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Jeff Ogden

Great post and well said. I hear the words "Align Sales and Marketing," but very few companies do it well. Your reasons are spot on, but the fundamental problem is cultural.

Marketing looks for Mr. Right
Sales looks for Mr. Right Now

Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor
Find New Customers "Lead Generation Made Simple"

Peter Gracey

Great post...number 1 resonates with me the most. If the CEO insists on viewing sales and marketing's performance in a unified fashion is sends the most powerful message you can hope to send. "I view you as a team, it's in your best interest to start working as one".

Michael Pedone - Online Sales Training

Number 2 is a big one. Most sales people don't truly understand "how to sell" in the first place. Just because you closed deals when times were great doesn't mean the leads are bad when times are slow.

Jeanne Hellman

I worked in a large global telecom, and spent the last three years aligning sales and maketing teams. What amazed me was how few of the "marketing" folks had ever talked with a seller... this astounded me: How can you support someone and something you know nothing about? It's too easy to fall back on, "this is how we have operated for the past X number of years, and it worked before so it must work now".
I was tasked with bringing in a Sales Knowledge Management platform into the company for a sales force of 1500 and support staff of around 4500 folks. I was a marketer, but had the pleasure (yes, pleasure) of supporting sales for a stint, and had gained first hand experience with the disconnect between the goals and directions of the two groups. Armed with this knowledge, and after confirming our assumptions with a thorough discovery phase, we were able to get management to realize that just throwing yet another technology at the sales force wouldn't do any thing but frustrate them more. We got the approval to implement a sales enablement program and create a strategy that would ensure we really made a difference to the sales team and the marketing teams, recognizing that to be successful, we needed to do things very differently and change the way sales and maketing interacted and collaborated.
We started by creating a very focused adoption strategy, improved processes, removed duplication and redundancy, and implemented ongoing training refreshers. Our strategies included quick wins for both marketing and sales. Not only did we target addressing long standing sales force needs and complaints, but we had to retrain the presales marketing teams to understand the customer centric views and needs of the sales force. Also in the discovery, we found that over 60% of the collateral that marketing created for sales was never downloaded or looked at... Why?
As the companied continue to downsize and loose marketing staff, the company could not afford to spend time and money on something that was expensive to create but not being used. We also discovered that in keeping with analyst findings, the training being delivered did not match the way the sales force needed to use what they were learning, so they did not retain the knowledge. Finally, we documented that the sales force was not attending to the corporate messages for numerous reasons, and there was no consistency of customer messaging between what marketing was disseminating and the sales for was communicating during the face to face customer interactions.
We found out what was needed, and then institued appropriate changes to resolve the problems and refocus marketing efforts into more value added endeavours. Marketers are full of good intent and really do feel what they are doing is what is needed. I think inclusion is the answer, and companies should do more to help foster collaboration between the teams. This will help remove the "us and them" mentality that exists within too many companies.

Jeff Garrison

I see number 7 quite a bit in the small businesses that I work with. It takes energy to stand apart from the daily action to figure out why customers pick a particular company or sales person over another. Of course, once done, it creates minor course corrections in the discussion with prospects that can have a significant increase on getting appointments and closing deals.

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