Sales and Marketing, can't we just get along?

The CEO says "What is the ROI on our marketing campaigns?"

"Marketing isn't doing enough demand generation" snorts the VP of Sales.

VP of Marketing replies "What leads I provide seem to disappear into a black hole with no accountability from sales"

Does this sound familiar to you? I have witnessed several variation of these themes over my career. Intuitively we know that if Sales and Marketing strategy and goals are better aligned and executed upon there would be exponential improvement to revenue. Alignment sessions and workshops bring some positive results but dysfunction seems to continue sometimes even to the point of enmity between these functions.

Why?

Process. Yes, an effective process must be developed at an executable level. Execution of an effective process brings the mojo.

First let look at what happens at the street level in many B to B firms. Marketing is creating campaigns around new offerings using digital marketing and events. These leads are sometimes captured automatically or assembled into spreadsheets. They are typically assigned to sales teams both field and inside sales. Then accountability typically starts breaking down.

Most good sales representatives are more than willing to follow up on leads but if they start losing time on winnable deals in the their pipeline because of chasing leads where it appears the majority of them are lame then they lose interest in the activity. But some of those leads might be winners and yet they might well be ignored.

Additionally, field sales is not only looking for leads but more marketing air cover for their account penetration activities.

There are many more permutations to these breakdowns but this covers some big ones.

A process must be designed that is easy to execute for busy sales people and bring measurement for marketing. With the maturing of sales automation tools and marketing automation tools like those sold by Salefsorce.com there is an ability to automate an effective process.

Creating feedback loops that prioritize leads for call back based on behavior not only from marketing behavior but also from sales to customer interaction behavior. The sales loop affecting changes in marketing behavior and also marketing behavior prioritizing activity for sales.

From a prospecting point of view all activity should lead to Meaningful Interactions with prospects. I have designed processes where creating better odds to have a meaningful interaction with a prospect was achieved. The sales teams started looking forward to their phone activity and measurable campaign results were achieved. Furthermore, client interaction behavior altered marketing activities to that particular client bringing more closed business.

If you are struggling as a firm I suggest that a serious effort is put forth to create a process that links sales, telesales and marketing activities in a feedback loop that prioritizes activity at an account or even contact level. Remember you want to achieve more meaningful interactions.