I recently recorded an on-demand webinar with BrightTALK on the increasingly important need to connect your marketing messages with the conversations your sales people are having with prospects and customers in the field.
For an industry that has embraced so many “lean” and “agile” principles when it comes to software development, it’s always surprised and frustrated me that many B2B software and SaaS businesses remain oblivious to the opportunity to eliminate a bunch of wasted, value-sapping effort in their sales and marketing process.
I think you probably have a sense of what I mean. Marketing creating sales tools that your sales people find ineffective or inappropriate. Sales generating their own content to fill the perceived gaps in what marketing has created. The dangers of wasting or duplicating effort are obvious. And that’s without taking into account the scope for customer confusion caused by conflicting messages.
Connecting the marketing message with the sales conversation
I wrote late last year about the idea that “you can create brilliant content marketing and still miss the point”, and I want to develop the thought that there are still far too many dangerous disconnects between the marketing messages propagated by organisations and the conversations their sales people are actually having with prospects.
If anything, the issue has been compounded by the elevation of content marketing to a stratospheric pedestal as the latest saviour of B2B marketing. Now, there’s no doubt that compelling content offers a critical underpinning to much of today's most effective business-to-business communications.
But then what?
It would be hard to find anyone prepared to argue against the benefits of sales and marketing alignment. It’s a proven fact (we’ll come on to the results in a moment) that well-aligned organisations grow revenues faster. So, if alignment is such a good thing, why is it so difficult to achieve?
It’s a topic that I’ll be discussing at today’s Funnel 2012 event in London. Without giving the entire presentation away, I'd like to share some of my conclusions about why alignment often proves difficult - and offer you some ideas that could help you improve it.
Why bother getting aligned?
Are your sales and marketing messages targeted at budget makers or budget takers? In most complex, high value sales environments, of course you need to appeal to both. But the marketing messages you need to use - and the sales conversations you need to have - differ dramatically.
Is your organisation sales-driven or marketing-driven? That's the question posed in our latest guest contribution from Swayne Hill of the always-excellent Data-Driven Sales Management. I'm delighted to share his latest article with you: whether you're in sales or marketing, I'm sure his article will give you food for thought...
According to a recent Aberdeen Group report, “alignment of marketing and sales goals is a key strategy for many organisations seeking revenue and customer growth amid economic and market challenges”. Poorly aligned organisations are quickly falling behind their best-in-class competitors in the critical areas of revenue growth, sales productivity and return on marketing investment. But how can you tell if your organisation has an alignment problem?
If you’re able to get to London on the 1st November, I’d like to suggest that you join me and invest a day in attending the FUNNEL 2011 conference at the Lancaster London hotel. According to the organisers, you can expect to be in the company of over 500 of the UK’s most senior B2B and B2C ‘considered purchase’ strategists, with an agenda that shares some of the very latest best practices in attracting, engaging, nurturing and converting B2B prospects.
The latest research by Aberdeen Group, SiriusDecisions, CSO Insights and others suggests that organisations with best-in-class levels of Sales and Marketing Alignment are able to achieve revenue growth rates 20-24% faster than their poorly-aligned competitors. So why is it that well-aligned organisations remain in the minority - and what can business leaders do to change this?