Uncover the Path to Sales & Marketing Alignment

So, Marketing & Sales Alignment, yeah? Seems everyone is feeling real warm and fuzzy about this lately.


Let’s not kid ourselves, though. We still hate each other’s guts. Am I right?

The Marketing perspective

I mean, seriously, you Sales guys, you just don’t get it.

Here we are, Marketing’s crowning glory, toiling restlessly to create top-notch content to dazzle, daze and ensnare B2B prospects left and right.

Outsmarting our competitors we orchestrate a complicated mix of inbound and outbound tactics to deliver sizzling hot leads to you guys.
Only to see you cherry-pick what you deem ‘quality’ and then recklessly waste even those chosen few with a horribly careless lead follow-up.

The Sales perspective

“Bah”, I hear our beloved Sales colleagues say. “You marketers are damn fools. Liberally dishing out expert advice to Sales, even though you have not had a single conversation with a real customer.

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.

If you like this post I'd be happy if you'd share it on your favorite social network. Please come seek me out on Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter (@WhitepaperDepot) if you like.

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.


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Welcome. Glad you're here!

I'm a B2B marketer with a bit of a crush on digital channels.

On this blog I talk about how Marketers can use actionable B2B content to drive more leads and revenue.

I hope you'll enjoy reading. If you do, please get in touch. I'd be happy to hear from you.

Daniel

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