Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Bridging the Gap between Sales and Marketing - How Better Cooperation Fills the Pipeline More Effectively and Efficiently

The topic for our Think Tank call this month was:

Bridging the Gap between Sales and Marketing - How Better Cooperation Fills the Pipeline More Effectively and Efficiently

The call was facilitated by Andrea Lamarsaude, with BrightBlue Marketing and was Co-Hosted by Candace Miller with BrightBlue Marketing, Bob Howard with Contact Science, and Barry Caponi with Caponi Performance Group. Also on the call was one the co-creators of the Think Tank call series - Narciso Tovar from Big Noise Communications.

By way of background - the Think Tank conference call takes the format of an open discussion that allows for everyone to share best practices and experiences relating to a relevant topic. For those of you who attended the recent web seminar on this same topic our latest Think Tank call will serve as a follow up to that seminar.

BrightBlue Marketing and Big Noise Communication have been conducting Think Tank calls once a month for over a year, with each call focusing on relevant and timely Marketing and PR topics. You can visit BrightBlue’s blog to see summaries of previous calls and links to further reading on the respective topics. Just go to www.brightbluemarketing.com and click on our Blog link.

The following topics were discussed on the call:

1. Some of the causes for gaps between sales and marketing:

Unspecified expectations, and not agreed upon expectations

Lack of communication between sales and marketing

Both departments are expecting the other to do more than what they are

Sales and marketing have different goals and may even be targeting different audiences

Lack of trust between the two departments

Lack of collaboration and connecting both departments’ efforts

Lack of understanding of what each department does and their respective value

No integration of technology when they do try to communicate

Marketing needs reports to see what has happened with leads that a campaign has generated, but sales only gets paid when they are selling so it is hard for them to take the time to create the reports

There is not a process in place to pursue the activity that marketing supplies to sales

2. Level of accountability for feeding the pipeline between marketing and sales:

Sales thinks marketing should be solely responsible for generating leads, but marketing knows that they cannot produce the full amount of leads for sales and sales must do prospecting

If marketing could fill the pipeline alone, then sales would not be paid as much; sales get paid because it is not easy

Can’t have over reaching expectations for each side

They both have to be willing to work together

3. Responsibility for bridging the expectations gap between sales and marketing:

It has to start at the top

Managers should encourage and facilitate it by conducting joint meetings with sales and marketing

Invite sales to marketing meetings and vice versa

Each department needs to understand the challenges and limitations of the other department

Upper management should create collaboration between the two departments to reach the common goal

Both departments should be accountable for the same goals

Measure the goals as a team effort with both departments

Initial appointments are measurable to keep everyone accountable

4. Nurturing the lead – whose role is it?

Successes have you seen when lead nurturing is part of the lead generation process. (As a general definition - Lead Nurturing is the process of communicating to a lead on an ongoing basis in order to educate, inform, continue to qualify and build a relationship until the lead is sales-ready)

Marketing generally has the major role in lead nurturing at the beginning

When the lead is nurtured, it becomes sales-ready for the sales team; however, marketing cannot always do all the nurturing without any help from sales

Sales has responsibility when they don’t get a sale. They then need to ask if marketing can continue to communicate with them

Sales must give some background as to why this lead is still worth nurturing for the future

5. Improvements marketing can make to improve the number of appointments set by sales:

Prioritize the list of leads for those that look like the easiest to close

Once sales has exhausted their efforts they can then turn it back to marketing to try to re-nurture

Sales must communicate why a lead is being turned back to marketing so marketing will know why this is still a potentially viable lead for the future

Make sure that sales knows the messaging that marketing is using and what audience they are targeting

Make sure that sales is using the same messaging

Create small business cards with the company’s messaging in bullet points for sales to refer to

Senior management of both sales and marketing should go out with sales on some sales calls

6. Have you been a part of a coordinated marketing and sales effort, and if so what effect did this coordinated effort have on the business aspect of telephone prospecting?

Very important for marketing people to join with sales on their update calls as well as periodically joining them on their sales calls with customers

It helps them to see what sales needs more of & what customer feedback is with the marketing effort

It helps if marketing gets to see and hear the techniques and processes that sales use to close sales

The value proposition doesn’t matter unless you manage to get them to the point of really listening to it

How and when sales can apply the value proposition may be unknown to marketing

7. The costliest and the least costly way to convert a target into an appointment:

If marketing and sales are working together and marketing is getting the type of leads that sales need, the costs drop dramatically.

Cold, purchased lists are the most costly way to do sales

Some final thoughts:

It takes time and patience as you start to integrate marketing and sales departments. It is a new concept to most companies so it will take some getting used to on both sides.

Think of your top 3 customers:

What did they buy?

What was the reason they bought from you?

What were the benefits to that particular customer for the reasons they bought from your company?

What are the challenges that you helped that customer solve?

Our next Think Tank call is scheduled for August 5th at 9:00 am CST and the topic is Branding your company as a Jack of All Trades vs. branding your company on one single focused offering.

Please let us know if you would like to be a part of our next Think Tank call. If you can’t make it then please look for a summary of the call on the BrightBlue Marketing blog.

For further reading:

The Statistics of Lead Nurturing for B2B - by Paul Mosenson

Together – Sales and Marketing - by Mary Sullivan

Creating a true partnership between marketing and sales
Karen J. Bannan

No comments: