Sales and Marketing alignment continues to be a major issue for both sides. Marketing often seeks to drive long term while also helping sales has to hit their quarterly numbers. But the balance can be delicate at times, to say the least.
At some point, we need to sit down and have a conversation about how we are going to help each other sell more stuff, to more buyers, at a higher price in a way that helps our customers.
This is the only way to create a sustainable business model where our customers come back and buy more, tell their friends, and we get to invest that extra revenue in more and better products or solutions to meet their needs.
But marketers often struggle trying to sell their ideas to sales people. So how do you sell a marketing strategy to sales people?
Marketers Focus on Activities
I think it starts with understanding where the alignment issues start. Marketers focus too much on their activities and not enough on business outcomes. We list our accomplishements as:
- How many emails were sent
- How many webcasts were produced
- How many events were sponsored
- How many ads were bought
- How many priced of content we created
- How many leads we generated
So maybe we need to stop talk about how many and talk about how much value these activities generate.
Sales Focus on Next Quarter
Sales have numbers that must be hit and they will hit them – with or without marketing help. So when sales people at the beginning of the quarter, they want more leads. Then at the end of the quarter they only what the leads that are ready to buy right now.
This back and forth has frustrated marketers from the beginning. The fact of the matter is that “sales is terrible at prospecting,” as Kenny Madden (@KennyMadden1973) has said. And so in order to generate real demand, sales and marketing must combine efforts into what he called “SMarketing.”
Then sales can focus on what they do best: closing deals.
How to Gain Sales Alignment
I suggest these ideas to align marketing and sales:
- Go on a sales call. Listen to how your products are actually sold. Hear how they are positioned and how questions, concerns and “objections” are handled.
- Learn how to deliver your company’s elevator pitch, software demo or main features and benefits.
- Speak to a customer. Nothing can provide the perspective that speaking to a customer can provide.
- Get a revenue goal. Identify how much value you bring to the organization and make it part of your goals.
- Joint planning. If you work together on your business challenges, then you’ve already achieved alignment.
- Make friends with your sales colleagues. Get to know your sales colleagues on a personal level and it will make the rough conversations much easier.
So if you want to sell to a sales person, you have stop focusing on marketing activities, help them understand that it is your job to develop demand together and you have to be more like a sales person: speak to customers, demo products, carry a quota and go on sales calls.