An interim CEO, CMO or CSO charged with transforming a company’s revenue performance is going to assess how well aligned the marketing and sales functions are to each other and to the market. Misalignment between Sales and Marketing is a common cause of under-performance and inefficiency, after all.
Identifying that misalignment exists within the organization is relatively easy and even can be measured via an Alignment Index . However, solving the problem long term has proven very difficult. An interim executive with revenue responsibility is likely on point to “fix it” and fix it quick.
The results of a poll on this topic are enlightening even though the poll is not statistically representative. Responses in the poll suggest that the lack of B2B marketing skills within the Marketing department are the leading obstacle to achieving long-lasting alignment with Sales.
The poll asked the question, “What is the biggest obstacle to successfully aligning Marketing and Sales long term?” The choices given are:
- Culture–lack of commitment and trust
- Technology–lack of CRM, etc.
- Process–lack of a shared action plan
- Funnel–lack of funnel definitions, roles
- Skills–lack of the right skills in Marketing
Lack of the right skills within the Marketing organization has received 50% of the responses thus far. Lack of commitment and trust within Marketing and Sales is second most popular choice having been selected by 35% of the respondents. Lack of agreement to funnel stage definitions and roles is third most common obstacle to alignment with 14% of respondents.
My experience as consultant and interim executive in scores of B2B companies over past nine years validates this finding. The talented, eager, creative people in Marketing lack critical know-how to be strong strategic and tactical partners with Sales. The type of B2B marketing skills necessary for success in today’s companies are not taught in most Universities.
The required skills and best practices don’t always come to Marketers from years on the job if careers are spent in unsophisticated companies without strong marketing leadership.
The poll results suggest that companies wishing to align Marketing and Sales are smart to first invest in black-belt level of B2B marketing training for their Marketing teams.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
As a consultant and interim marketing executive I am exposed to a variety of business and organizational situations every year. Without fail when attempting to transform the performance of the marketing and sales team with best practices I run into a stiff headwind blowing through the hallways and between the cubicles.
Unfortunately I know of more than one case where investments were made in research, training and technology only to have the initiative stall out before the benefits could be realized.
The number one reason best practices fail in sales and marketing is because the environment is un-trusting, uncooperative, passive-aggressive, caustic, and in some cases even poisonous.
Recognize the place?
The work environment within sales and marketing in so many companies has taken on these negative characteristics slowly over time. Unfortunately it is cumulative. People in the organization have memories. Stories are passed from old hires to new hires. The negativity self-fulfills.
In short, our sales and marketing organization—the one we depend on for life-giving revenue today and in the future—is effectively working in the past. Instead of working together in every way with a shared vision of performance, the people in these departments stumble about with eyes locked onto the rear view mirror.
Best practices can’t be expected to generate breakthrough performance in sales and marketing if the people are carrying around negative baggage—both personal and organizational– from the past.
I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts and actual examples (please keep company names out of your posts)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Do you suspect that the marketing function at your company is not doing enough to help grow revenue and move the company forward? If these thoughts are in your mind don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. There exists in many B2B companies a “marketing malaise” that is a drag on company performance.
Much can be done in 3-4 months to transform the marketing function into a finely tuned and inspired machine.
I give an overview of my approach in a Flash presentation called, “Transforming the Marketing Function in B2B Companies: The Road to World-Class Performance”. View the presentation. No registration required.
Please share your comments and thoughts on the topics after you’ve seen the presentation.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The newest Manpower employment survey was released on December 9. It revealed that 67% of the companies surveyed planned to hold steady their staff levels in Q1 2009. Caution is in the wind. Most companies are taking a wait and see position and who can blaim them.
For really smart companies this is a great time to sock it to their competition with the help of interim marketing and sales talent, of course.
Taking a “wait and see” attitude doesn’t mean your company should put itself in neutral. It simply means taking a conservative stance in terms of headcount for full time employment. Use interim sales and marketing leadership to help you accomplish those mission-critical initiatives or fill key vacancies for a season. This is an opportune time to gain market share from those competitors who are hiding in their dens afraid the sky is falling.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )