In my last entry, I discussed how the walls between marketing and sales had grown to the point that they are now unscalable in many organizations. These walls significantly impair the success of both the marketing and sales organizations as well as the business. It should be a top business imperative to break down these walls. But how does one do that?
- Make marketing and sales goals one and the same.
- Build individual relationships between marketing and sales.
I walk into marketing organizations these days and find that marketing is measured on the number of leads they generate. Sales is measured on the deals won and the revenue delivered to the business. In someone's mind, these two goals are related. Unfortunately, the behaviors these goals drive aren't. With lead generation as the marketing goal, marketing has no responsibility for the success of that lead. Because sales has no stake in the creation of highly qualified leads, they can justify at best half-heartedly following up on those leads. At worst, they can ignore the leads altogether.
The goals for both sales and marketing need to be related to deals won and revenue delivered. When this is done, the responsibility for achieving those goals is distributed more appropriately across the two organizations. Marketing must take on a larger share of the responsibility for nurturing leads into highly qualified, ready-to-buy prospects. Product marketing has both the skills and the expertise to play an enormous role in that enablement. Sales must take on a larger share of the responsibility for obtaining highly qualified leads. When sales shares in the responsibility for obtaining those leads, they will take greater ownership of following up on those leads and turning them into deals.
When marketing and sales share the same deal and revenue goals, it changes everything.
Effective business is all about relationships. I have seen organizations where sales, who is supposed to be so good at building relationships, treats marketing like a third class citizen. I've seen marketing organizations whose opinions of sales are that they are badly spoiled children. A lack of respect and appreciation is rampant between individuals and organizations. In both organizations, each sees the other as an inhibitor to their goals (see previous point).
What both sides don't see is that when the other organization is alienated, their own job becomes a lot more difficult. Sales struggles with prospect objections and longer sales cycles. They don't realize that with access to prospects and customers, marketing can provide tools to quickly and easily help sales address those objections. And those longer sales cycles the sales team is encountering? With more visibility into the sales process, marketing can deliver the content that helps shorten the buying process. In the reverse direction, marketing can't do its job effectively without sales' help. Marketing needs sales to share their contact lists, bring in referrals, and solidify references. These all fuel the marketing machine.
The bottom line is that marketing and sales need to spend quality time together. Each needs to see that the other is willing to help them succeed. And when both succeed, the business succeeds.
Today, there is little trust between marketing and sales. By focusing on shared goals and building relationships, businesses can build a powerhouse team that together can achieve much more than the simple sum of the alienated parts.