Integrating sales and marketing – the stuff of myths and legends

I guess a more accurate (but less optimistic title) could have been “Integrating Sales and Marketing – is there any point and does anybody want it to happen?” – however that would have been a little defeatist (and much less catchy).

I attended a B2B Marketing Event recently, where they had a speaker presenting on that very subject (Rod Sloane) and, today received an email from B2B Marketing on using technology to bridge the gap.

All very useful, as Rod addresses the culture issue, and the latter using technology – and it’s obvious that both are needed.

However, it got me thinking – are we over intellectualising the issue? Can we not just apply some plain old psychology to the problem, and look at the motivations of both sides:

Marketing:

1. Wanting to demonstrate their value to the business
2. Needs sales to follow up on leads to gain validation
3. Needs sales to help them get closer to the customer (to validate messaging, help with case studies etc)

Sales:

1. Needs marketing to generate productive and relevant meetings for them
2. Wants marketing to take ownership of the pipeline
3. Wants their market and customer knowledge to be leveraged

I know I’m simplifying, and that there are wider, more complex motivations (and issues) but you get the drift.

Next, why is everyone talking about the need to inetegrate the two? Why do people feel it’s not happening? I would like to suggest 2 factors here:

1. Fear of failure (if we don’t work together and it fails, we can blame each other)
2. Lack of communication (what exactly is it that you do?)

IDC Advisory Group (according to Rod Sloane) said earlier this year “in 2009, half of all sales people did not meet quota, two thirds of the time, it was due to lack of sales and marketing alignment”

So, what are the clues to help you work out if sales and marketing aren’t aligned in your organisation (as if you didn’t know), Rod points out that generally large amounts of finger pointing occurs, as opposed to focusing on moving forward and addressing change.

What I ultimately really liked about Rod’s presentation is his assertion that ultimately what marketing is about is generating revenue – amen.

If you’re a regular reader (thank you by the way) you’ll know that improving the quality of B2B Marketing is a personal mission of mine, and Rod highlighted two core tenets of that process:

1. Marketers are responsible for revenue generation – and that includes embracing (maybe not literally) the sales team
2. Marketers should be compensated on their contribution to a sales deal

So, actually, (to bring me back to my point – and I do have one) the process of integrating sales and marketing has to begin with your sales and marketing strategy: combined targets, communication improvements and combined compensation – and a provision of the right tools to make it happen.

About the Author

Charlotte Graham-Cumming

Director, Ice Blue Sky Ltd

4 thoughts on “Integrating sales and marketing – the stuff of myths and legends

  1. John Sweeney says

    One reason to address the ‘is there any point’ position with sales and marketing alignment came to light from a Marketing Prof’s study from a few years back . Aligned companies on the whole a growing faster and make more money than their non-aligned peers. I’d could quote figures but the point remains the same. In my experience getting aligned is really a strategic issue (i.e. the board supports it) and a route to higher profits/revenue. T

  2. Rod Sloane says

    Charlotte

    Enjoyed your blog. Is there amy reason that you choose the word integration rather than alignmnent?

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