I had the pleasure of speaking at and attending a Sales Enablement Society (SES) meeting recently. SES is an international organization that is dedicated to increasing the visibility of the Sales Enablement function in the organization as well as more acutely defining it's scope and relevancy in moving the company toward better alignment. It's exciting to see more people add to the conversation of how we can better align Sales and Marketing to drive revenue - so I couldn't be happier to be involved with them.
I was able to share some research that I conducted as well as a recent article published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) titled "How Aligned is Your Organization?". In my presentation I talked about some of the many reasons that sales and marketing professionals thought there was a "disconnect" when it came to working with their counterparts. Some of the reasons I received from the survey I conducted were:
Reasons for Misalignment
- Goal misalignment between Sales and Marketing
- Marketing and Sales don't really have an idea of what the other does on a daily basis
- Management taking a functional approach instead of a system approach to achieve business goals
- No established feedback loop to allow Sales and Marketing to iterate strategies based on customer feedback
- Marketing not understanding the need for Sales to establish and maintain long-term relationships with customers
- Marketing superiority, Sales pride
HBR takes the conversation up a notch and talks about the reasons for enterprise misalignment. The reason I share this information is that I want to continue to encourage us as leaders to raise the level of the conversation so that we can begin to develop frameworks that help us think more strategically and really move the organization forward in a thoughtful way. In addition, I think it will be these types of educated and informed conversations that will be able to get the attention of the CEO and get him/her to take action. HBR's reasons for enterprise misalignment included the following:
- Enterprise leaders are unaware of the risks of misalignment.
- Nobody “owns” enterprise alignment.
- Complexity makes enterprise alignment that much harder.
- Activity is mistaken for progress.
Beyond my presentation there was great conversation from some very passionate and knowledgable folks. Below are some of my key takeaways for the evening.
- The new selling ABC stands for "Always be Curious" when engaging prospects
- Sales Enablement is critical to both organizational culture as well as sales culture
- Culture is the way people in the organization think, act and interact
- Encouraging a culture that allows new ideas to breathe longer is the only way to stay competitive and agile as an organization.
I look forward to future Sales Enablement Society meetings and hope to have the chance to have more passionate conversations about how to move the organization toward better alignment. If interested in engaging more on this topic with your colleaagues and peers, make sure to check out their upcoming national conference in Dallas on 10/25 - Sales Enablement 2017