Sales and Marketing Alignment Begins With Your Customer

50 percent of B2B sales staff keep missing their quotas. It’s a problem as old as business itself.  The culprit, according to sales, is the quality and volume of leads from marketing. The marketing department may be quick to snap back that sales is ignoring their leads or not trying hard enough to close them.  When the squabbling causes the revenue pipeline to become even more unpredictable, that gets the CEO’s attention..... Read the full article on Forbes.

Change or Die

We’re waking up from a daze that started when marketing results became increasingly unreliable and change whacked us in the head and flipped decades of established marketing and sales practices upside-down. Lori Wizdo also noted that buyers expect a personal touch yet sales departments are still pushing products instead of building relationships. As a result 50 percent of sales don’t meet their quotas and only three percent of customers feel their interactions with sales are meaningful.... Read the complete post on Forbes.

Stop Kicking the Customer Loyalty “Can”

The adage says that it’s cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one. Nevertheless, companies routinely don’t focus on “the customer” or on how the relationship is going. It’s often not until the customer complains or a quarter-end sales opportunity is identified that the state of the relationship is investigated..... Read the complete post on Forbes.

How CMOs can use Social Tactics to Outsell Sales

I'm presenting a session about embracing Buyers’ Journey during DemandCon, taking place in San Francisco during March 5-7, 2012. Click through to see more details...  

On a Quest at DreamForce 2011

Salesforce's DreamForce event is being held in San Francisco this week and I'm going.  Equipped with a much sought after Press Pass, I'm attending, for the first time, as a blogger for Forbes.  I'm on a Quest. The Quest is to understand how IT vendors help companies discover and align to their Buyers Journey. Do vendors understand this transformation and what products support sales and marketing in understanding their target markets' Buyers Journeys?  

Customer Acquisition is a Myth

The economy is working on rebounding and companies are gearing up.  Pipelines and revenues are heading north and hiring along with it.  But something in this rebound is different. For new sales hires, the expectation is that they join with a solid book of business and a pipeline already in hand; even for companies where the ramp time for sales people to achieve repeatable revenue productivity is six to nine months.  Same goes for marketers. Regardless of the market’s or company’s maturity or readiness the expectation of newly hired marketing leaders is that they produce a significant uptick in pipelines in 60 to 90 days, regardless of the capabilities or competence of marketing or sales. For many new hires, these are unrealistic and unachievable expectations.  Nevertheless, the message is loud and clear – growth comes only from net new customer acquisition.  

Defining Sales & Marketing Optimization

The need to do more with less, faster has brought sales and marketing to figure out how to work better together.   There is antidotal evidence that over one-third of all B2B companies starting talking about improving their sales and marketing alignment in the middle of last year.  Most of the talk is around lead management - how to get more leads and sales to follow them up.  And there are the inevitable side conversations about marketing or sales leadership and if it is time for a change. These are all good conversations as it means people are open-minded to change on some level.  

Musing with Marketo

Over the past months I've gotten to know the folks at Marketo and their concept of revenue cycle optimization.  At a high level, it's about tightening the processes and feedback loops in attracting, acquiring, collecting and expanding sales opportunities.  Marketo delivers automation technology for the attracting and acquiring part of the process or more commonly known as "the funnel and pipeline".   Higher quality leads from marketing, and more of them, translates into more sales to 'ideal' target customers.  Lead generation and lead management is largely the result of an engine. The more finely-tuned an engine is, and fed with high quality fuel, the better the engine will perform.