Your so-called ‘sizzling hot leads’ are either unqualified, unresponsive or uninterested. And the rare bluebirds we get scarcely recall seeing your ‘orchestrated mix of tactics’.
Now back off and let me do my job, dammit.”
The awful truth about Marketing & Sales Alignment
A bit over the top? Yes, absolutely. But the awful truth is that the relationship between Sales and Marketing today is still defined by a mutual lack of understanding. Add several missed quarters plus the ensuing blame game and cooperation becomes very difficult.
Yet cooperation between Sales and Marketing is the key for driving revenue. Accordingly we’ll all need to get over ourselves and make alignment happen. The buzz around the topic just shows how many B2B companies are catching on to this truth. So act now, or risk getting left behind.
What Marketing needs to change
Our attitude. That’s what needs to change.
It’s not our job to toss leads over the fence. What we need to deliver are qualified leads that have a high probability of turning into revenue.
Our responsibility doesn’t end with ‘the lead’ either. It’s not enough to deliver a lead, even a qualified one. It’s our job to arm the Sales rep as best we can with the knowledge needed for a great follow-up. (I’ll go into just what that is in a future post)
Consequently we also need to take ownership of the process that delivers that knowledge and make sure that Marketing systems relay all the necessary information and the Sales systems display that information in a meaningful way.
Yes, you heard me right. Marketing needs to take ownership of that. It’s not good enough to leave Sales Operations and/or Sales Enablement to fend for themselves. We need to step in and ensure that Reps can make sense of the Marketing information.
And finally, Marketing needs to make the first move and Marketing needs to sustain the effort. Sales will always be preoccupied with closing. Marketing has more scope to take a long view.
What Sales needs to change
Firstly, stop asking for more leads. You don’t need more leads. More leads will only serve to kill Sales productivity. What you need are more qualified leads. Ask for those. And if your organization doesn’t have a definition for a qualified lead yet: Request that it be defined and get involved in the process.
And please, can you align back? Yes, you need to be closing deals and yes, you need to spend time on the phone. Yet if you tune out the Marketing updates and your idea of qualified feedback is ‘The leads are crap’ you’ll be missing out on your #1 opportunity for exceeding your quota: better leads. Aligning back to Marketing and providing intelligible feedback will improve lead quality.
Lastly, improve your follow-up. Content Marketing is here to stay. You’ll always need more sales-ready leads than Marketing can deliver. Don’t just wait for the bluebirds and dismiss the rest. Develop qualified leads into sales-ready leads. Automated nurturing is great, but a human touch is way better at turning prospects into buyers.
Why this is worth it
There’s more revenue to be had this way, but that’s not why investing into Sales & Marketing Alignment is worth it.
The real reason is this: It’s more fun.
If you’re in Marketing, being more closely aligned to Sales, you’ll exchange being accused for poor quality leads with being thanked for listening. Being appreciated you’ll both feel better and like your Sales team more. Hopefully only the beginning of a virtuous circle.
As a Sales Rep you’ll get a better sense of the big picture - the why, what and how of what Marketing does. You’re suddenly being heard and the changes you help bring about start to make a difference. You’re empowered. And being empowered is more fun than being the lone warrior.
What’s your take?
What’s your personal opinion about Marketing & Sales alignment and what’s your experience so far? Let me know in the comments below!
About the Author
I’m a B2B marketer with a bit of a crush on digital marketing. I own and run this blog and the whitepaper download portal attached to it.
PS: I also head up the Demand Generation team of Citrix’ Online Services Division in Europe, but this blog is based on my own personal experience and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the company.