This may seem like a no brainer to you but in most companies today – marketing and sales are far from being team players.
Several years ago, we began to see a painful trend for marketing and it concerned us to see how disempowered and unsuccessful many of the CMOs we spoke with felt. We spoke with 150 heads of marketing and uncovered what was at the heart of CMO’s high turnover and lack of success. We discovered two main issues. One had to do with the inability to measure ROI and the other had to do with their relationship with sales. Marketing believed they could never make the changes that were needed to become ROI driven and many weren’t interested in trying to figure out how to work with sales. And sales were completely perplexed with what marketing had to do with anything they were trying to accomplish.
We began to speak with CEOs about the critical importance of the relationship between marketing and sales for the growth of their companies. We were surprised to find that very few CEOs felt this mattered enough to do something about and even more eye opening was the fact that they felt it just was the way it was – sales and marketing were at odds as long as they could remember and they didn’t see it changing any time soon.
Over the years, we have been blessed to work with dozens of organizations that did feel the relationship between marketing and sales was critical to the future success of their company. Today, we are even more convinced that this relationship is the number one issue that will affect the impact marketing can have on their organization.
As marketing moved towards employing more and more technology, the importance of this relationship became even more evident. We have been talking about aligning marketing and sales since 2010 and I think Debbie Qaqish gets it right when she says in her book, Rise of the Revenue Marketer. She says that alignment is the wrong word – the word that would best describe the ideal relationship between marketing and sales is synergy; when the result that is created is greater than the sum of the parts. We agree 100%. As companies look to move from the old way of doing marketing to where they see marketing as being a key force in driving revenue – the relationship with sales is paramount. Let’s look at how this relationship can evolve when companies leave the comfort of traditional marketing.
Synergy is the goal
Getting the two teams on the same page is a journey that takes time. There are four key stages of this journey that will shed a bright light on the relationship between marketing and sales. Let’s examine these states and the evolution of marketing.
1 – Traditional Marketing – When marketing operates as a traditional function focused on branding, marcom and awareness of the two teams could not be further apart, operating in two completely separate and distinct silos, often pointing fingers at each other and nowhere close to being on the same team.
2 – Lead Generation – Where the shift starts to happen is when marketing begins to take responsibility for providing leads to sales. The leads are usually raw but marketing is taking a key step towards generating these leads.
3 – Demand Generation Where marketing and sales begin to look more aligned is when they work together to determine what a good lead is and agree on what marketing’s part will be and what sales’ role will be, to move a lead through the pipeline. This is where technology begins to play a role with the integration of the CRM and a marketing automation platform. The results everyone is interested in are revenue focused, not activity focused.
4 – Revenue Generation – This is the ultimate goal where marketing and sales are seen as one synergistic team that is responsible for driving revenue. They have the same goals and the same compensation plan that rewards these goals. The technology is optimized and these two once seen as distinct teams are now seen as one team that focuses not only on revenue and ROI but forecasting what they can accomplish together and succeeding as a team.
So, it bears repeating – it is imperative that marketing and sales function as a unified team. While it has never been good for a company’s culture to have two distinct groups at odds, today we have proof that not only does it cause friction, it causes a decline in revenue opportunities – and that should get marketing, sales and CEOs attention.
View our two minute video to learn more reasons why marketing and sales need to be on the same team.