Summit focuses on sales, marketing transformation

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More than 500 b-to-b marketers met at the SiriusDecisions 2010 Summit last month in Scottsdale, Ariz., to learn how to transform their marketing and sales organizations to be more effective and profitable. In an opening keynote speech, Leif Pederson, VP-marketing for 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 its 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.” Since the lead-nurturing program has been 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 biggest challenges facing 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,' ” he said. Several marketers presented case studies on how they are aligning sales and marketing organizations, with demonstrated results. Andy Miller, president-CEO of teleconferencing company Polycom, and Heidi Melin, senior VP-CMO, discussed how they have implemented a global alignment between marketing and sales. “When I joined the company two years ago, marketing was viewed as an expense, not an investment area,” Melin said. “There was a real lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities, and no one knew who was supposed to be doing what. We didn't have any kind of metrics or measurement, and no way to measure the value marketing was bringing to the table.” Miller, who was exec VP-global field operations at the time, and Melin introduced a global sales and marketing realignment program that included setting common goals and definitions, implementing a global sales automation system and establishing a lead-nurturing program. As a result of the program, Polycom has increased the productivity of its sales team by one day per week, resulting in millions of dollars of savings, Miller said. In another presentation, Maxine Graham, senior director-global integrated marketing and operations at Blue Coat Systems, and Peter Johnson, senior manager-marketing operations, discussed how they implemented a global sales and marketing realignment at the network security and management company. “We wanted to make sure we had much tighter data integration between our sales and marketing automation platforms, get standard definitions in place, put in place common business processes, build a defensible ROI and establish industry best practices,” Graham said. The joint effort between marketing, sales and marketing operations included an internal audit, development of common definitions, new business processes for lead nurturing, data cleansing and a closed-loop measurement system. “The most important thing is, we have a single, global process and reporting system,” Graham said. “In every region, people are reporting information the same way. We have a much higher level of trust in the data, and we have gotten tons of increased visibility.” Pointing to direct results from the effort, she said since the program was implemented, marketing's contribution to the pipeline was up 68%, and its contribution to wins, up 73%. M
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