Dear B2B salespeople,
I am a B2B marketer and, for some time, have felt compelled to write to all of you about the often discussed yet never solved marketing and sales alignment gap. In no way is the intent of my letter to cast aspersions upon you or point the finger for the gap that exists between us. This letter is meant to serve as an apology to all of you on behalf of all of us B2B marketers (and since I am writing on behalf of all B2B marketers, I will speak as the collective “we”).
We hope this letter is accepted with the sincerity in which it was written. We hope it can be the start of something transformational between marketing and sales. We truly believe that to adapt to the changing B2B buyer, we must work together in a collaborative fashion and that, in doing so, we will deliver incredible value to our customers and increase our companies’ revenue exponentially.
We know that we have a rocky past, but we are committed to a healthy future together. To get there, we vow that we will build our relationship in the future by doing the following:
We Will Listen
As marketers, we’re aware of our tendency to talk. We are full of good ideas, and we are aware of our ability to make things look pretty. We are also aware of our aptitude for pulling numbers and putting them in PowerPoint presentations to show how successful our marketing campaigns have been. However, we have also come to realize that we are really bad at listening. Sure, we know that every once in a while we send an email asking for sales input, but in reality, we haven’t given your responses much consideration. Starting now, that will change. We will continually involve you in our work. We want to know what you need from marketing to be successful. We want to know what you mean when you use the word “lead” so that we can deliver quality ones to you. And not only will we listen, but we’ll translate that listening into action.
We Will Work With You to Deliver a Process-Based Lead-Management Approach
We know that in the past we have taken a very “top of the funnel” (i.e. lead generation) approach to our marketing. We know that when “leads” came into the funnel, all we did was dump them on you, so you could follow up and sell. We then went back to our PowerPoint presentations, so we could tell management about all the leads we generated.
But now, in listening to you, we have realized that what we generated were not really “leads.” They were more like “responses.” To correct this, we promise to develop, in collaboration with you, a lead-management approach so that you receive only the best quality leads. This process will ensure that all leads are managed through the buying process. By marketing this way, we hope to help you increase the conversion rates on the leads you will receive, which will ultimately increase your sales numbers.
In addition, as part of this process, we will work to ensure the integrity of our marketing and sales data. We will ask you to help us plan our quota (i.e. the amount of revenue for which marketing will be responsible, and the number of leads it will take to get there). We will ask you to help us build a lead-qualification framework. We will ask for your help in developing nurture strategies that help push deals through the pipeline in a more timely fashion. We need your help to build this lead-management framework effectively.
We Will Become Coin-Operated
We confess that when we are in our marketing meetings, we often talk about sales being “coin-operated” as if it’s some kind of disease. We understand that coin-operated (i.e. having a revenue creation mindset) is a healthy way to look at our business. Please forgive us for the derision. Going forward, you can consider us coin-operated marketers. We will look at our marketing success in terms of the number of leads you accept from us and how many of those leads contribute to revenue. We will deliver reports that show the revenue we have helped create through our campaigns. We look forward to helping you create more revenue for our company. We will need your help in this area as we are not accustomed to working this way. As part of our commitment, we will make our marketers compensation tied to revenue, just like you. In doing so we will share the burden with you and be more aligned towards a common goal.
We Will Market by the Numbers
We will no longer market by activity-driven pressures. We will not attend events, send emails, buy online ads or run social campaigns simply because it is “what we have always done” or because “we have money in the budget to do so.” Instead, we will measure our campaigns based on their contribution to revenue. We will then continue to run those campaigns which contribute to revenue, and do away with those that do not. We will use business intelligence that we derive from both marketing and sales metrics to help us plan for the future. (We’ll need you to share your metrics with us.)
We Will Be Accountable and View You as Our Customer
We will no longer point the finger at sales, blaming you for “not getting it” or suggesting that more diligent follow up on leads by you will solve our problems. We will be open with you, sharing our failures. We will learn from them and seek to improve. We will also share our successes with you. Together, we’ll show management how we’ve created more revenue for our organizations. We won’t hide behind insignificant data such as “opens” and “clicks.” We’ll focus on numbers such as lead to sale conversions and marketing pipeline contribution. Based on metrics from the past, we’ll commit to goals and objectives and do our best to meet them. You have a quota, and now, we’ll have one as well. We’ll ask you for continued feedback and input.
We hope you can see our earnestness in what we’ve written here, and that, together, we can begin anew. Our prospects and customers are tired of us bickering and pointing the finger at each other. They want us to deliver value, provide relevant content, and address their pressing needs. I’m confident we can do so together.
We look forward to a long lasting and fruitful relationship!
B2B marketers everywhere
Carlos is founder and CEO of VisumCx, a Customer Experience Strategy Firm. He has over 20 years of experience working with B2B organizations in delivering multi-channel customer experiences. Carlos is widely recognized for his expertise and as an international speaker on how organizations need to transform to meet the needs of their customers and buyers. He is the author of Driving Demand, has been named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management for the last six years, and is recognized by Onalytica as the Most Influential Person in B2B North America in 2015.