It found that most salespeople view up to 90% of sales materials created by marketing as valueless. Also, the majority of marketers view most sales-created content as diluting their brands or inaccurately positioning products.
The result is a culture of blame, with each side saying the other is responsible for its own inefficiencies, said Liz Miller, VP-programs and operations at the CMO Council.
“The first problem is a lack of true senior management mandate for sales and marketing alignment,” Miller said. “There are department mandates, whether from a CMO or VP-sales, where they see a need for better alignment, but in many cases there is nothing coming from senior management—for example, having compensation based on alignment between the organizations.”
Another problem is a lack of common vocabulary between sales and marketing. For example, the study found that sales typically views a lead as a prospect that has expressed interest in a particular product, while marketing sees a lead as a contact that has downloaded a white paper from a Web site.
Finally, “there is no clear role and responsibility for the customer experience and handoff between the two organizations,” Miller said. “Where does the handshake occur during the handoff of a lead? In many companies, no one has truly defined the funnel and process along the way.”
Despite these challenges, some b-to-b marketers are taking steps to better align marketing and sales.
Sybase Inc., for example, reorganized its marketing organization last year to centralize what had been separate groups. “We had marketing peppered across many organizations,” said Mark Wilson, VP-corporate marketing. “We had corporate marketing, field marketing, product marketing and pricing in different areas. It was very disjointed.”
Now there is one centralized marketing group, which helps to align marketing with sales, Wilson said. “Now when the CMO talks to the head of worldwide sales, there is more coordination in terms of marketing and how we interact with sales.”
Sybase has also worked to implement better processes for sales and marketing alignment, such as agreeing on terminology.
“Every organization, ours included, has been focused on the process and how we improve the process,” Wilson said. “Over the last two years we have been more solid on a global basis in terms of how we pass a lead off from marketing to sales.”
For example, Sybase uses the terminology "sales-accepted lead' to define leads that have been accepted by the sales organization. “If it is not accepted by the sales organization, it doesn't make it up to that status,” Wilson said.
The company has also recently implemented a lead management and marketing automation system from Eloqua Corp. that is integrated with its Salesforce.com sales management system. Wilson said the automated system has helped Sybase create twice as many campaigns in half the time. “Now we have a systematic approach to better connect between marketing and sales,” he said.
Nortel Networks is also working to improve the alignment between marketing and sales.
Last year, the company implemented a Microsoft Dynamics CRM system across its global organization in a joint effort between sales and marketing.
“One thing you can't do is get really good insight and data in terms of program impact unless you have a consistent CRM tool globally,” said Nortel CMO Lauren Flaherty, who worked in close partnership with her colleagues on the sales side to implement the system.
Nortel also recently selected a vendor to develop a global sales management system, which will also be a joint effort between marketing and sales.
“One of the things you see as CMO is that tools and infrastructure are so important,” Flaherty said. “You have to have accountability and the ability to show the contribution to business, not just in sales, but from the marketing domain.”
Nortel's marketing organization is also putting processes in place to work more closely with sales in driving new business.
This year, for example, for the first time, the marketing group established a goal for campaign-generated leads, which are leads that come from marketing programs without a salesperson involved. It set objectives for the number of leads and value of leads it would generate for the year, and with the new system it is able to track them using a dashboard.
“Now, with the right tools, we are able to look at what marketing actually contributed,” Flaherty said.
Nortel's marketing organization also participates on the company's sales effectiveness council and has sales advisory councils it uses to help provide better tools for the sales department. For example, this year the marketing group developed a sales enablement portal called Bizsphere that contains marketing and sales tools for Nortel sales reps across the globe.
In its study, the CMO Council recommends that companies implement CRM systems and other tools to help align marketing and sales.
However, tools are not enough to effectively bridge the gap between the two groups, according to the CMO Council.
“The responsibility lies with senior management,” Miller said. “Without a senior-level mandate, it is very hard to execute.” M