Marketers meeting at SiriusDecisions Summit 2008 last month [MAY] discussed strategies for integrating sales and marketing in a challenging environment.
“This downturn has not changed our collective focus to effectively and efficiently market and sell our companies' products and services,” said Richard Eldh, co-founder and managing director of SiriusDecisions, a research and advisory services firm that hosted the conference in Las Vegas. “We must be proactive in our pursuit of quality execution.”
According to a recent study by SiriusDecisions, the No. 1 concern of marketers is to more tightly integrate field marketing and demand-creation functions with inside, field and channel sales.
The second concern is developing effective metrics to demonstrate return on marketing and sales investment, followed by driving incremental productivity of field, inside and channel partners.
[STILL CHECKING METHODOLOGY]
Marketers discussed what their companies are doing to more tightly integrate sales and marketing, and how they're using technology and new marketing tactics to drive sales.
“Sales and marketing people have different DNA,” said Janice Chaffin, group president-consumer business unit of Symantec Corp., who delivered the opening keynote presentation.
“Fundamentally, it really is a challenge to keep these two groups aligned. The goal may be the same, but the metrics are different,” said Chaffin, who most recently served as CMO at Symantec.
She discussed integration efforts between sales and marketing at Symantec, which acquired Veritas in 2005.
“This was a big integration. It created a lot of challenges, not just for sales and marketing, but for all functions in the organization,” Chaffin said.
The acquisition doubled Symantec's work force from about 7,000 employees to more than 14,000, and merged functions that previously were separate, including sales and marketing.
Chaffin provided four keys to success for integrating sales and marketing: focusing on the customer; having one set of goals; providing channels for communication; and fostering teamwork.
One of the steps Symantec took to develop more open communication was to implement quarterly sales and marketing meetings, co-chaired by the heads of sales and marketing.
On the teamwork front, Symantec changed its worldwide sales conference to a worldwide sales and marketing conference, at which marketing and sales were trained together on upcoming products and corporate initiatives.
“Leadership really has to set the tone for the alignment,” Chaffin said.
During an instant poll at the conference, only 41% of attendees said their sales and marketing functions were tightly aligned.
Donald Friedman, exec VP-CMO at CA, also discussed the importance of aligning marketing and sales to drive growth.
At CA, formerly Computer Associates, marketing and sales have worked together to come up with common lead definitions and reliable lead transfer from marketing to sales.
Through implementing common processes and standards, up to 90% of marketing qualified leads have turned into sales qualified leads, he said.
In another keynote address, Heather Loisel, VP-global marketing operations at SAP, discussed the importance of marketing operations in driving integration between marketing and sales.
Loisel shared strategies for effective marketing dashboard development, including measurements that are derived from realistic benchmarks and show the contribution of every marketing function.
In a session titled “Integration 2010,” SiriusDecisions analysts shared a model for more closely integrating sales and marketing in b-to-b organizations.
“There are three b-to-b realities that can't be ignored,” said Tony Worley, director of consulting services at SiriusDecisions.
“No. 1, b-to-b buyers cannot be sold. Buyers control the flow of information—you don't.”
The second reality is that sales must constantly adapt to the needs of buyers.
“Traditional sales-cycle thinking is beginning to change,” Worley said. “The power has shifted to the buyer.”
Finally, “Marketing is over-focused on the top of the waterfall,” he said, noting that the average b-to-b marketer spends about 90% of its marketing budget on creating demand for products and services at the top of the sales cycle.
“The traditional role of marketing as demand generation is valuable, but there is a real opportunity to impact the knowledge requirements of sales and have greater impact deeper in the sales cycle,” said Joe Galvin, service director at SiriusDecisions.
Using SiriusDecision's Adaptive-Integration Model, marketing and sales can work together to deliver deeper information to buyers at “knowledge inflection points.”
“As prospects move further along in the buying process, the depth of knowledge they need grows greater,” Galvin said.