How to treat the seven symptoms of a broken sales and marketing relationship
Peter Strohkorb offers seven solutions for common misalignments between sales and marketing departments.
We are talking about your sales force and your marketing team working together more effectively to grow your business. It makes sense, doesn’t it? The business invests in both to gain a good return on that investment. So you would want them to work as well together as is possible, right?
What happens if they don’t? The business loses money.
Have you encountered some of these comments about marketing by sales staff?
- “The sales leads we get from marketing are useless, they may as well give me the phone book”, or
- “sales brings in the money, and marketing spends it”,
Conversely, I have heard marketers say this about their sales peers:
- “We give them good sales leads, but they are too lazy or too incompetent to follow them up”,
- “what would sales reps know about marketing anyway?” and,
- “marketers have university degrees, sales reps don’t.”
It is easy to see when there is a gap between marketing and sales. But it’s the whole story. Sometimes the symptoms are more subtle, or they manifest themselves in different ways.
What are the symptoms of poor marketing and sales collaboration?
I have put together seven of the more common signs for you here, together with my recommended solutions, and with their projected outcomes. I’ll be interested to hear your feedback and whether you have stories of your own to contribute.
Let’s look at seven of the most common signs:
1. Our sales reps are not achieving their sales targets
“Over 67% of sales professionals do not achieve their personal sales quota.” – TheTAS Group.
Solution: give your sales and marketing leaders the ability to monitor what content your top reps use, and then help them to use that information to boost the performance of your lower performing reps.
Result: we lifted sales performance across the board by leveraging the precious sales know-how of our top sales performers and making it available to all our reps.
2. Our sales force does not fully utilise Marketing’s collateral and sales leads
(And – even worse – our sales reps are spending their precious time creating their own marketing material, instead of selling.)
“Only 25% of sales leads and collateral that marketing creates is ever used by sales teams.” – IDC.
Solution: establish a structured and collaborative feedback mechanism between sales and marketing that focuses both teams on what really works for our customers and prospects.
Result: our sales reps now sell more, faster because marketing now receives valuable information straight from the front line to support our salespeople more effectively.
3. The sales reps do not use our CRM system properly
Might also sound like: ‘our sales pipeline is out of control’, ‘too many sales opportunities are being deferred’, or ‘the whole sales process seems to take forever’.
“Up to 60% of sales leads are stuck at do nothing, i.e. at ‘wait and see.'” – Sales Benchmark Index.
Solution: more effective collaboration between marketing and sales supports the sales force with the information, subject matter insight and the argumentation they need to advance and close the sale faster.
Result: our time to sale was significantly reduced and our reps are much more confident in dealing with more senior executive buyers.
4. Our newly hired sales reps take too long to become productive
“Almost 78% of newly hired sales reps take six months or longer to become fully proficient at selling.” – Accenture.
Solution: help your sales teams to ramp up more quickly and to accelerate their sales through fast and easy access to the right marketing collateral and information.
Result: we lifted sales performance across the board by helping reps to access the right content at the right time through our central content repository.
5. We do not have a clear picture of what our customers think of our sales and marketing efforts
“More than half of the information that marketers use comes from their previous experience, or from their intuition.” – IDC.
Solution: have an unencumbered and neutral third party interview your customers to help you to better understand where your opportunities for improvement really are. Then work with your sales and marketing teams towards a more collaborative and customer-focused mindset that sets the business up for growth.
Result: we now have the insight we need to grow our business because our teams now have sufficient clarity on our customers’ experience to continually adjust our marketing materials and sales techniques to boost our performance.
6. We are exposed to high risk as valuable sales know-how and corporate knowledge walks out of our door every night in our sales reps’ heads
Solution: retain valuable sales know-how within your business by capturing it from your high performing sales champions, and infuse your average performers with it.
Result: by capturing our ever-growing sales know-how, ‘tribal knowledge’ and intellectual property (IP) we reduced our risk, just in case our high performers decide to move on.
7. Our business environment does not attract and retain enough high performing talent
Solution: work with your leaders and their teams to establish a collaborative mindset to create the kind of team environment that encourages your people to give their best, to boost their engagement, and to lift overall performance.
Result: we attract more high performers to our organisation and they stay with us longer because our staff engagement is lifted right across our entire business. Our new high performing work environment is now based on empowerment and collaboration, and it attracts a superior calibre of candidates, lifting our capability, skills, and internal and external relationships.
Do you have any of these seven signs in your business?
Peter Strohkorb is CEO of Peter Strohkorb Consulting International.
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