Marketing and sales, aren't you both going after the same goal?

by David Spark on March 24, 2009

This article is from an event held by Marketing Transformation Services. The article has been cross posted on the Marketing Transformation Services blog.

Is your marketing department supporting the sales department? Is sales feeding back the information from the field to support your marketing? Is there a collaboration loop that’s making this all happen?

Simply put, is your marketing and sales departments aligned?

The expert panel discussion that met at the Computer History Museum on Tuesday, March 24 took these questions to task. The panel, sponsored by Marketing Transformation Services–featured:

  • Lori Granville – VP Marketing Operations, Oracle
  • Heidi Melin – CMO, Polycom
  • Peter Finter – VP Global Market Strategy and Operations, Nortel
  • Nanci Caldwell – Board Director, former EVP/CMO, PeopleSoft
  • Bud Hyler – President, Logical Marketing

Some of the thoughts addressed during the panel discussion:

  • Understanding the lifecycle of a deal is very powerful because you can introduce different ideas at different points.
  • Shortening the time at each stage of a sales cycle is up to marketing because the sales team is usually waiting for backend processes to finish so they can move to the next stage.
  • When a customer is ready to buy, let them buy.
  • Forget about the purity of the marketing. It’s all about the leads and getting the sales.
  • Do sales and marketing agree on how to score and value a lead? If not, start developing transparency. Don’t let marketing get away with black box-style lead generation.
  • Is the sales department the customer of marketing? Sales and marketing should be one process. They have the same goal. Don’t think of it as two processes.
  • Lots of discussion about the definition of a “qualified lead.” Need a real taxonomy of leads from sales and marketing.
  • Sales and marketing are partners to driving revenue for the organization.
  • The average salesperson underperforms the best salesperson by 30% and more. So as a marketing person you should ask yourself, “How can I help the average salesperson close?”
  • 80% of sales materials get thrown away untouched.
  • Address the top reasons your sales staff are stumbling.
  • For the benefit of your sales force, marketing needs to be the owner of the customer.
  • Get away from the tyranny of one. That’s the case when a salesperson says, “I was talking to a customer and he said we should do this. Why aren’t we doing that?” Don’t let that voice move the company. Let marketing own the customer so sales doesn’t feel that they must make that statement.

Got your own thoughts on the alignment of sales and marketing? Do you feel they’re sometimes battling against each other, or are you moving like a seamless machine? If so, what did you do and can you share your brilliance with us?

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