Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shrinking the Sales & Marketing Divide

Have you had "the conversation" yet? As the economy slows, most B2B marketers are going to be asked to clearly show how marketing programs drive sales results, and what can be done to improve ROI. Challenging times put the focus on what can be done NOW. When "the conversation" comes up, you want to have a clear answer. The best way to get to a clear answer is to ensure that Sales and Marketing are well aligned in your company, and have the numbers to prove it.

I'm a big believer in clearly aligning Sales and Marketing, and this was one of our key 2008 focus areas for the Business.com Marketing team. We're seeing great results and here are my top tips for bridging the Sales and Marketing divide:

    1. Respect the people and fix the process (not the other way around) – 99% of misalignment can be traced to conflicting goals, incentives and process, not personality issues.
    2. Identify and focus on "our goal" – find and focus on the common goal that unites the teams
    3. Start with the lead – as noted by lead generation guru Brian Carroll, it's critical that Sales and Marketing agree on the definition of a sales-ready lead.
If you haven't had "the conversation," you're going to. And if you haven't clearly aligned sales and marketing, you need to. For a more comprehensive look at improving sales and marketing alignment to drive business results, check out Mapping the Traps and Sales Effectiveness Gaps from the CMO Council or the MarketingProfs guide "Marketing ROI and the Sales Funnel".


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