Creating Smarketing Harmony – Alignment Advice for Sales (part 2 of 2)

Marketing ‌• July 18, 2013

As a follow up to my previous post, I’m balancing the deck with some tips for sales on how it can contribute to better smarketing love. If the word ‘smarketing’ isn’t suggestive enough, I firmly believe (as I’m sure you do, too) that sales and marketing are equally responsible for ensuring alignment and agreement between the two groups. After all, the outcome is win-win when everyone’s on the same page (i.e., you get the leads you want to work).

So listen up, salespeople. Here’s how you can help the cause:

  • Take the time to walk a mile in marketing’s shoes. Understand the pressures that they face in generating demand in a crowded, competitive marketplace.
  • Never forget that marketing is held accountable for your activities. If you fail to provide timely feedback on what’s provided to you or if you fail to convert the opportunities they generate for you, they’re likely to lose their jobs. According to the CMO Council, the average tenure of a marketing executive is less than 22 months. The primary reason: marketing’s inability to demonstrate its impact on revenue generation for their company. The primary reason for that: the inability to close the feedback loop and measure marketing’s effectiveness. Understand that most marketers will lose sleep trying to figure out how to effectively generate demand and close the feedback loop while not wasting your time–help them out.
  • When you receive requests, acknowledge them.  If you accept the request, do what you say you’d do within the promised timeline. More often than not, they can’t do their jobs without your help.  And in many companies, their jobs exist to help you.  At the risk of sounding like Jerry Maguire, help them, help you!
  • Actively participate as often as you can.  Weighing in on messaging, campaigns, targets, and timing will only improve the quality of the opportunities that are generated for you. If you cannot participate, don’t blame marketing if the initiative doesn’t produce the results you wanted or needed. And always thank marketing for the invitation to participate.
  • Provide both positive and constructive feedback on marketing’s efforts.  As much as they’d like to, marketers can’t read your mind and things won’t improve if you don’t take personal ownership in the process. Constructive criticism gets you both more of what you want–actionable leads that progress through the pipeline.
  • Even if you’ve had bad experiences in the past, never (ever!) ignore, drop, or mishandle a lead. Follow up within 24-48 hours. If it’s not a good lead, if you were unable to reach the prospect, or if you learn that it’s simply not sales-ready, inform marketing immediately and be sure to suggest what would make it actionable in the future. Stewing over bad leads only leads to more misalignment between you and marketing.
  • Always appreciate the marketing dollars that are spent to support you. If you take marketing for granted, one day you’ll wake up and the dollars won’t be there. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen marketing budgets cut or eliminated in favor of hiring another salesperson.  The answer to a company’s revenue challenges isn’t to add one more struggling salesperson – it’s improving the productivity of the existing team so you can sell more while spending less to make it happen.

It’s time for us to realize that we cannot succeed without each other. It is time to stop the blame game. No more complaining about each other. Let’s work together to make magic happen. Because if we don’t work together, we’ll fail together. For every poorly aligned team, there’s one that’s completely in sync, focusing its energy on winning and not on complaining or blaming each other for their failures–and they’ll beat you every time if you’re not among them.

If you have additional insight or ideas to add to these lists of Dos and Don’ts, please join the conversation. If you’re wondering how to make this magic happen, we can help.

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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