Richard talks about a new job function, inside reps who essentially push leads further along the funnel to arrange a tipping point exploitable by outside sales. This position may not carry a sales quota, but may be compensated with bonuses for leads hitting a certain stage in the pipeline, he said.
“Their function is to take prospects who are passively interested because of marketing and take them from there to where they're actively interested,” he said. “Their job isn't to close but to manage the process.”
Such a revamped organization—or some other version that forces sales and marketing to work more closely—may be a logical complement to enhanced marketing and sales automation.
“When you talk about the root cause of why marketing and sales can't achieve a particular objective, it's about a failure to communicate,” said Tim Suther, CMO of marketing services company Acxiom. When talking about revamping a company's revenue-production organization, Suther feels sales should take priority.
“The high vote goes to the sales people,” he said. “At the end of the day, marketing exists to generate demand, to make sales' job easier.”
At Acxiom, Suther said, a goal of his own marketing team—its quota, if you will—is close rate.
“Some would say marketing doesn't have control over that, but it gives clarity around your branding,” he said. “If your branding doesn't come up with a better close rate, what good is it?”
Tibco Software is another company that has revamped much of the traditional functions of sales and marketing. A global provider of middleware solutions to help connect corporate systems and processes, Tibco marketing and sales are almost indistinguishable.
“I don't have sales under me, but the call center is under me,” said Ram Menon, exec VP-worldwide marketing, for the company. “In addition, a large percentage of my marketing team actually does sales calls. We go shoulder to shoulder with sales, deliver the message and hear the feedback.
“When you create that kind of alignment in-house between your sales and marketing people, it builds trust in the customer,” Menon said.