Three “Lies” That Plague B2B Businesses Today (Part Three of Three)


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The Three “Lies” That Plague B2B Businesses Today Are: 

  1. Cold calling is dead.
  2. 57 – 90% of the buying process is complete before a sales rep needs to get involved.
  3. Marketing and sales are aligned 

Do you agree these are lies?

In late August I asked industry experts that same question and asked them to substantiate their response. The team of experts includes:

Ardath Albee, Marketing Interactions, CEO and Business Strategist

Dave Brock, Partners in EXCELLENCE, President

Deb Calvert, People First Productivity Solutions, President

Ginger Conlon,, Chief Editor of

Matt Heinz, Heinz Marketing, President

Dave Kurlan, Kurlan & Associates, Inc., CEO

Dave Stein, Dave Stein, Inc., Principal

Ruth Stevens, eMarketing Strategy, President

Mike Weinberg, The New Sales Coach, Principal

Today we will take on the third and final of the three lies, that marketing and sales are aligned.

Dave Brock: “And “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”  Actually, this is an “it depends.” What it seems marketing and sales are doing is better defining the silo boundaries. Better defining MQL’s, SQL’s and ABC’s focuses us on the boundaries and how to better defend “Tag you’re it” mentality. It has little to do with alignment, or more importantly integration. In fact, alignment misdirects us, we should be looking at marketing sales integration. We have specialists in marketing and in sales, they need to figure out how to work, nimbly, together through the entire process with the most effective person/job doing their part at various phases of the customer journey. We need to think of integration like a basketball team, each player has their defined role, we practice plays, but work and adjust nimbly based on what it takes to win.”

Dave Stein: “If that were only true, there would be no such thing as sales enablement. Marketing should have two constituencies: External, as in marketing communications, and internal, as providing sales with EVERYTHING they need to be successful. I’ve been observing attempts to align sales and marketing for more than 20 years. Other than in a few cases, it just ain’t working.

Matt Heinz: “Some sales & marketing teams talk about being aligned, but in practice they are not.  They have different goals, different messages, different understandings of the buyer’s journey.  The handoff of prospects from marketing to sales is clunky at best (if it truly exists at all).  There are many reasons for this, but also just as many opportunities for these groups to finally get on the same page and operate more efficiently, productively and successfully moving forward.” Read these for more from Matt:

Dave Kurlan:  Marketing and sales are aligned like Kias and Mercedes are both cars. They both serve an audience – Kias the economy minded buyers and Mercedes the luxury minded buyers. Kias are for getting from point A to B.  Mercedes are for getting there in style. Marketing and sales both serve an audience.  Marketing serves sales, to generate new interest from new prospects.  Sales serves those prospects and their goal is to get their business. They only area in which alignment can be expected is in the messaging, the systems and the processes.

Ginger Conlon: If only. Yes, some companies have figured out the magic formula for aligning marketing and sales–often through shared goals and variable compensation dependent on meeting those shared goals. But many companies still deal with marketing and sales teams that don’t collaborate and may even be at odds, often due to priorities and goals that compete instead of align.

My take: In most organizations, marketing and sales are out of alignment – and, they won’t align if they are left to their own devices. I hear marketers say this all of the time: “My job is to get leads to sales. It is their job to qualify, nurture and close those leads.” From the other side of the aisle: “Most of the leads I get from marketing are of no value. I don’t have time to sort through dozens of tire kickers that are not even with qualified companies.”

Recent “advances” in enabling technology have just made things worse. In fact, marketing automation has made it possible to get more poor quality leads to sales faster than ever before.

There is a solution:

  1. Get the right people in the room (not just sales & marketing) and create a common definition of a lead (what Brian Carroll calls a Universal Lead Definition.
  2. Establish a Judicial Branch to make sure no lead is left behind. Establish what SiriusDecisions calls a demand waterfall: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL’s) become Sales Accepted Leads (SAL) which become Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) and eventually closed / won business. There are benchmarks for each step. The key to this is to make sure leads are proactively rejected or accepted (between MQL and SAL). The Judicial Branch determines where the break down occurs (is it that the lead did not meet the agreed upon definition or because sales gave up on a lead for non-intuitive reasons – like “I called three times and they did not call me back so they must not have been a lead”.)

The truth? Well:

  1. Cold calling is not dead.
  2. 57 – 90% of the buying process is not complete before a sales rep needs to get involved.
  3. Marketing and sales are not aligned

Reach out to me if you want to talk about how to fix problems in your company. 

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dan McDade
Dan McDade founded PointClear in 1997 with the mission to be the first and best company providing prospect development services to business-to-business companies with complex sales processes. He has been instrumental in developing the innovative strategies that drive revenue for PointClear clients nationwide.


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