Lack of tight sales and marketing integration can be masked, experts say, by already robust sales or lack of serious competition. But when the two functions drift, it shows up in higher costs associated with sales—in particular the addition of sales support staff—and delays in the sales cycle.
“The problem is revealed not in closing business once sales has qualified leads but rather in finding those leads, getting them interested and creating urgency,” said Bob Schmonsees, a marketing consultant and author of “Escaping the Black Hole: Minimizing the Damage from the Marketing and Sales Disconnect” (Texere, 2005).
Measuring success can be just as vague; pinning marketing dollars spent to sales dollars gained isn't easy, but Dow Jones for one follows up on every point of customer contact.
“In the first year, our measurable results from lead generation were in the seven figures, and our results have, at a minimum, doubled each subsequent year,” Scott said. He added that Dow Jones wants to make sales and marketing “one continuous effort rather than separate ones.”
As competition increases, the greatest urgency may simply be in not overlooking any source of advantage.
“The point is, if your company is more aligned and coordinated, and everyone is sharing knowledge and saying the same thing, it will do better,” said Schmonsees. “Measuring alignment is like measuring a happy marriage. It's just so much common sense.” M