“Siblings: Children of the same parents, each of whom is perfectly normal, until they get together.” – Sam Levenson
It’s a known fact: Sales and Marketing are like squabbling siblings. They can’t live with each other and they cannot live without. In a family, it can create awkward gatherings and endless bickering. But for businesses, the Sales and Marketing sibling rivalry – rife in companies of all sizes and across segments – has a significant material impact on revenue. In fact, a whopping $1 trillion per year is wasted on lost Sales productivity across B2B companies… and that is probably just a fraction of what is really occurring. On the flip side, B2B companies experience 208% increased revenue with alignment between Sales and Marketing.
There is clearly a direct connection between alignment and revenue. Research shows that lack of alignment drives losses and achieved alignment drives revenue. They go hand in hand. Companies experience 38% higher Sales win rates with aligned Sales and Marketing, yet fail to convert a whopping 79% of leads when the organizations are not aligned. That’s some serious cash left on the table, just because of Sales and Marketing sibling squabbles.
The reality is that many companies do not realize they suffer from lack of alignment or, if they do, they do not know how to resolve it. The modus operandi is to conduct internal analysis, sometimes supplemented by data, and re-define processes, language, technology, and common metrics. There are entire consulting firms and practices focused on this issue, as well as hundreds of books, conference tracks, blog posts, technologies and methodologies. Although these approaches may have merit, they are sometimes barking up the wrong tree and can even widen the divide.
What will bridge the gap? It is really a question of WHO will bridge the gap. And the trillion dollar answer is….
Evolving into a customer-centric organization helps drive enhanced revenue and alignment. In an ideal world, Customers drive Sales and Sales drives Marketing. This outside-in approach is an integral element of how the leading incubators approach start-ups: by understanding the market need and pain points to develop tailored solutions that will succeed in-market. (Ref: Flashpoint Startup Engineering, developed by Dr. Merrick Furst at Georgia Tech http://flashpoint.gatech.edu/startup-engineering)
Customer insight is highly actionable and should be treated as such. It not only informs product and service innovation or business creation, it can – and should – be tapped to build buyer-centric go-to-market plans, target audience definition, Marketing strategy, and content development. Too often, companies rely on flat data and/or inside expertise alone to define these planning elements. Creating Sales and Marketing strategies in the confines of a conference room skews decisions – and can have dramatic negative impact on a business.
Further, more data-agile companies may use customer inputs to conduct Sales training or to develop new Marketing campaigns, but does their go-to-market strategy take customer wants and needs into consideration? Does the Marketing strategy adapt? Does the Sales process evolve? Does Sales and Marketing content morph to incorporate it? Are customer touch-points re-evaluated, such as product packaging and customer service?
To boot, the market is demanding and responding to more and more personalization, fueled by technology and social media. The pressure is on for companies to tell a compelling and differentiated story that incites emotion and action. Inside-out Sales and Marketing is becoming less relevant.
Customers want to be heard. They want their needs to be addressed. They want their pain to be healed, their problems to be solved. By listening to and regularly engaging customers and prospects – beyond static, quantitative data – then building strategy and content on that input, Sales and Marketing teams will have a more harmonious relationship not only with current and prospective buyers, but also with each other. Outside-in alignment, voilà! We call this Sales ResonanceSM.
Seeking and fostering Sales Resonance will not only save you money and valuable time that would have been spent on alignment technologies and/or workshops (that have a very short lifecycle), you will also enhance revenue opportunities through nurtured customer relationships that retain and grow the bottomline.
And that’s an investment worth making.