I was recently thinking about an event I attended in January. It was the beginning of the year, a Marketo event to celebrate 2010’s sales success.
It was set in a sophisticated yet fun locale, started with drinks, appetizers, and plenty of enthusiastic chit chatting. When we sat down for the dinner and the more formal part of the evening, our SVP of Sales, Bill Binch, got up to say a few words. He walked us through some cleverly-thought-out awards, linked to bands of achievement which our sales reps had worked towards throughout the year. We had good laughs, and In many ways, the evening played out as what you would expect.
The event was, however, subtly different. I don’t work in sales. I, along with the rest of the marketing team, was invited to an event designed to acknowledge and celebrate sales success. Having marketing there seemed at first like a kind gesture. It was, however, more than that.
Listening to our VP of Marketing, Jon Miller, speaking to the group along with Bill Binch, it once again became evident to me that sales and marketing have a lot to gain, or lose, from each other. The unshakable solidarity that we’re experiencing at Marketo is perhaps a symptom of our current growth. Both the sales and marketing teams are truly crushing it. But perhaps it goes deeper than that.
Marketo’s own lead management process – and sales and marketing philosophy – is driven by the same technology that we sell, a lead management, sales insight and revenue analytics platform. These, coupled with Salesforce.com, build the core toolset we use to generate new business at our company. Because these platforms all communicate with one another, the roles of sales and marketing here at Marketo have distinctively become, less distinct.
I’d like to share five things to consider, strategies which have cemented sales and marketing alignment at our company:
- Talk about revenue
Sales success is measured in dollars and cents. As such, revenue talk is not new for sales. Marketers build credibility with their sales counterparts when they visibly work towards that same goal. Marketing metrics like brand visibility and traffic – although important – are too far removed from the end goal and simply don’t resonate with sales reps.
- Use technology which communicates across departments
Having a marketing automation platform which communicates seamlessly with your sales CRM is important for a couple of reasons. By having insight into a prospect’s full history, the rep is able to see the marketing investment in the future customer: ads, emails, webinars, the website, and automated nurturing campaigns. Each of these touch points can move a lead closer to becoming a viable sales opportunity. For marketers, gaining access to sales data allows them to measure and optimize the returns on these investments as the sales rep closes the deal and turns the opportunity into top line revenue.
- Give joint presentations at conferences
Preparing for, and delivering a joint presentation makes a powerful public statement. And the process of working together on the content, slides, and delivery is a great way to learn from each other and strengthen ties.
- Celebrate each other’s success
Recognize that a win for sales is a win for marketing, and vice versa. At Marketo, every new customer sign-up is celebrated, literally with a cow bell and applause, not only by the whole sales team, but by marketing and the rest of the company.
- Marketing, know a lot about your customers
The marketing section of our office is frequented by sales reps in search of reference stories, testimonials, and customer advice. This is because marketing invests time in getting to know and understand our customers. Both marketing and sales have a lifeline to the ultimate driver of future success, the customer.