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Four Fixes for the Sales and Marketing Rift

Will Spendlove 1Today's guest post is by Will Spendlove, vice president of product marketing at InsideView Inc.


In product marketing, we spend half of our time thinking over and over again about how we can message our product or solutions to the market. Will our message resonate? Will customers care what we have to say? Will people act after hearing our story? Then we figure out how to deliver these messages and stories in the most compelling ways. 

We also hope sales will embrace the message and deliver it to prospects.

Consider the following:

  • Marketers struggle with being viewed as a cost center or revenue-generating function.
  • Marketers need to get away from using the word cost. “Cost per lead” should be stated as “investment per lead.”
  • Marketers are good at measuring activity and bad at measuring outcomes. 

But the ultimate partnership is when sales and marketing march side by side, speaking the same language. Here are four ways you can ensure that your sales and marketing teams are doing just that.

1. Make the sales team part of messaging strategy.

Marketing spends weeks and weeks defining corporate and product messaging and positioning strategy. This is often done in the recesses of the marketing organization.  Asking your marketing counterparts to include you in the strategy and review cycle will ensure that they are using the words and creating the stories you and your team need to succeed.

2. Ensure marketing rides along with sales.

Invite key-product marketing and corporate marketing members to come along on sales calls and meetings. This will help them understand customer objectives and pain and how salespeople speak to customers. They can then take this back to their teams to build the best messages.

3. Build sales tools together.

Often, the sales team throws requests “over the wall” to marketing (demo scripts, call decks, customer stories, playbooks) and expects a great result. But only by collaborating on the objectives, format, and content will the tools be truly useful. If marketing pushes back, stress that the sales team is the ultimate consumer of the output.

4. Make the chief marketing officer (CMO) your information source.

You have quota and target numbers; why not put marketing on the same path? In his new e-book, Revenue and the CMO: How Marketing Will Impact Revenue Through Big Data & Social Selling, Glen Gow defines the strategic relationship of the CMO and the vice president of sales: “By collecting the information most valuable to sales, and by getting that information to them regularly, CMOs can bridge the gap between creating more sales and building more valuable relationships with buyers.  Bridging the two ultimately leads to greater revenue…”    

Everyone is in this together, and marketing managers will be much more willing to collaborate if they feel the thrill of hitting a number with the sales team.

How are you working to speak the same language as your marketing counterparts? Share your stories in the comments section below.


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