SiriusDecisions Summit: B2B Sales & Marketing Alignment, New Optimism [and Proof!]

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The SiriusDecisions Summit (#sds11) is an annual pilgrimage for top sales and marketing leaders from Fortune 500 companies and major SMBs. As is traditional each year, major event themes focus on how sales and marketing can improve collaboration, and together drive better business results.

This year was no different. Attendees benefitted from in-depth analyst presentations focused on topics such as driving greater alignment and accountability, new approaches to lead nurturing, improving sales quality, next-generation product management and marketing, and B2B marketing technology. Plenty of break-out sessions targeted timely social media, sales enablement and online marketing topics. Popular case study-driven keynotes were heavy on providing proof of the benefits of sales and marketing alignment at work, with presentations from Iron Mountain, Kronos, F5 Networks, American Express Canada and Hexaware Technologies.

One keynote in particular, from F5 Networks (@f5networks), outlined a journey in successfully aligning sales and marketing. The presenters discussed the components that drove their success, including applying the demand waterfall and effective demand management techniques. They covered the importance of marketing operations and marketing automation’s pivotal role in their success. Attendees learned what organizations should avoid when venturing on their own marketing and sales alignment journey, as well as best practices for a successful program. Based on tweets from attendees posted during the presentation, here is a summary of key challenges and results:

  • Weekly business operations meeting had metrics from the entire business. Except marketing.
  • Creating a marketing operations role and agreeing on a common language were keys to generating marketing and sales alignment.
  • F5 initiated a weekly review of the entire waterfall JOINTLY with sales and marketing, saying its “nirvana” was having a great plan and a good flow of information they can act on.
  • Emphasized that a marketing automation platform is an “absolute must have,” with cost-per-leads way down as a result of that investment. [F5 uses Neolane, “because we have a big business with real scale”].
  • Other tips and advice included: “Maximize intelligence, minimize minutia” – related to business reporting; and “be prepared to educate skeptics. The need to educate should NOT be a surprise.”

And, with data like “marketing inquiries went from 1.7% of pipeline to 13.2% of pipeline” and the fact that F5 drives $38.70 in pipeline (vs. $2.40 only two years ago) for every $1 in marketing, it’s no wonder F5 won the coveted SiriusDecisions “Return on Integration Award.”

For more great highlights from this year’s event, we’ve pulled some of our favorite tweets. What were your best experiences and take-a-ways from the show?

Our votes for some of the top tweets/best content:

@B2BMKT: Great overview Summary of Iron Mountain Keynote at SiriusDecisions: http://t.co/Z9R0ghL #b2b, #SDS11 via @b2bcmo

@megheuer: Companies who use social media as part of integrated #b2b strategy see up to 20% increase in responses says @jbock #sds11

@megheuer On average, it takes a salesperson 3 to 4 months longer to lose a deal than to win one says @jninivaggi #sds11 #sales #b2b

@abneedles: Don’t create content that doesn’t have a role in your buyer’s process. via @siriusdecisions #SDS11 #B2B

@megheuer: Lesson from every speaker at #sds11: Change requires senior-level support, process, technology, data…and patience! #b2b

@KMHambleton 4 major categories of b2b events: tradeshows, live events, customer events, and virtual events @tjaros #sds11

@cahidalgo: There are ways to measure event viability beyond just number of leads – via @tjaros #sds11 #events #metrics

@abneedles: “Great content requires effort + discipline + hard work + strategy.” via @izjay #SDS11 #B2B

@jcousineau: @izjay says focus on buyer’s journey requires more complex, granular, content #sds11

@wittlake: Emerging role: the Content Strategist or Content Czar. cc @carmenhill #sds11

@cahidalgo: 2 Primary criteria for audience segmentation: who they are and how they buy #sds11 #b2b

@wittlake: If content is king, why is lack of budget and strategy such a challenge? Clearly not top priority. #sds11

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kristin Hambelton
Kristin Hambelton is responsible for all marketing efforts for Neolane including corporate communications, branding, product marketing, demand generation, partner marketing, and operations.

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