3 ways marketers can build more credibility with sales

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Nick Panayi

Director, Global Brand & Digital Marketing

Sales and marketing – examining the relationship

sales and marketing alignment
Source: AM Design

Sales and marketing have always been strange bedfellows. Totally dependent on one another for success yet complete opposites in personality and approach. Salespeople are singularly focused (as they should be) on closing sales. They are remotely interested in all the awareness and demand generation tactics that lead up to a sale, but not interested enough to care about how and why. Marketing folks on the other hand are comfortable with experimentation (as they should be). They spend a lot of time and energy thoughtfully planning and executing a broad variety of tactics, casting a wide net to see what works best in delivering qualified leads, and constantly fine-tuning the marketing mix to keep up with the rapidly changing behavior of today’s buyer.

In the best case, when everything is working flawlessly, sales and marketing have a pleasant, lets-stay-out-of-each-other’s-way kind of relationship. In worst case, things get really ugly really fast. Sales complaints about the lack of quality or quantity of leads (or both) and marketing complains about lack of sales follow-up and responsiveness on the allegedly qualified leads that come their way. Sales and marketing organizations that are not aligned cannot meet the needs of their customers

A fact-based approach strengthens sales and marketing alignment

For those of you on the verge of losing hope in building a bridge between sales and marketing, help is on the way! Relatively new technology-enabled approaches open the doors to building a stronger relationship between sales and marketing, based on mutual respect and fact-based common understanding. Here are just three of them:

  1. Present a fully synchronized version of the truth
    Best practice calls for a marketing sales and marketing alignmentdatabase that is separate yet connected to your company’s CRM. That way you won’t mix up email responders and social media followers to existing customer contacts and important decision makers, but where the two intersect you have a single 360-degree view of everything you know about that customer. There’s no dispute when and if marketing has helped accelerate a deal, and using what specific marketing tactic. It’s all there where the two systems intersect into a customer profile. At CSC, we use Eloqua Prospect Profiler inside Salesforce.com to make that happen but there are many other ways to go.
  2. Hyper-personalize marketing outreach

    sales and marketing personalization
    Source: Adobe

    In B2B there’s nothing sales hates more than marketing treating their customers and prospects like the masses, blasting them with “spray and pray” tactics. And there’s nothing sales appreciates more than when you take care to understand who their customers are, what they need and how they’d like to interact with us. In the age of “Big Data” , you have the ability to capture every single touch and interaction with customers and use it to learn and personalize everything from the welcome screen on your website, to the email campaigns they receive, to the way you respond when they raise their hand to speak to someone. At CSC we use Adobe Insights as our “Big Data” repository and we build our personalization algorithms from there to drive tailored outreach to around 300 of our most valued customers.

  3. Knowledge is power
    sales and marketing intelligenceNothing hurts the sales and marketing relationship more than the absence of defensible, consistent results on marketing campaigns. Marketing claims that the last multi-touch email campaign was a resounding success: Ten gazzilion clicks and a funnel of gigantic proportions as evidenced by a junior marketer’s Excel spreadsheet proving that the results are indeed cause for celebration. Sales, on the other hand, says that the only credible pipeline this quarter came only from prospects they found themselves and has absolutely zero to do with the email campaign, which by the way, is a “monumental waste of money.” Many of you already have your marketing automation platform tied to your CRM, your CMS and your web/social analytics tools.  So you are now able to very easily build a web-based dashboard (like GoodData for example) that can show the entire leads-to-cash funnel and let both sales and marketing team members look at leads from many different lenses, including by campaign, by region, by industry and by solution/product.Where available, you can also work with partners to integrate data, intelligence, and opportunities from outside of your own ecosystem (such as TechTarget’s Activity Intelligence dashboard) to cultivate an enhanced, holistic view of your leads for sales. All of the sudden, with a common fact base as the foundation, debating the numbers is a non-starter, and the conversation quickly switches to finding ways to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

A healthy, fact-based relationship between sales and marketing is not a nice-to-have. It’s a clear requirement for success. And it is now more achievable than ever before using tools and technologies that were not even in our vocabulary 5 years ago.

 

Nick bio pic largeNick Panayi is the Director of Global Brand & Digital Marketing at CSC.  His areas of responsibility include global brand management, CSC.com, digital content management , marketing programs, marketing operations and marketing automation. Nick’s 20+ years experience in the technology sector encompasses a variety of management, strategic planning and marketing roles with Avaya and Compaq,  as well as startups in online services and marketing automation. You can follow Nick on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

 

customer commitment, Customer Engagement, customer intelligence, customer profile, Intelligence Driven Marketing, Nick Panayi, personalized marketing, sales and marketing alignment

4 Responses to “3 ways marketers can build more credibility with sales”

  1. Avatar
    Karl Burns

    Nick,
    I 100% agree with the approach. My challenge to you is getting something like this going outside enterprise environments. Of course,anyone using SFDC will have tools that layer into their data, but when smaller firms want to accomplish the same, there is a significant barrier to entry. how would you massage this advice for SMBs?
    That’s the battle our clients currently face.

  2. Avatar
    Nick Panayi

    Karl, you make a valid point. SMBs have all it takes to get basic sales and marketing activities done, and little resource to devote to analytics or leads-to-cash processes. But I would suggest that in today’s fast moving mark-tech landscape there are plenty of low-cost, as-a-service solutions that allow you to do the same thing. What’s more important is that they establish a common lexicon and SLA between Sales and Marketing to ensure that there’s a common understanding of what success looks like. Add to that a basic dashboard (now readily available at very affordable price points) and a regular cadence of tracking progress against pre-set KPIs.

    IMO all of these can be accomplished with minimum investment and a wide open channel of communication between sales and marketing..

  3. Avatar

    Nick, nice insights on using marketing and sales automation to create collaboration.

    Brand messaging for a complex technology product with a long sales cycle can be a real challenge since it needs to be relevant to multiple levels of IT decision makers. And it needs to be in sync with your sales team’s process. How do you account for that issue within your organization? Do you seek out ground level intelligence and input from your sales team on the pains and challenges of their client counterparts? And if so, what’s your process for synthesizing that information into memorable branding? Does sales ever have a seat at that table, or do you feel it would be counterproductive?

    To Karl: I know of numerous small operations (some not even qualifying as SMBs) that employ different flavors of these systems. A favorite of many savvy online marketers is Infusionsoft, with Hubspot’s integrated CMS/marketing automation getting a lot of love from all quarters.

  4. Avatar
    Nick Panayi

    Jon – We definitely gleam a lot of the intelligence we need to construct product or brand messaging from our sales people since they face the moment of truth with customers. brand messaging obviously has to stay at a very high level, but when it comes to solution/offer messaging we are working on personae modeling that will let us tailor the value props and messaging to the care-abouts and mindset of the individual we are having a conversation with.

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