I was interviewed by Salesforce.com in the fall about the need for sales and marketing to work more closely together in order to increase sales in B2B companies. Here are three of the key points from the interview to help you kick-start your 2016 revenue growth activities.
1. Balance your relative sales and marketing efforts
There has been a significant change in the purchase process today. Buyers shy away from dealing with sales people early in the buying process, which is why many sales people have fewer opportunities to pitch these days. This trend is only accelerating and is the reason for the growing role of marketing in B2B companies.
The trick for B2B companies is to ramp up their marketing activities, while maintaining their focus on sales activities. It is not an either / or equation (either sales, or marketing). Both are a part of the equation for effective B2B revenue generation. Different companies need a different proportion of sales investment relative to marketing investment.
How do you re-balance your sales and marketing investment? You have two options:
a) Take a portion of your existing sales budget and allocate it to marketing. This might mean letting go of an ineffective sales rep and allocating that budget to marketing.
For more information on making the shift to find the right proportion of sales to marketing, read How To Strike The Balance Between Sales and Marketing.
2. Use systems to make sales and marketing activities transparentOne of the biggest complaints between sales and marketing teams is that they don’t know what the other is doing. This is a complaint both inside AND outside of organizations.
Solving this is a two-step process. The first step is to have a system to capture the information on what each team is doing. In sales, this is usually a CRM system with a dashboard so that it’s easy to see what activities and progress happen from week to week. But, it doesn’t have to be a fancy CRM system or an expensive software, just some mechanism to capture the information so that it can be shared.
For marketing, the system could be a marketing automation platform (a marketer’s version of CRM) that captures all the things that happen in a week. Or, it can be a weekly update on what activities and results have occurred in a given time period (day, week, month).
The second part is to share the information on sales and marketing between the teams. The simplest way to do this is to have marketing attend the sales team’s weekly meeting and share an update, cycle back on anything outstanding from the previous week, and get input from the sales team on various marketing initiatives.
3. Eliminate sales and marketing, and make a Revenue Generation Department
Have you heard the term ‘Chief Revenue Officer’? It’s a big thing in Silicon Valley and is growing elsewhere too. The idea is that sales and marketing will no longer be separate departments in B2B companies and instead will be rolled into a revenue-generation division.
I’ve seen the power of a single head of revenue (ie, the leader responsible for Sales AND Marketing – someone other than the CEO) in some larger B2B companies, and in start-ups. I think this is the way of the future in B2B.
Is your company ready to get rid of its sales department and its marketing department, and move to an integrated, high-performing revenue department? It’s something to think about.
To read the original interview on the Salesforce Canada blog, you can find it here.
And if you’d like more tips on integrating sales and marketing in B2B companies, download the first section of The Radical Sales Shift for free, it shares 20 practical and proven lessons from sales and marketing leaders on how to drive revenue.