A lot of people have been talking about marketing and sales alignment for awhile. I was particularly impressed with a recent post over at The Social CMO. It featured experts like Ardath Albee, Brian Carroll, and others. I couldn’t agree with them more!
However, I’d like to adopt a slightly different view. Sure, marketing and sales efforts should be aligned, but if your customers' actual experiences with your product or service aren't aligned with the marketing and sales promises they receive, your organization faces a larger alignment problem. Put simply, the marketing, sales, and service arms of your organization should all aligned so that prospects and customers have a consistent experience. Here’s what I mean:
Consider a car dealer who advertises high-quality service by assuring that car repairs will be done correctly, the first time, every time. I bet he really believes that’s going to be the case. And let's say you buy a car from him and get a repair. If your experience doesn't turn out to be what was promised, you’re left with a bad taste in your mouth. Your service experience wasn't aligned with the marketing and sales promises you received.
This whole issue centers around the words promise, expectation, and experience. Your prospects and customers receive a promise concerning…
And that promise quickly becomes an expectation about the upcoming sales and service experiences. For example, the car dealership’s marketing promise might be, “We’re the no hassle, easy-to-deal-with car dealership.” You then expect that level of treatment. However, if the sales experience actually involves being hassled, or the service experience is unpleasant, the organization isn't in alignment.
My point is that marketing and sales alignment are only part of the story (an important part, of course), but organizations also need to ensure their customers’ service experiences are consistent with marketing and sales promises.
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