I recently had the chance to speak with @DonaldCKelly (The Sales Evangelist) on his podcast about how salespeople can benefit from better alignment with their marketing colleagues. It was a great conversation to address the challenges of selling in B2B today. There are many. What I share with people is simply that Sales and Marketing can no longer survive without each other. People need to stop being selfish and only worried about their small piece of the organization and realize that a rising tide lifts all boats - also known as Togetherness. We also got the chance to talk about why I founded The Sales and Marketing Alignment Summit.
Highlights from our conversation:
The goals of the Sales and Marketing Alignment Summit:
- Create a community of sales and marketing professionals focused on growth through better alignment
- Find and curate the best content for the community
- Foster collaboration to facilitate meaning change for businesses of all sizes
Factors behind the tension between sales and marketing:
- Not data-driven
Many companies look at metrics but are not data-driven. You can generate revenue and not realize you’re losing money because of missed opportunities.
- Leadership aspect
If you have a person that comes from sales, you tend to have a sales-driven organization. If you have somebody that comes from marketing, you tend to have a marketing-driven organization. Because the skill sets are very different, it’s difficult to balance the two unless you have an executive team that has experience from both sides.
Sell to Sales!
Sell ideas, concepts, and strategies to sales people when you want them to do something different.
Communicate with sales the reason you’re doing this, why they should care, and how is it going to help them reach their sales goals and make money.
All organizations should be sales-driven and it’s up to leadership to sell the unique attributes that marketing brings to them and how it can make their life easier so they can close more business.
Account-based marketing is an essential component to overall high-level strategies which can fall into three buckets:
- Take a system approach (versus a functional approach).
Instead of looking at sales as sales and marketing as marketing, look at it from the viewpoint of the customer - they don't know the difference. Start talking about customer journeys and look at it holistically as to how best to engage potential customer so you get the outcome you want.
- Have a formal feedback loop.
Build, measure, learn. Have that continuous conversation between the two so that marketing can iterate strategies and put the best out there for the market.
- Focus on shared goals.
In a lot of sales organizations, sales and marketing don’t have the same goals. Regardless of sales or marketing, your primary metric should be, are you hitting revenue? If not, why not?
Metrics you should pay attention to:
- Are you reaching your target revenue?
- Correlate to the sales funnel (ex. marketing qualified leads, total lead volume)
- Middle of the funnel (ex. servicing metrics around service line agreements)
- Close metrics (ex. close ratio)
- Find out where majority of revenue is coming from to help you understand where you need to share or push your resources.
More strategies to bridge the gap between sales and marketing:
- Raise the conversation from tactical B2B technology to fundamentally changing the way sales and marketing see themselves and the way they interact.
- Move them from being independent warriors to really seeing each other as allies and a source of strength.
- Convince salespeople that marketing is an asset to them and can help them do their job easier.
- Change the focus in your conversations to:
“How does what you’re doing today affect your colleagues?”
“How can you move toward collectively attaining more revenue?”
Sales and marketing in startups:
In startups, you become both sales and marketing.
You have to learn two completely different disciplines and understand when to apply which. It depends on where your customer is throughout their customer journey.
You have to morph back and forth between two things that are fundamentally different in their objective.
Information: Your Competitive Advantage
Get information on these three and it will keep you ahead.
Revenue fixes all problems. At the end of the day, focus on revenue and it will tell you the story and what you need to do.