The New Relationship Rules for Marketing and Sales

September 30, 2016 James Thomas

Unknown (4)Too often when the topic of B2B sales and marketing alignment is discussed, the conversation revolves around the number of leads marketing has generated versus the number of leads being closed.

But a shift is happening.

More CMOs are being asked to deliver and report on tangible business results, requiring them to move beyond brand and campaign activities and focus on the common ground they share with sales – revenue generation. A recent Forrester study found that when charged with delivering against profit-and-loss metrics, “evolved CMOs” are increasingly partnering with their peers to drive business and brand results.

Here are several suggestions for ways marketing and sales can navigate these new relationship rules and work together to achieve revenue goals.

Prepare Carefully for Change Management

Carlos Hidalgo, CEO and principal at ANNUITAS, says, “From what we’ve seen, many marketing and sales functions are not ready for this shift. They are too focused on interrupting the buyer’s journey, rather than becoming a part of it. And, my response to that is, ‘You have a better chance of getting into the Pentagon, than you do successfully interrupting your buyer’s journey.’ Plus, that’s not selling, it’s assault! The sooner executives understand that it’s a change management and cultural issue, the sooner their teams will be successful.” – Read more at Forbes.

Co-Own Business Responsibilities

“Marketing is no longer just about filling the sales funnel. Co-ownership of the customer experience with sales and customer success are new priorities; and being connected with your peers will ensure the organization is also aligned.  For organizations to remain relevant and thrive, the CMO needs to call into question all aspects of the marketing mix – across products, price, distribution channels and promotions. Driving this convergence is the sense of urgency among businesses to break down the historical barriers between marketing and IT, two disciplines that are sometimes said to speak different languages. Success in a digital world, where a customer has multiple touch points, relies on how the other C-suite executives and the CMO develop a collaborative, focused relationship.” – Read more at MarTech Advisor.

Create a Chief Revenue Officer Role

“Some CEOs try to own the revenue oversight, but with so many competing priorities, they are unable to provide the required focus, discipline or expertise. Even if a company has a VP of sales or marketing or both, they generally already have a full-time tactical job where their performance is measured on the short-term results. While the rest of the organization has the benefit of strategic leadership from the CFO and COO, the strategy or structure of profitable revenue generation goes without focused leadership. If a company wishes to obtain a similar level of predictability for their revenue as they achieve in the other departments, then the same long-term planning, goal-setting and discipline must be applied to revenue production.” – Read more at LinkedIn.

Work in Parallel Through the Buyer’s Journey

“Coordinating these engagements, organizing the resulting prospect data, measuring performance results, analyzing the info, providing follow-up content, adjusting campaigns, etc., has become an intricate maze that must be precisely coordinated and timed. This is why the topic of demand orchestration has become so important. Moreover, such complexity doesn’t lend itself to a clear-cut set of rules stating when marketing should hand a lead over to sales. Instead, marketing and sales must work hand-in-hand through an expanding demand labyrinth, ensuring prospects get the attention and info they need at precisely the right cadence – from the top of the funnel to the bottom.” – Read more at CustomerThink.

Shift Focus from Alignment to Integration

“Sales and marketing are two different disciplines. To continually try to “align” these functions is futile, whether you are deploying ABM or not. Rather, marketing and sales should be integrated around making customers successful, achieving business-driving metrics and establishing well-understood roles. It may seem like a nuance (aligned versus integrated); however, in this case, it really matters for the short- and long-term health of your business. For the short term, marketing and sales each bring a unique perspective to building the right target account list. Sales has first-hand knowledge, field experience and contacts. Marketing brings data and insights on the market and behavioral and performance information to target the best opportunities.” – Read more at Marketing Land.

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