It is 2012 and that means you have likely read a billion posts about sales vs marketing and making sure they are aligned. Marketers write about this pretty regularly and most of the post sound written by someone that was and never will be in sales.
I have been in both sales and marketing in my career and I will tell you both are hard. Marketing must learn to realize that sales is vital and critical to their lifeblood. Unless, you are in e-commerce and people are buying your product from a shopping cart. Salespeople are still critical to many companies ability to sell a product. However, marketing often gives sales not enough credit. This could be that top sales people often make more than marketers, it could also be that marketing thinks sales should sell more based on leads provide.
My number one word of advice and first thing should be to make your marketing team attempt to sell for a couple days each quarter or at least twice a couple times a year. This can be critical to marketing understanding the questions that are asked by the customers, it also let’s them see that the leads they’re passing to sales aren’t necessarily as “sellable” as they thought.
Try it out and use the information gained to find steps that marketing can help fill. Other things that you can do is creating Sales and Marketing Agreements, and using sales and marketing tools with my favorites being a combination of Salesforce CRM or SugarCrm in conjunction with Hubspot, or Marketo.
These combinations will allow you to close the loop from lead to sale. Understanding what leads are converting to sales is necessary for marketing and sales to truly work together. Check out the tools mentioned and let me know any advice that you have on sales and marketing alignment.