, you need to define the guidelines for sales initiating marketing communications and provide a means for sales to return a prospect to marketing for further nurturing. You need to give sales control over how you message to prospects in the sales pipeline and your existing customers by allowing them to select their preferences from a selection of marketing messages. Step 3: Show Them What You Are Doing We discussed the importance of providing visibility to plans and forecasts. You need to provide visibility to a dynamic calendar of activities in marketing. As we all know, marketing’s calendar is constantly changing…new things get added, things get dropped and things move. Your sales team needs an easy way to access the calendar so they know when email campaigns drop, when events are scheduled and when road shows or experiential marketing is taking place. In addition, you should add your sales team to the seed list for your campaigns. This can serve two functions. First, they can provide feedback on the campaign delivery and content and receiving the campaign will serve as an alert that...