SiriusDecisions Summit kicks off with focus on sales and marketing alignment

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Scottsdale, Ariz.—The SiriusDecisions 2010 Summit kicked off Wednesday with the theme “Measure. Align. Transform” and a focus on marketing and sales alignment in b-to-b organizations.

“Our world of b-to-b marketing is changing dramatically,” said Richard Eldh, managing director and co-founder of marketing and sales consultancy SiriusDecisions, which hosts the annual conference. “We have sophisticated data and analytics, and we have the ability to serve dynamic content specifically designed to be of interest to a unique Web visitor. Most progressive organizations have some kind of marketing and sales measurement initiative in place today.”

In an opening keynote speech, Leif Pederson, VP-marketing at Siemens PLM Software, discussed the company's transformation over the past five years from a decentralized organization with very few processes in place to one that is centralized, aligned and sophisticated in measurement and lead-nurturing processes.

“Five years ago, we had no tools, no processes and no measurement,” Pederson said. “We needed to establish fundamental processes to work with sales, get them to accept the lead, nurture the lead and have joint measurement processes.”

Pederson said that since a lead-nurturing process has been put in place with sales and marketing alignment, the average deal size is much larger than deals done without lead nurturing.

In another presentation, John Neeson, managing director and co-founder of SiriusDecisions, said one of the big challenges for b-to-b marketers today is the changing customer buying process and how sales and marketing need to respond.

“Our clients and prospects are saying, ‘We no longer want to be marketed and sold to in a linear fashion. We want to be self-directed and collaborate with you on our terms,'” Neeson said.

He said sales will need to rely more on marketing for internal support, such as developing account-based marketing (marketing specifically designed for key accounts) and participating more in lead nurturing.

“We estimate 30% or more of marketing programs provided to sales are really enablement-oriented,” Neeson said. “Enablement has been a part-time role for marketing and sales operations. Now, a full-time role is beginning to emerge.”

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