A few weeks ago I repurposed some great content from Forbes about how marketing and sales must be aligned at all times. It's a great article on the importance on how each part of the organization needs to work together in order to achieve the firm's goals. Historically, marketing and sales have either operated in silos - where one group's success isn't predicated on the other - or they have been at war over strategy and execution in order to determine who holds the higher power position and what is ultimately more important, sales or brand.
I would submit that marketing and sales being on the same page is very important, but depending on the organization it's may be just as important...or even more so...to be aligned with other key areas in the company in order to demonstrate value and meet the mission of the organization. That's not to say that sales alignment for marketers isn't critical - there just may be other parts of your company that are just as important in order to put marketing in the best position to add value.
One of the obvious ones in today's day and age is IT. If your tech group can't be counted on to assist with your marketing properties (websites, CRM, email service, etc.) you chance at being effective with your marketing plans are slim. If you're dependent on the IT team to push things into the market as well as keep the trains running on time, I would suggest working to take that out of their hands. With today's tools marketers can do this easier than ever and with little strain or impact on IT provided the right structure is in place. Getting all those things in order with IT will help you be more efficient and effective.
Finance is always another group to consider for marketers. They were always important for making sure we had money to do the things we wanted to do, but they are becoming more important to marketing as we begin to focus on return on investment. They hold the cards in that game and you need to make sure your thoughts and plans for measuring and delivering ROI meet their ideas because if you don't agree I can pretty much guarantee finance will win any battle in that arena, leaving you with egg on your face and in scramble mode to justify all you are doing.
The last one I'll highlight is operations. If your company has an operations team that help get the field teams what they need you will need to be joined at the hip with them on execution. It's great when there is even a bit of blurred line between the two groups. Some of my marketing teams worked so closely with operations that we took over things for them and they assisted us in making what we pushed out even better. This will go a long way in creating the kind of alignment marketing needs within the company.
At the end of the day we all want to do marketing stuff, but if you're doing it within a company of any size you have to think about the interactivity between departments and how the power constructs work in order to do what's required to get your goals met. It's not always fun playing politics and hopefully you can get things done with little selling of your soul, but think about how the other departments in your organization play into marketing's success and work to create alignment that will help you and the company be successful.