The Sales & Marketing Forum

The Sales & Marketing Forum
Sales are from Mars, Marketing are from Venus
Practical steps to align sales and marketing for improved lead generation
There are a number of examples in the B2B marketing
space of businesses in which there is a fundamentally
different relationship between sales and marketing.
Not only does alignment between sales and marketing lead to more and betterquality leads, but it helps ensure that the right proposition is created for the right
people, building your reputation in the process.
If the benefits are so clear, why is aligning sales and marketing still such a problem?
We asked three speakers to share the lessons they have learned.
Mark Armstrong: Head of Direct Enterprise Sales,
Telefónica UK
Robert Pickles: Director of Public Sector Business
Development and Public Affairs, Canon UK
Vince Kerr: Former Director of Marketing, UK and
Ireland, Fujitsu
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The honeymoon is over
In the B2B enterprise space, sales teams are selling into an
increasingly mature market and competition in the digital
space is increasing. Businesses are innovating to offer more
strategic services to solve complex business issues.
At the same time buyers, who are increasingly time poor and hard to reach, are
looking for compelling business cases. The honeymoon is over.
It’s time for sales and marketing to work more closely together, telling a consistent
story to a mutually agreed audience, leading to a set of shared objectives.
"The sales and marketing languages had the same words, but the way they were used
gave different meanings.”
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The communication gap
It's not that the marketing team isn’t working hard enough,
or that the sales team is being difficult. The problem is
often that there is a communication gap between the two
departments — with each team working in a silo.
This was the common theme from our speakers. Marketing runs campaigns, events
and promotions like a well-oiled machine, working hard to produce as many leads as
possible. But campaigns are targeted at a general level.
Over in the sales department, everyone has one thing in mind – reaching their targets
by cherry-picking the highest value leads. Campaigns are inconsistent and aren’t
followed up, which leaves a bad impression on customers and prospects.
The sales team often doesn't have enough time to get up to speed with the
latest marketing initiatives. As a result, returns from marketing activity are
often sub-optimal and tracking is poor, with no real accountability.
Campaigns are
and aren’t
followed up
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Starting over
Aligning sales and marketing is no mean feat, and it’s
certainly not a quick fix, but our speakers took on the
challenge, and found the results worth the wait:
▪▪ O2 gained a clear end-to-end view of their prospect pipeline, key activities
and nurture dates.
▪▪ Canon saw 25 times return on investment.
▪▪ Fujitsu hit 152% of its growth target and generated a sales pipeline that
achieved 260% of the target.
57% of top
companies had
defined workflows
between sales
and marketing
to handle leads.
Aberdeen Group
Research, 2010
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Steps to a happy relationship
Implementing the structural and procedural changes to
achieve sales and marketing alignment takes time. We have
distilled the combined wisdom of sales and marketing to
give you some steps that you can take to start on the road
to delivering better, more targeted sales opportunities and
clear improvements to ROMI.
1. Involve sales from the start of each campaign
This will ensure that your campaigns generate the results that the sales team
needs. Sales will know what’s coming and can provide feedback on how well
campaigns are being received, and how they could be improved.
2. Make sure you are both speaking the same language
Even though sales and marketing use the same words, they often mean
different things. Marketers love to talk about brand architecture, campaign
ROI, Facebook likes and Tweets. What the sales team, and indeed the rest of
the organisation, are interested in is revenue, opportunity, leads and customer
satisfaction. Find out what’s important to your customers and then translate
that into a language that both sales and marketing can understand.
3. Create a single set of goals for sales and marketing
It’s vital that everyone is working towards the same goal. Get both teams
into one room and work out your main objectives. Then map out the route to
reaching them.
A focus for communication
Account growth
Brand favourability
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4. Make sure that marketing understands how sales
is rewarded
When marketing understands the sales team’s priorities, they’ll be able to
focus on the areas that are valuable to sales, achieving results that everyone
is happy with.
5. Sit in on each other’s meetings
Send a representative from marketing to the weekly sales team meetings — and
vice versa — so that everyone knows what everyone else is working on. This will
also ensure that everyone has the same end-goal in mind.
6. Give marketing access to sales tools
Tools like solutions should be understood by marketing as well
as sales. Before the marketing department considers investing in marketing
automation tools, it should spend more time understanding the processes and
capabilities of the core CRM system.
When sales and marketing are able to
respect and accept their differences
then love has a chance to blossom!
When everyone has one platform to work from and a single view of customers
and prospects, campaigns are more likely to be aligned to the conversations that
sales are having on the ground.
7. Make sure your reporting structures support
It’s vital to have a clear view of what has happened to every lead or nurture
passed over by the marketing team. Generating weekly, monthly or annual
overviews of leads and nurtures per campaign, tracked by sector with a pipeline
value next to each, will help demonstrate the true value of marketing – and put
an end to the question ‘What does marketing actually do?’.
8. Look after the relationship
As in any relationship, respect and teamwork go a long way!
Book a workshop with us
We’ve helped companies like Atos, Oracle, O2 and Canon align sales and marketing for better,
more measurable results.
We’re offering 121 planning workshops to help you set marketing targets that are aligned
to sales objectives and work out which activities will help you meet those targets.
For further information, or to arrange a workshop, please contact Gemma Davies on
01235 833233 or