Bridge the Gap in B2B Marketing and Sales

marketing sales alignmentWhen I reflect on the various talks and presentations I have done about B2B marketing and sales, perhaps my favorite is called How to Bridge the Gap Between Sales and Marketing.

This is a subject that resonates with both the marketing and sales audiences, as well as CEOs and business owners. We may have some fun with the presentation; but the message is deadly serious: Marketing and sales need to be in alignment for the business to reach its potential. We talk about this in terms of two major objectives, synchronizing and optimizing B2B marketing and sales.

All gaps are not the same – some are fairly minor and can be fixed with a few process tweaks – but others seem as wide as the Grand Canyon. So how do we know if a gap exists? While some of the tension between marketing and sales will be obvious, there are several not-so-obvious ways that this can be manifested, including:

  • Sales creates its own marketing plan
  • Sales has its own marketing budget
  • Sales people think they can out-market the marketing department
  • Marketing managers are forced to doctor reports to justify their existence
  • Sales routinely blames marketing for its failure to make quota

And the worst sign of all: Sales and marketing won’t meet without their attorneys present. Obviously, this last point is an exaggeration but we have seen many organizations where the leaders of the marketing and sales departments act more like combatants than colleagues. There is no love lost between these two departments.

Recently, a VP of Sales at a well-known company told me that the only thing his expensive marketing department is good for is proofreading documents (ugh!). If you are in a situation where the level of cooperation and respect is this low, do yourself a favor and seek out a better place to work. Chances are, things aren’t going to change any time soon.

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Why the Gap?

So why does a gap between marketing and sales exist in so many organizations? And most importantly, what can we do about it? Most of the time, intentions are good—after all, both the marketing and sales departments want to achieve their unique objectives, but also to contribute to the greater success of the company. Yet despite these good intentions, many initiatives fail because of a lack of cooperation between the sales and marketing departments. To prevent this, we get our clients on the right track by helping them adopt six key strategies:

  1. Establish a workable and effective B2B marketing and sales model.
  2. Generate a consistent flow of predictable sales leads.
  3. Practice lead qualification/incubation.
  4. Establish a service level agreement (SLA) between marketing and sales.
  5. Transition the role of marketing to better support the sales department.
  6. Install an efficient and flexible sales and marketing automation (CRM) system.

If you want to learn more about these six strategies, send me a note at cryan@fusionmarketingpartners and I will send you a link to our recent Webcast and a copy of the slides. Also, in the next week or two we will publish a white paper on How to Bridge the Gap. Keep an eye out for this on the Fusion Marketing Partners website.

Christopher Ryan
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