“2/3 of salespeople believe marketers are wasting time on fancy events and branding activities when they would be better served focusing on tactics that directly impact the sales pipeline. Similarly, the majority of marketing pros consider salespeople boastful and showmen.” (Dan Sincavage B2B Community)
Marketing and sales share the same end goal: gain and retain customers. But different time horizons for results, branding strategies, focus, and methods get in the way of a synchronized team leveraging content. The fast pace of communication in our Digital World exacerbates the conflict between sales and marketing.
Recently, a VP of Marketing relayed to us their marketing department’s discordance with sales. Though they thoroughly researched business sales techniques, Buyer Personae and competitive differentiators, worked with excellent editing and publishing, Marketing still felt like they were throwing clear, accessible content over the wall to Sales. And the VP of Sales agreed with that. His team did not use the provided content as it was too high level, not focused on the current prospect, and difficult to research and find.
Criticism of the current system helped the VP of Marketing understand why his team looked at the successful sales reps as “rogue Agents” blazing their own trail. Furthermore, the VP of Sales was astonished at the amount of time and effort to create usable tools for the sales teams. Both VPs started imagining the productivity gains they could deliver if this all worked differently and cohesively.
CI Squared inquired how this conflict was affecting revenue, costs and profit margins, customer satisfaction or employee engagement. The VPs both laughed and said, “besides the dirty looks in the hallway and exasperation on both sides?” But they began to analyze the effects on the aforementioned areas of business which aligned with major research on sales and marketing operations:
–Energy and resources wasted. Though marketing invests in research, writing, editing, printing, and publishing content, according to Sirius Decisions, 65% remains unused by sales.
–Opportunity wasted If marketing wasn’t spending time on unusable content, what could they be doing? Could these other activities increase productivity and lead to higher revenues?
–Time wasted– According to Aberdeen Group, sales reps spend 43 hours per month searching for the right content instead of selling in front of the customer, wasting valuable selling and customer facing time. What if those 43 hours were used to accelerate a deal, or find a new one?
–Revenue lost-Misaligned content can result in delivering the wrong message that negatively affects the customer. It creates friction, misunderstanding of your solution, the customer not feeling heard leading to longer sales cycle, drawn out buy-in or even loss of a big deal.
Calculating these specific numbers caused these two executives to take action and develop an integrated sales team development plan and collaborative framework for Marketing to deliver content that Sales could use. In addition, they established improved communication skills in the form of a feedback loop for Sales to circle back to Marketing with constructive dialogue and questions. In effect, a common culture and language to increase productivity and revenue was created. CI2 was lucky enough to partner with them on this journey with astounding results.
Despite the enormity of this problem, most executives only see the tip of this massive iceberg. Do you know the magnitude of this problem in your Company? If you think it’s smooth sailing, validate your intuitions with two groups Copyrighters and Sales people. Ask one of your copyrighters how and when sales uses their content. Ask 2 salespeople how they use marketing content and how much time they spend monthly building their own?
If these answers disturb you, we would love to help.
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