How a Marketing Leader Saved the Year for Sales


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CMO Saved Year For Sales AwardEvery Marketing Leader wants to avoid getting labeled that they deliver poor leads. CMO’s strive to run best-in-class programs. They love successful programs. They love industry recognition and awards. That’s why it stings when you feel like the sales team is your downfall. This reminds me of a story from a client this time last year. She uncovered the root problem for sales and helped them make the company number.

Meet Kathy, a VP of Marketing whose team supports a 25+ sales rep company. She had believed her sales & marketing organization was perfectly aligned until a problem occurred. Q3 was approaching and the sales team was demanding more quality leads. Kathy’s team had rocked Q1 and didn’t suspect any future shortfall. In fact, they had doubled down on what was working well in Q1. They were also investing more in social media. What could go wrong with that? In Kathy’s eyes, she was setting the company up for a great year.

Q2 is now at its end

Sam, the VP of Sales is knocking at Kathy’s door. He was getting beat up by the CEO. The Q2 review did not go well. He said, “My sales managers pointed to the lack of leads as their downfall.” Sam, who is usually very friendly to Kathy, is upset with her. He was banking on a quarterly bonus to take his family to Disney World. Now he’s worried about his job and thinks Kathy’s team is to blame. Marketing proves to be an effective scapegoat.

Kathy thinks to herself, it is Sam’s fault. We are running a world-class marketing department. Her staff is full of ‘A’ players and trusted disciples of her direction. This must be a problem with the Sam’s team. Kathy’s now worried that Sam’s team’s inability to close leads will ruin her reputation.

The next day

After Kathy had time to reflect, she rolled up her sleeves. She was determined to find a solution to help Sam fix the problem. Not knowing where to start, she started googling. This led her to become overwhelmed with information and noise. She forwarded a few articles to her team to research but nothing earth shaking. Next, she decided to reach out to her peers on LinkedIn. She asked her personal network of CMO friends for advice.

That week, she got a reply from what she now calls, “the best recommendation ever”. This was a reply from Mark, a CMO of a software company with 125+ reps. His message to her was to “Read SBI’s blog like it’s the Gospel”. He said, “Some days the blog posts are written to marketing leaders. Some days it’s written to others in the sales organization. However, I read almost all of them. It gives me a well-rounded sense of how sales & marketing work together. It gives me a glimpse into other world-class organizations. It’s like knowing how a fine tuned engine should look and sound. The best part is every post provides a tool or guide. I think I have more downloads from SBI content than I have from iTunes.” Kathy was intrigued enough to subscribe.

A month later

Kathy’s turnaround started taking shape after she read a post on lead generation alignment. The tool provided in the post only took her 7 minutes to discover the root problem. Her team and the sales team were in fact not aligned. The 10 Point Checklist for Lead Gen Alignment surprised her of the result. The guidance included deep definitions of world-class attributes of sales and marketing alignment. She realized the specific feedback her team was receiving was just mud. There were no specific details on why the leads were no good. In addition, this root problem uncovered they needed a Return to Nurture program.

With this discovery, things only got better. When Q4 arrived, Sam’s team had more sales ready leads than they could handle. Enough momentum had built up that the year-end number was met with the close of a deal just before New Year’s Eve.

Key takeaway:

Even if you think your marketing team is delivering flawlessly. Invest ongoing time in reading and benchmarking against other world-class organizations. Kathy thought her team was perfect and it was all Sales fault. The fault was that both Marketing and Sales were not aligned like she believed. This resulted in poor practices that hurt the sales reps that Marketing was supporting. Just like the routine maintenance on a car, check your alignment often. Download the 10 Point Checklist for Lead Gen Alignment.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Koehler
John Koehler serves as Director of Demand Generation at SBI. He specializes in top of the funnel activities. John has extensive expertise in Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, Web Analytics, Search Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing, Social Media, Social Selling, Buying Process Maps and A/B Testing.


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